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Sunday, December 10, 2017

First Accident - Part 2: Sourcing Parts

For years we’ve heard about the long road to recovery many Tesla owners face for even the slightest damage.  Waiting for the insurance companies to work their magic after "crash weekend" was going to be the first step to that process and I was eager to hear my phone ringing.
Thanks to the video footage I’d provided from my dashcam, the other driver’s insurance company very quickly took full responsibility and I set about scheduling the repair.
Up until recently, Tesla owners with collision damage had to get their cars to Columbus, Ohio for any kind of Tesla-certified repair.  Fortunately for us, Body by Cochran in nearby Cranberry Township was newly qualified to do cosmetic repairs.  Structural repairs still go out-of-state (for now), but I was hopeful that our car was not that badly damaged... though remembering I had a hitch underneath the bumper cover did give me pause.  What if it had transferred hidden damage to the bumper beams or, even worse, to the body structure those beams were connected to?  We wouldn't know until the repair started.
Body by Cochran ordered the replacement parts from Tesla and while we waited for them to arrive, I had a growing dilemma.  We were planning a Tesla-centric two-week trip up through New England and Boston and the repairs were not going to be completed beforehand.  At the same time, the car was edging ever-closer to the end of the factory bumper-to-bumper warranty and I expected to return with about 700 miles of coverage remaining (which is about a week and a half worth of normal driving).
Adding to the drama, we had just sold our venerable Chrysler on eBay (despite its expired inspection) and our Subaru’s rear strut collapsed due to rust while hauling what should have been a routine load of mulch.  When it rains it pours!
Suddenly, we’d gone from 3 cars that were in great condition to ZERO… in the course of about a month. My intention had been to get the collision repair done before sending the Tesla in for its final service under warranty, so that any needed repairs that were unearthed weren’t done at my expense.  In the end, we wound up doing things backwards and that meant taking the Tesla on our big road trip with nonfunctional parking sensors.
A few days after the crash I’d swung by our local Service Center hoping the sensors could be revived with a little expert poking but, alas, they were good and dead.  That meant the warning was going to be persistently in my face for the entire road trip.  Ugh.
DEAR TESLA, Please allow owners to acknowledge and clear minor warnings (parking sensors, TPMS, etc.) at the start of each drive so we can travel in peace.  I’m totally fine with the warnings reappearing for each restart of the car… but seriously, I don’t need to be reminded second-by-second that 3 hours from now, when I exit the highway and look for a parking space, my sensors won’t work.  THEY DON’T WORK AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS ANYWAY, SO WHY WARNING ME THEN?! 
We were fortunate that the Tesla was completely drive-able.  Our entire vacation required a reliable long distance pack mule and even at its best, the Subaru Baja is a poor road tripper.  If for no other reason, the bed isn’t 100% dry and is 0% secured, so babysitting luggage becomes a full-time job which can be problematic when you’re sightseeing and staying in hotels.
It would later turn out that our big family road trip was hampered (unbeknownst to us) by a problem with the Tesla’s ability to sustain high Supercharger rates.  I’ll write another post later to give an update on my car’s first 50,000 miles which will have more details on that.  I’ll also explain why we started our road trip by looking at new Subarus instead of new Teslas.

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