The Guy Who Salvages Ruined Teslas and Puts Them Back on the Road

Illustration for article titled The Guy Who Salvages Ruined Teslas and Puts Them Back on the Road

Tesla is a bit of a control freak when it comes to repairing its electric vehicles. If you try to buy parts to make your own repairs, they won’t let you. The company views it as a way of protecting its reputation and ensuring quality. But YouTuber Rich Benoit believes Tesla owners should be able to work on their own cars, so he found a way to do it.


Rich became a fan of the Tesla Model S after a friend of his bought one and took him for a ride, which is what led him down the path that eventually resulted in him becoming what he considers the Dr. Frankenstein of Teslas.

His story of being, he believes, the first person to bring a Model S back from the salvage yard to like-new quality is shared in this detailed documentary posted by Motherboard:

Rich has expressed his concerns about Tesla not providing parts to those wishing to work on their own cars, or hoping to salvage them, many times to the company itself. At one point, he believes he helped motivate the company to finally replace potentially faulty airbags.

He’s taught himself the ins and outs of the Model S design, and now he works to tear down usable parts he can find to help bring damaged Teslas back to life, without the potentially expensive process of going through a Tesla certified shop.

It’s great to see Rich out there bypassing a company’s bullshit and working out his own solutions, but he still respects Tesla’s reasoning for wanting full control over their products on the road. His work is a great indicator that electric cars could be just as wrenchable as the ICE cars we drive today, even if it’s potentially dangerous and even dirtier to sort it all out.


You can follow Rich at his YouTube channel here.

H/t to Ryan!

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik



Thanks for the shout-out to Rich! He is awesome and his crusade is a noble one. He is also the one who surfaced how easy it is to get into a “This VIN Code is no longer eligible for software support” Robo-Script from Tesla tech support. You play your cards wrong on a lightly-damaged, salvage-titled unit and Tesla can turn it into a brick for you.

Rich’s approach also points out how ludicrous it is for Tesla to claim this control freak approach to the business- there will be virtually no after-market parts, diagnostic tools or consumables. It’s ugly enough to keep a 15 year old Audi or Benz on the road, but at least I have Pelican Parts and a mutually-supportive community. With Tesla you are going to have an adversarial manufacturer run by a whack job.... none of which is going to lead to an active after-market in the cars. Which is weird for a company that claims to be so “green” and “into recycling”... you’d think they’d want to enable “recycling” lightly damaged cars back into social good?

Keep up the great work, Rich!  We love the videos and your support.