A bad battery pack in one unlucky driver’s Tesla Model 3 nearly cost him $16,000 to repair. The driver was wary enough to get a second opinion from an independent shop, which ended up slashing the cost down to $700 by getting around the problem of an unserviceable nipple on the Tesla. What are some other weird unserviceable parts?
In the case of that Tesla Model 3, the ridiculously high repair bill came from the official Tesla repair center’s solution of replacing the entire battery pack. That was because the Tesla battery pack is integrated by design, which is a good thing in some cases but bad in others (like repairability.)
Even our own David Tracy would likely agree that engineering is an exercise in good compromise, but some of those compromises end up screwing drivers when it comes to repairs or service.
We could cynically say that the Tesla battery pack was designed in a way that means battery repair translates to entire replacements, and is essentially another lucrative service for the carmaker, but Teslas aren’t alone in this.
I’ve run into weird parts like this in my own daily driver. My BMW E36 compact had some electrical gremlins a few weeks ago. They traced back to some brittle wires in the trunk and tail lights — because, of course they did — but the gremlins ended up zapping the voltage regulator in my alternator.
That then ended up blowing a set of H1 bulbs in my headlights, and when I took the alternator to the auto parts store and told them I needed just a new voltage regulator, they took the whole thing and chucked it in the back. They said they didn’t replace that part on its own, and would replace the whole alternator instead. Fine, O’Reilly’s, you do you. But it struck me as odd.
Tesla nipples and Valeo voltage regulators aren’t the only ones, so what other parts do you think should be serviceable but aren’t? What’s the weirdest unserviceable part?