A Tesla Model 3 nearly lost its bumper when it drove through a puddle on a highway, according to a tweet from the vehicle's owner.
Tesla Model 3 bumper flies off on rainy highway
This isn't the first time a Tesla Model 3 bumper malfunctioned. In 2018, Tesla reported it would investigate "the issue to understand what caused it," adding that it would reach out to "customers to resolve this and ensure they are satisfied." To most, this implies working to ensure the issue never happened again. But it did.
The Tesla owner, Logan Derouanna, had no problems filming the event. The video shows his 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus — with merely 22,530 kilometers (14,000 miles) — suddenly lose its bumper over a puddle.
"I was driving in the rain with my girlfriend and her father, decelerating about to make a right turn (going into the turn lane) when all of a sudden we heard a big noise. I thought we got rear-ended. I pulled into the nearest parking lot and went outside, and the whole back of my car was off," said Derouanna, reports Inside EVs.
Tesla initially calls incident 'act of God'
From the video, it doesn't look like Derouanna was speeding — since surrounding cars are holding a similar velocity. "I was in shock. I took pictures and watched the video right away. Then I called Tesla Roadside Assistance and walked over to where it happened. I watched dozens of cars drive over the same spot with no issues."
At first, Tesla told Derounna his issue was an "act of God." But Roadside Assistance never came. "I waited for over an hour, so I decided to call. They told me they were sending me a quote for how much it would cost. I asked if they could cover it, and I kept getting transferred and transferred and transferred... One person told me it was an act of God," said Derouanna, reports Inside EVs.
Tesla admits Model 3 bumper issue is a fault
However, the automaker eventually changed its mind about "acts of God," and showed a little corporate miracle of their own: they recognized the issue as a fault.
"My dad had to email the manager with our lawyer, and the manager just called my dad and said it's a known issue, and they are covering it all for me and bringing a tow to my house. They're ordering new parts for it and fixing it," Derouanna said, Inside EV reports.
It's nice that Tesla chose to recognize the fault and help Derouanna. One can only hope that Tesla owners who suffered the same mishap received the same treatment. In 2018, another Model 3 owner Rahul Nowlakha has a similar incident, tweeting about it in 2019, still waiting for Roadside Assistance (not to mention repair and replacement parts).
Surveying the damage, missing bumper bolts
From the images on Derouanna's Twitter, it doesn't seem like the attachment points beneath the bumper were damaged — so a replacement bumper should function at least as well as the last. Derouanna plans to check them out for himself, to confirm good order.
This is important because there are frequent reports of missing bolts on Tesla vehicles. If this is what happened with Derouanna's Tesla, it might help to explain his and other incidents that keep popping up — contrary to Tesla's early take that it was an "act of God."
A TMC Forum post claims the bumper issue is actually a design flaw that forces the rear bumper to hold more water than it capably can. Thankfully, Derouanna's Model 3 incident had a happy ending, and no one was hurt. We hope similar incidents turn out to be just as harmless.