Last year was tough for the Model 3. The frequent design changes, along with the pressure to increase production, had put the model’s reliability in question. But there’s good news. “The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year,” explained Jake Fisher, a bigwig at CR in auto testing. “But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability.”
How did they make a comeback? The survey showed a decline in issues like trunk misalignment, malfunctioning doors for the Model 3, and fewer complaints about paint and trim quality for the Model S. Not just that, but Model S owners are also facing fewer issues with power equipment like cruise control and warning lights.
But it’s not all roses. While CR reached out to Tesla to get their take on this improvement, there was radio silence from Tesla’s side by the time the report was published.
Let’s not forget about the Model X SUV. Unfortunately, it remains on the not-recommended list. From pesky issues with its falcon-wing doors to disturbing leaks, the Model X lags in reliability. Issues persist in the in-car electronics department for all three models, with some owners pointing out screen glitches or unexpected system reboots.
This back-and-forth with Consumer Reports isn’t new for Tesla. Both Model 3 and Model S have danced between recommendation statuses, largely because while they perform great on the road, their reliability has been a roller coaster.
Speaking of CR’s Reliability Survey, it’s a comprehensive analysis covering 17 potential car problems. This year’s survey threw the spotlight on approximately 420,000 vehicles, nearly 4,000 of which were Teslas. Based on this data, the Model 3 currently stands fifth in the luxury compact cars segment, while the Model S is a proud second in the ultra-luxury category.
Jake Fisher shed some light on why Tesla’s reliability might see such swings. Unlike other car manufacturers who roll out changes in batches, Tesla updates continuously. From modifying parts like motors to sending out over-the-air software updates, Tesla’s approach is unique. While it can lead to quick innovations, it can also mean teething issues when new components are introduced.
Consumer Reports, for those who might not know, is a nonprofit aiming to ensure consumers get a fair deal. It stands tall, independent, not endorsing any product or service. This feedback is genuine, straight from the horse’s mouth.
So, for now, it’s a win for Tesla’s Model 3 and Model S, but the road ahead is long and winding. Only time will tell if they can maintain this renewed trust.