The underneath of a Tesla Model 3 has smooth and streamlined panels to enhance your driving experience. However, these panels can sometimes become loose or damaged. We researched to find out the reasons why and how to replace them.
The bottom panels of a Tesla Model 3 can become loose or damaged due to missing or loose bolts, hard objects on the road, or floods/deep snow. You can tighten the loose nuts or replace the panels if badly damaged.
Keep reading to learn why the underside cover of your Tesla Model 3 becomes loose and how to fix it. Learn more about the new software the Tesla company is developing to help Tesla drivers detect potholes to prevent damage. Also, find out if your car is safe while driving through a flood.
Fixing Loose Underneath Cover Of Tesla Model 3
The original underneath panels of a Tesla Model 3 are made of a plastic composite. This was to lower the weight and cost of the car. However, this makes the car more susceptible to damage.
The danger with this is that it becomes easy for dirt and water to penetrate the components behind the panels. The damage can be severe and more costly if not quickly attended to, but with the introduction of stainless steel panels, the Tesla 3 now has better protection.
To know if the bottom cover is damaged or loose, look out for strange noises coming from underneath your car. You may also feel vibrations on the steering or all around the car. When you notice these warning signs, inspect them or take your car to your mechanic.
If there is no damage to the panels, and the only issue is that the bolts are loose, tighten them. However, if one or more of the panels is damaged, replace them with a new one by following the steps below:
Lift And Jack Your Tesla 3
- Park your car in a safe area and engage the brakes.
- Place jacking pads on all four jack points of your Tesla.
- Place a jack on either side of your car, and correctly align it underneath the vehicle.
- Lift the vehicle to the desired height.
- Unscrew the bolts and remove the panels.
The video below explains the steps above:
Apply Loctite To Bolts
Apply a thin bead of Loctite 222 to the threads on the bolts. This prevents them from loosening due to vibrations, protects against corrosion, and prevents leaks.
Install The Panels
- Place the new panel correctly underneath the car to allow the bolts to thread in easily.
- Thread the bolts to secure the panel firmly underneath the Tesla 3.
- Tighten the bolts and nuts.
- If you are installing more panels, repeat the process.
Have a look at the video below that demonstrates how to install the panel to the bottom of a Tesla 3:
Replacing Plastic Tesla Panels With Aluminum Panels
Some drivers will replace the damaged plastic panels with aluminum ones. This could be because they have installed the plastic panels more than once due to damage. You can also replace them with aluminum panels to protect the components under your car for better protection.
The Tesla company is constantly innovating and has developed aluminum alloys that are tough and strong. So, an aluminum panel is a good choice for your Tesla 3.
The video below demonstrates how to install the aluminum panels:
Can Floods Damage The Underside Of Tesla Model 3?
Whether you have installed plastic or aluminum panels underneath your Tesla 3, each can prevent water from reaching the components under your car. The only difference is that the latter is stronger than the former.
You will inevitably drive through water at one point or another, in heavy rain or, worst-case scenario, in flood. With that in mind, can the floods damage your Tesla 3?
Like a gas-powered car, a Tesla can drive through floods. But, if it's submerged in water for some time, it can get severely damaged even though the battery in a Tesla is waterproof.
If left underwater for too long, it can produce a lot of heat, which can cause the battery to catch fire. In the process, the fire can spread to the rest of the car, endangering the occupants.
Do Batteries In Tesla Catch Fire?
As mentioned above, lithium batteries in a Tesla can catch fire in water if submerged for long periods. But, can they catch fire out of water? Tesla batteries can catch fire when damaged, for example, under high impact when two cars collide.
This is because when the battery is damaged either because of an impact or water, it can go into a 'thermal runaway'. This is when the lithium-ion cells inside the battery start heating rapidly. As a result, it can overheat until it catches fire. In some cases, this process can stop on its own.
The best part is that these batteries take a long time before they can ignite. But Tesla has been working round the clock to reduce the chances of one of their cars catching fire.
Preventing Damage Underneath A Tesla 3
Potholes can damage both gas-powered and electric cars. Hitting a pothole can damage can damage the battery, wheels, tires, and even the body of your Tesla. Staying focused on the road can help avoid potholes.
But, probably the best news ever is that the Tesla company is busy developing software that can scan potholes. It will alert you when approaching a pothole, giving you enough time to avoid it. As you are well aware, spotting a pothole can sometimes be challenging.
Cost Of Repairing A Tesla Model 3
Did you know that repairing a Tesla vehicle can cost 27% more than a gas-powered vehicle? Repairing a tesla costs around $832 per year compared to a gas-powered vehicle at $652 per year.
If you just bought your Tesla 3 vehicle, you will unlikely replace it soon. That's because it should last roughly 22 to 37 years. This can be quite a relief considering that replacing a battery in a Tesla can be expensive, costing around $13,500. In addition, expect to add around $2,300 for labor.
And, if you think you can save costs by repairing the battery, then it's worth noting you cannot. You have to replace it if it is damaged as it will not work correctly.
The underneath panels protect the components and electrical system in a Tesla Model 3. The first panels were made of plastic that could easily tear, exposing the car's underside and leading to further damage. As a result, the company introduced tougher and stronger aluminum panels.
Even with the aluminum panels, floods can damage the underside of your car if submerged under water for a long time. Otherwise, your car is safe driving it in the rain, through puddles of water, or for short periods through floods.
Tesla batteries can catch fire both underwater and out of water. But, as always, the Tesla company is looking for ways to reduce these fires. They are also coming up with software that can help you avoid potholes, a menace that can cause damage under the car.
To read more on Tesla Model 3 vehicles, click on the links below: