Elon Musk tweets response to Tesla Model S reliability questions

Responding to questions about the reliability of Tesla’s Model S sedan, CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday assured customers the rattles, squeaks and more serious problems have been addressed.

Musk tweeted that Consumer Reports’ conclusion that Tesla owners could expect more repairs than comparable vehicles didn’t capture the true rating of the Model S.

The bottom line for Musk: owners are still loyal.

Tesla owners surveyed by Consumer Reports found reliability issues with the electric sedan produced by the Palo Alto-based automaker. About 1,400 Tesla owners responded to the magazine’s survey, spelling out a litany of mechanical problems. The magazine downgraded the Model S sedan to a worse-than-average repair rate, citing owner troubles with the drive train, power and charging equipment, and body leaks, squeaks and rattles.

“The Model S is the best-performing car we’ve ever tested,” Consumer Reports wrote. “But its predicted reliability is another matter.” Tesla Motors stock dropped after the news.

Musk tweeted that many of the problems came from early vehicles produced in 2013. Those issues have been fixed in newer models, the CEO wrote.

The tech titan also solicited suggestions for improvements to the vehicle’s software interface and features. The ideas seemed limited only by Tesla fans’ imaginations:  updated browser, more music services, better climate control.

Photo: Tesla’s Model S.  (Dai Sugano/Mercury News)


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  • sowhat

    If in two years that Tesla is still not a recommended buy by CR, then I will be somewhat concerned. Until then…..not concerned at all.

  • Bobby

    Wow early models have issues, that Tesla service takes care of as they come up. Their service is still light years better than my trip to BMW for a vehicle that is supposed to be the Ultimate Driving Machine. Keep it up Elon, I plan on buying one someday soon, with its reliability issues and all.

  • Dave

    In other words, How do you improve upon perfection? Elon will find a way, he always has…

    • Gabe Ferenczi

      till than , the stock goes down, this is problem with cult stocks .

  • The_Bishop_of_D

    Consumer Reports has shown itself to be incompetent judges of automotive technology in the past. I expect the same ineptitude to continue well into the future. If you want analyses of the automotive field that are carefully considered (and relatively unbiased) consider the European enthusiast press (especially the British publications) instead.

  • Rod Iron

    More spin from P.T. Barnum and his minions.

  • Gabe Ferenczi

    So guys, you shorts will push it down anyway, the stock will hit 180

  • HenryT2

    My Tesla has had to have more repairs than most of my other cars. I had three issues that had to be taken care of. Normally, this would mean 3 unpleasant events. But in one case, they came to my house to replace my charge port (and my floor mats while they were at it). That was only mildly inconvenient. The other two times, I had to take my car in (though they offered to drop off my loaner and drive in my car themselves in one case). Both times, I got a loaner that was better than my car. Once, I got the P85 model for the day – in that case, I was actually happy that I had a problem with my car so that I could have a day long test drive with this high end model.

    So, even though I have had 3 incidents on my Tesla in 2 1/2 years vs. 0 on my Toyota Highlander, I still prefer the Tesla because of the superior service. I had to take in my Highlander multiple times for oil changes and servicing whereas I only took in my Tesla once for servicing (recommended but voluntary). Every time I took in my Toyota for the 6 or 7 non-reliability based visits to the service center was a major pain vs. it was NEVER unpleasant to take in my Tesla for the 3 unscheduled issues and one scheduled service.

    • Homer Go Crazy

      Once when Musk makes the affordable car for the people, pretty sure that would change the automobile industry from using gasoline to electric.

      • HenryT2

        IF. I’m a big supporter, but just like the promised flying cars, hotels on the moon, etc., the problem isn’t the technology but industry. It’s one thing to make and sell 50,000 cars, it’s another to make and sell tens of millions. The biggest question is how fast batteries come down in price. Will scarcity compensate for the natural fall due to improvements in technology? But even if it doesn’t, Musk has had a LONG history of being way too optimistic on his timelines. The Model X was 2 years overdue. I expected to have mine in 2014! I’d be surprised if he manages to put out the Model 3 before 2020. By then, hybrids may become more compelling.

        • Homer Go Crazy

          Yeah Musk sometimes is very very very over optimistic on things, but at least he got the ball rolling. However I’m already seeing quite a few people already getting the Leaf, the Fiat EV, and even the Rav4 EV too. I’m one of the people who got a really cheap price Rav4 EV, it has a salvage title, but works well for me like driving to work, to Safeway, Costco, or the dive shop. But yeah the Hybrids I would also look at for long distant travel like if I go to LA or San Diego. Did you finally got the Model X? I got to see it a couple weeks ago when they unveiled it. Pretty good looking car, but unfortunately for my paycheck, out of range.

          • HenryT2

            It’s pretty much outside of my range as well. I’m going to have to dump 2 of my 3 cars (the 2 nice ones including a Model S) in order to get it. But first, I don’t think I can live without a Tesla of some sort. And second, I need a car that can comfortably carry 3 adults and 2 children (the ‘rumble’ seats in the back don’t count because they are too hot without A/C vents and they disconnect those children from family conversations, etc.) Finally, the safety of the Tesla makes it difficult for me to trust my family in any other car.

  • Jason Freedman

    I’ve been a very happy owner of a Tesla since the early days and have over 75K miles on mine. Until recently, I’ve had a great experience and even with a few bugs (replaced the inverter, 1 door handle, creaking sunroof initially) service had been fantastic and I really couldn’t complain. Recently, however, things at the service centers have gotten less supportive and I’m afraid that they are slipping. I’m hoping that now that the X is out, more focus will be put on service and quality. It’s still the best car I’ve ever had by a long long way

    • Homer Go Crazy

      Its also a prototype to see the mainstream of the electric field. Yes there are going to be some issues there. Once all have been iron out, a cheaper, affordable Tesla car can become mainstream.

      • l8mdl

        That would be the Rav that they are no longer building, right?

        • Homer Go Crazy

          Yeah there was a fallout with Tesla and Toyota. Toyota moved away from the electric to try and make a hydrogen or liquid air fuel vehicle so Tesla and Toyota shook hands and left.

  • Pepper28

    Well speaking from a person who is a fan of consumer reports I found the report very misleading because of the owners list of issues that they have: door creaks, sunroof creaks and a few charging issues… .yeah that might be bothersome but at least your not having transmission and air bag issues. On top of that 97% of the people surveyed said that they would purchase another Telsa…that’s a big…extremely huge high percentage which should indicate that all of the “issues” that most people are having with their Telsa or may have had is not a deal breaker for them to repurchase another one.

    The artlce never mentioned repair cost once the car is past warranty for replacing that sunroof or the door or maybe if your charging port malfunctions….but hey if your buying a $90k car your probably not too concerned about maintenance and repair costs too much. But it would be good to know if people have ran into issues after their warranty expires and how much those cost were. Has anyone had those problems yet?

  • Homer Go Crazy

    I’m sure Musk will get the reliability up to standard since after all, Tesla is a new company car company that is trying something new like getting people off the gasoline addiction. The Model S car? To me, just a proto-type and people who bought it, well give all the feedbacks you can.

  • TWD3

    What does this say about Consumer Reports? About a month ago CR was touting they had to rework their automotive scoring because the Tesla Model S broke their scoring system with a better than 100 score, or a better than perfect score. Fast forward and they now claim old reliability reports from consumers disqualifies the Tesla from even being recommended so less than zero? While a month ago the same car was better than perfect?

    Something here does not smell right

    • Homer Go Crazy

      Yep, sounds like they rushed that report without even a long term test.

      • TWD3

        And yet CR reports Tesla owners are the most satisfied of all their
        readers surveyed? And we are to believe CR wishes to save us from the burden of owning the most satisfying car on the road because of reliability issues that
        apparently only apply to very early models?

        Again, something stinks here.

        • Homer Go Crazy

          I have no doubt it is a smear campaign, Tesla has been attacked left and right by every automobile company from the dealership problem to just shunning the whole electrical field all together. Musk isn’t a guy that I really support since he is very arrogant, but you cannot ignore the results.

    • Cheap & Nothing Wasted

      CR has hated American cars since the 1950s.
      It must have driven them crazy to rate one as the best ever last month, so they came up with something to downgrade it.