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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Best and worst of Tesla: Get 3 Powerwalls installed day after botched Model S service

My 2015 Tesla Model S 60 was returned to me covered with the same winter grime it had before I took it to the Paramus service center on Thursday, above and below, even though my annual service ($600 prepaid) is supposed to include a car wash and interior vacuuming.
A service advisor apparently overruled the service manager, who sent me a text saying, yes, I could leave my car in the service center overnight for a complete detailing and keep my Tesla Model S loaner until the next day.

 My EV has been trouble free,
but I get treated like chopped liver


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

HACKENSACK -- Nearly 4 years after I bought the greatest car I have ever owned, I had the worst service experience ever.

I made an April 8 appointment for the annual service on my all-electric Tesla Model S, but last Wednesday received a call that I should bring in the car the very next day to change a defective Takata airbag (which I didn't even know I had).

I explained to Jose Solis, the service advisor, that I had scheduled an exterior and interior detailing with Always Clean, a mobile auto-grooming service that is given access to owners' cars in the Tesla service center on Route 17 in Paramus.

No problem, Jose said: 

Bring the car in at 11:15 a.m. and Always Clean will do their thing, Tesla will service my Model S and change the airbag, and then the detailers will touch up the car.

Mixed messages

But the plan fell apart the next day -- Jose's day off --when another service employee said the detailing had to be performed after the service, not before.

That same employee, who didn't give me his name, walked me outside for the loaner, which I drove home.

Then, I got text updates, including one from Ariana, the service manager, who said:

"Repairs are complete! We will hold your car indoors until Felix [of Always Clean] arrives to complete the detail."

'Pick up your car'

Later, I got a call from another employee that my service was completed without changing the airbag, because the new parts weren't in stock. 

And, no, I couldn't leave my car there for the detailing; I was told it would be washed and vacuumed and to pick it up at 5 p.m.

While I waited in the lounge, I spoke to a customer who was there to have a few fit-and-finish flaws on his new Model 3 repaired.

In fact, he said that one of the windshield wipers was hitting the hood and had chipped the paint.

Tesla in a tizzy

The Paramus sales and service center has become much busier since the introduction of the more affordable Model 3 last year, and that may be the reason service has deteriorated for all Tesla owners.

Then, I was called into the service center, paid for a four-wheel brake cleaning and was told my Model S was at the bottom of the ramp.

When I saw it was still as dirty as when I brought it in that morning, I protested, but the service advisor said the car wasn't washed because I would be taking it for a car wash and detailing at Always Clean's Fair Lawn garage.

Powerwall 2 installation

From home, I sent texts to Ariana, the service manager, asking her to call me, but never heard from her.

On Friday, the day my three Powerwalls (storage batteries) were installed at my home by Tesla Energy techs, I received an email from Jose Solis, the service advisor in Paramus I dealt with originally, apologizing for the mixup.

He offered a free car wash at 9 this morning, but I decided against it when I saw all of the snow that had fallen overnight.


Tesla Energy techs were delayed by Friday morning's snowy weather, and were unable to complete the wiring for my three Powerwalls, which will provide full backup for at least 5 days in the event we have another superstorm that knocks out power to our home. Otherwise, I can use the energy overnight or when cloudy or stormy weather limits how much electricity my solar panels generate.
The Powerwall 2 is so heavy, Tesla Energy employees had to back their van into our driveway and use a large hand truck to move the storage batteries to the work area, above and below.
Two of the three Powerwalls that were installed on Friday. Each battery is rated at 40kWh, meaning I have 120kWh on the wall of my house -- twice as much as in my Tesla Model S with a 60 kWh battery.

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