2019 Tesla Model 3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Vehicle speed control, electrical system, suspension and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When customers are in the market for an electric car, they often look at the 2019 Tesla Model 3. After all, this vehicle is designed to “go anywhere,” according to the manufacturer. However, many owners are having trouble taking it anywhere but for service. It seems to suffer from a faulty electrical system, defective steering system, malfunctioning powertrain and dangerous vehicle speed control.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2020  2021  2022  2023

Problems with the Electrical System

When it comes to a solid electrical system, nothing should be superior over the EV. However, this is the technology that literally powers the car. Yet, the Model 3 is struggling to get this system right.

Take a look at this Edmunds review. “Operationally, the windows have to slightly open in order for the door to be available. Windows don’t work, you will not be able to get out the car. I hope this never happens to anyone in an accident, where the windows no longer are accessible, yet the passengers have to leave quickly.”

This situation could be quite dangerous, especially if an accident occurs. However, it’s not the only electrical system problem that Tesla has talked about. Service Bulletin #SB-20-16-003 points out how the high-voltage batteries don’t have the right number of bolts on the DC link busbars, making it difficult to charge the battery or power the vehicle correctly. Considering this is something that any electric vehicle should already have worked out, it is shocking to see Tesla fail in such a prominent way. Even the cheapest gas-powered cars have more functional electrical systems, thereby proving that Tesla can’t even compete in the non-electric market.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Vehicle Speed Control
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Lane Departure: Assist
Service Brakes
Air Bags

Problems with the Suspension

For the price paid for a Tesla, one would expect a smooth ride, but that’s not what is being reported.

Here’s one Edmunds review to note. “The car is very low to the ground and the ride, while very tight, is very harsh.  This is not luxury car ride experience.  It feels more like a sports car than a luxury cruiser.  Great if you like it, but it can be annoying on bumpy roads or snow and ice and honestly can wear on you day after day if you like a smoother ride.  Adjustable suspension would be a good improvement.”

Again, there are serious concerns about the Model 3, some of which could be dangerous. Service Bulletin #SB-20-31-002 states that the LH and RH rear damper top mount bolts might not have been fastened correctly, which could lead to noise, vibration and a harsh ride. If this ride becomes too harsh, it is also possible for the operator to lose control over the EV. While the Model 3 is aiming to “go anywhere,” no one wants to see it accidentally jump off of a cliff.

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Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

It’s imperative that any vehicle remains under control at all times. Otherwise, an accident could be imminent.

Again, here’s one more Edmunds review discussing the issue. “Driving, I found the acceleration rate caps out when above 50 miles per hour. Yes it takes off quickly, from a dead start, but when you need speed at the upper levels, the car loses the same jump.”

The vehicle speed control is just one advanced system on the Tesla model. There are other problems with some advanced equipment worth noting. Service Bulletin #SB-20-12-002 discusses how vehicle condensation can build up on the B-pillar, which obstructs the camera. When this occurs, Autopilot features might become inaccessible. Features such as Auto Lane Change, Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Detection are essential to remaining safe on the road, but they are playing hide-and-go-seek with the Tesla Model 3.

Problems with the Transmission

While the powertrain in the electric Model 3 is different from a gas engine, it still needs to be reliable and dependable. Yet, that’s not what’s found with this vehicle.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2019 Tesla Model 3. The contact stated that while her spouse was attempting to park the vehicle, the vehicle accelerated out of control and crashed through a wooden fence, knocked it down, and crashed into a neighbor’s wall. The air bag did not deploy. There was no warning. There was no injury. A police report was filed. The contact called a Tesla roadside service whom advised the contact to have the vehicle towed to [repair shop], a Tesla approved body shop, where the insurance company approved the body damage repairs. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 2,677.”

While Tesla has been happy to discuss previous issues, this topic hasn’t been mentioned in the communications, yet it is the same for many other owners. Apparently, the Tesla Model 3 is so anxious to “go anywhere” that it’s willing to take off all on its own, with or without operator input.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Tesla pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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