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Issues with Tesla Model X
We assume that if you are researching a Tesla Model X, that you already know what gullwing doors are, but just in case, these are vertically raising doors that are inspired by the DeLorean from the Back to the Future series of movies. If you haven’t watched Back to the Future yet, please do so, you’ll like it.
A typical door is fairly simple. A gullwing door has more parts and a lot more that could go wrong. There have been a variety of complaints about gullwing doors on the Tesla Model X, including the following
- The doors sometimes fail to open completely, making it hard to get in or out.
- Squeaking and cracking sounds when the doors begin to open and close
- Poor alignment, causing the door to shudder or look misaligned when closing
- Wind noise and the potential for rain leaks
Tesla did install new seals on the Tesla Model X moving forward after 2017, so wind noise and rain getting into the cabin have now been reduced. We bring up issues with the gullwing doors because they are an uncommon feature that could potentially need work in the long and short run. We’ve also researched many vehicles regarding complaints, and have rarely seen complaints about standard horizontal doors.
Media Control Unit (MCU) Failure
The MCU runs the center console and dashboard for the Tesla Model X. The computer inside is powered by an 8GB flash memory card that supplies information to the main screen where you have navigation and settings.
Many users reported having issues with their main radio screens rebooting, crashing, or otherwise being very slow or unresponsive. The likely culprit is the wearing down of the flash memory card, which is only designed to be used so many times before potentially experiencing a corruption problem that the average user cannot fix.
The solution to this problem isn’t really what most Tesla Model X drivers want to hear: They can have a Tesla repair facility replace the whole board, and add a different kind of memory chip that is faster and more reliable - for more money, of course.
Problems with a shaft within the drivetrain can give you a bumpy ride in the Tesla Model X. While the vehicle can have a raised or lowered suspension that also has the potential to make the Model X a little shaky when set improperly, this is a different deal.
Tesla has issued a Technical Service Bullet to make sure the public knows they know about the issue. Most Tesla owners who experience the problem can have the shaft replaced at a Tesla service center. It also seems that the problem persists year over year, so it hasn’t been updated yet besides those who have actively complained about shaking.
Control arm issues
In case you are wondering, the control arms are what connect your Tesla Model X’s electric motors to the wheels and are designed to help control the wheels while turning. Given the importance of these for turning and vehicle stability, it might be important to know that there are some reports of premature wear and breakage in these control arms.
Unfortunately, these issues tend to happen without a warning light - you might just gradually notice the vehicle makes grinding or screeching noises while turning first, hopefully. Otherwise, driving a Tesla Model X at top speed and having a control arm issue can result in losing control of the car, as it no longer has the ability to connect to a particular wheel.
Thankfully, this problem doesn’t seem to be especially common and is generally caught before it becomes a serious issue. Drivers can often hear the problem coming, and since we are talking about an electric car, there is no gasoline engine to mute out the sounds of what's happening beneath you.
Quality control and paint issues
If you’ve been researching Tesla and the Model X for a while, you probably already know what we are talking about here. There are lots and lots of videos showing a large variety of quality control issues with the paneling, paint, and glass on all kinds of Tesla models. What we mean by “issues” is that the vehicles were clearly hastily put together and not inspected thoroughly before leaving the production line. The result is that sometimes panels or doors are not properly aligned, and might not appear to be symmetrical. You can take a look at one body panel and see that the distance between the neighboring panel isn’t consistent or even straight. The paint also might be poorly applied, resulting in swirls and early dark spots or chipping.
While these don’t affect how the vehicle functions - or at least not often, a person who is spending upwards of $70,000 on a Tesla Model X has a higher expectation that the vehicle looks good - even close up, and that they shouldn’t have to bring the vehicle to a body shop right after buying it.
Is the Tesla Model X worth the problems?
The most alluring part of the Model X is the style and the speed that comes from the near-instant acceleration from electric battery transfer, but that is true of nearly all Tesla models. I feel like the benefits greatly outweigh the small issues described above. It’s also worth noting that there are few statistical references to how often major problems actually occur, so your actual chances of having the control arms snap are pretty low.
What benefits do you have from the Tesla Model X? It’s hard to really prioritize which are best. The Model X is obviously all electric and doesn’t need to stop for gas. Battery power allows for nearly instant acceleration and torque, making merging or getting out of the way a literal breeze. The vehicle also looks cool - especially with the gullwing doors up.
From an environmental perspective, the Tesla Model X is one of the nicest vehicles you can buy that is fully battery powered. You get some serious luxury - a cool-looking vehicle, and zero emissions. For a person who regularly commutes shorter distances, or even has a network of Superchargers nearby it really is a great choice. While others might wait in line at the pump at a gas station or watch as the price of fuel raises and lowers, a Tesla Model X owner can do work or relax at a charging station while waiting for enough electricity to get to their battery. Yes, it takes longer, but their up and coming charging network can take the moments you spend plugged in productive or relaxing too.
So, yes. The Model X is worth the “problems.” We will also add that our research indicates that Tesla willingly fixes electronic issues with the vehicle, and you’ll only have to spend more money if you choose to upgrade the flash drive within the vehicle.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding