car: Tesla Wiper Motor Failure and Glovebox Squeaks

a red tesla car

car: Tesla Wiper Motor Failure and Glovebox Squeaks

OK, our Tesla is five years old now and it has held up pretty well, but we had two unusual problems. Hope you don't have them, but in case you do here you go:

  1. Wiper Motor Failure. I've never had a wiper motor fail on any car I've ever owned. For some reason, I thought that the wipers would just stop moving, but in the Tesla case, it sure felt a lot like a software problem. What would happen is that on rainy and cold days, the wipers last month would just stop moving, they would fully extend and then stop. Then the day would warm up and the next day they would work again. We actually had Tesla service over (they have really fast appointment turnarounds up here in Seattle). I did a soft reset of the car (the two-finger salute) and then he did a hard reset (you disconnect the 12V battery and the high voltage). And it worked again. But then on a long trip, the intermittent wipers didn't work and then it failed again. I could get them running again by wiggling the wipers and then if I left them on super high, they kept operating. Sure doesn't sound like a motor failure to me. But when Jay, our esteemed local technician showed up, he said that this was a failure mode. He had not seen it himself, but he said it was common for the motors to sort of work and not die completely. In any case, he replaced the thing (in our driveway) and it worked again. So be warned.
  2. Glovebox squeaking. OK, this is kind of a funny problem. Suddenly after taking care of detailing, we had a strange squeak at low speeds. I thought it was maybe a body component. Well, Jay again to the rescue. Because the glovebox in a Tesla can also store things if you put too much stuff in it, you can close it, but it will squeak as the latch struggles with the load. So word to the wise is not to overfill your glovebox.
  3. Battery longevity. So someone got a new Tesla and was told not to overfill the battery above 70% and try to limit supercharging to a few times a year. Howard told us about this and I had not heard this before. We normally stay at 80% but we do supercharge quite a bit (because we have unlimited free supercharging and we like to "tax" Elon 🙂 In looking at the battery degradation, the Tesla thingy says we have about a 3% degradation after 5 years which is pretty nominal. Of course, the range estimates on Tesla are ridiculously optimistic, particularly for Model 3 Performance and its 20-inch wheels, so we never got 329 miles on a charge, more like 300 best case with those big wheels.
  4. White vegan leather seats. These seem to be holding up really well. Of course, we don't have kids at home anymore and we are relentless about cleaning it with little alcohol swipes and putting leather protectant on it, but someday we should probably seat covers on it.

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