Back in May, Tesla Model Y Nizar Kamel read that some cars built at Tesla’s new Austin, Texas factory could have missing brake fluid caps. You don’t have to know much about cars to know that isn’t good. So he immediately took the plastic cover out of the front trunk to check his own brake fluid reservoir. Thankfully, the cap was there. Unfortunately, he found an even bigger problem—a sizable crack in a front aluminum casting.
Kamel told Auto Evolution that he immediately reached out to Tesla, to have the car checked out by service technicians. However, he unfortunately wasn’t able to bring the car in to be checked until July, due to personal obligations. When Tesla finally did see the car, they reportedly told him that the car is safe to drive and didn’t fix it. Since then, Kamel has been white-knuckle driving, hoping the crack doesn’t get worse with every bump and pothole in the road.
Since Tesla’s service center wouldn’t help, Kamel took to social media, in an attempt to raise some public awareness and get Tesla’s attention that way. He posted photos and videos, showing the crack and its severity. It isn’t just hairline crack, either. There’s a gap big enough to fit the tip of a metal pick and light can be seen shining through.
Tesla’s Austin “Giga Texas” factory makes Model Y’s a bit differently than other Tesla models. Rather than each suspension subframe being made from several pieces bonded and welded together, each one is made from a massive single aluminum casting. The idea was to eliminate more than 100 welds, simplify manufacturing, and reduce weight. However, since each casting is one piece, a crack such as this can jeopardize the structural integrity of the entire thing.
Naturally, skeptics asked Kamel if the car was in a crash of any kind, which may have damaged the casting. However, he claims the car is only five months old, was never in any sort of accident, nor was it ever driven on anything other than normal roads. Plus, the Giga factory has been rumored to have issues with making these massive castings.
There aren’t any other known instances of cracked castings from customers but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more affected customers. Anyone who owns a Model Y that was built at the Giga factory in Austin should check their car themselves, by removing the plastic cover in the frunk. And if you do find a crack in yours, take your car to a service center as soon as possible.
Update 8/27/23 8:11PM: A previous version of the story claimed that the Tesla service center wouldn’t see Kamel’s car until July. However, Kamel had prior obligations which prevented him from bringing his car into service until July. The story has been updated to reflect that.
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