“35 Pounds” Of Dirt Trapped In Tesla Model 3 Reveals Stunning Design Flaw

When one of the best known pro-Tesla blogs on the web says that the Model 3 has a substantial design flaw, it’s time to pay attention.

The “mass accessible” electric car, which become infamous for having its bumpers fall off, was found to have a design flaw in its underbody that causes the car to trap and retain dirt, water and sand from roadways, according to electrek, who this week published an article detailing the flaw.

The blog points out that Tesla has “often been accused of designing cars for the Californian climate” and that water, dirt and sand used to de-ice roads in colder climates are susceptible to getting trapped in the underbody of Model 3 cars.

Hilariously, after the pro-Tesla rag says that Tesla vehicles have “performed extremely well in colder climates”, it goes on to remind readers that some owners, including the editor of electrek himself, ran into “issues in Canada where things like the door handles, charge ports and frameless windows didn’t perform well in extremely cold weather”. For those who missed it, here’s our article from November 2018, inclusive of a video of editor Fred Lambert cursing at his Tesla.

“Jesus Christ!” Lambert exclaims about 53 seconds into the video, hands shaking from the cold, upon finally getting his door handle to pop out.

And the reality check keeps on coming for electrek’s editor, who has now learned – firsthand – about yet another problem with the Model 3 in cold climates.

Eric Bolduc, who owns a body shop in Quebec has “found significant amounts of sand and dirt accumulating in the underbody panel at the back of every Model 3 he has worked on so far.”

There’s even a striking video of him removing sand and dirt stuck inside of a Model 3 before working on the car. The video shows him approach the vehicle, repeatedly tap the underbody of the vehicle with a mallet, and then watch what appears to be an avalanche of sand and dirt fall out from a Model 3 on a lift.

This mechanic has worked on about 25 Model 3 vehicles and he says that he always finds about 10 to 20 pounds of sand and dirt stuck in the panel, due to what he believes is a lack of proper drainage. In one case, he extracted over 35 pounds of dirt from the underbody of a Model 3. He believes that the dirt is coming from behind one of the wheels. Of course, it is normal for dirt to get in the underbody of any vehicle, but the panel generally has more drainage to rapidly allow dirt and water to get out.

For comparison, the blog shows pictures of the Hyundai Kona and the Nissan Leaf, which both clearly have drainage points in their panels. According to the mechanic, the same lack of drainage could explain the back bumper falling off of Model 3s after heavy rain, as has been reported in widespread fashion on the web.

When contacted, Tesla simply told the blog they were “still looking into it”. We wonder if there’s an “over-the-air” update for this?