So, your prized Tesla vehicle is damaged. Maybe it got hit in the parking lot; maybe you got sideswiped at an intersection, or perhaps you hit a rock and banged up your wheel. Whether the damage is minor or severe, you’ll probably need to fix it before you can reliably drive your car again. But should you fix it on your own? As a Tesla authorized body shop, we’re here to tell you what you need to know so you can get your Tesla back on the road again!
Repairing a Tesla After an Accident
You may have already found out that not all auto shops work with Teslas. They are built differently than the majority of other vehicles, and they require special Tesla parts that not everyone keeps in stock. Even more importantly, because of the high voltage, not everyone feels comfortable working with these vehicles. In addition to this, it can void your warranty. According to Tesla’s website, “If you choose to take your car to a non-Tesla shop for maintenance or repairs, please be aware that coverage under your warranty could be affected if any problems occur.”
Why Are Teslas (and Other Electric Vehicles) High Voltage?
One reason electric vehicles are high voltage is that they need to generate a large amount of mechanical power. There are also engineering reasons for the high voltage. If electric vehicles operated at a lower voltage, they would be far heavier, require enormous cables, and be more expensive to produce. For electric cars to be feasible with current technology, they need to operate at a relatively high voltage range of around 350-400V.
Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: This voltage is applied to the input of the Tesla’s electric motor, causing the output shaft to spin and deliver mechanical power to the vehicle so that the wheels turn. Teslas also have a braking system that turns the motors into generators when you brake—this recovers electric energy so the car can partially recharge its batteries.
If high-voltage Teslas pose a real risk to mechanics’ lives, imagine the damage they could do in untrained hands. In a worst-case scenario, the electric current could kill a person who is not trained to handle these types of vehicles. Of course, you would have to ignore many warning stickers and tear the car down quite a bit before you would be exposed to deadly currents, but it could still happen.
What Safety Features Do Teslas Have?
Tesla has worked to make its cars as safe as possible. Like all electric vehicles on the market, Tesla cars have to uphold a standard in which the high voltage is highly insulated and isolated inside a sturdy battery case when the car isn’t in use. The battery case and all the insulating parts are labeled with warning stickers. Also, the electric current will completely and instantaneously stop in the case of a crash.
In addition to this, Teslas run on DC power, which means that you’d have to completely close the circuit by touching both the positive and negative poles of the battery or battery cables to get shocked. That reduces the chances of getting shocked or killed by an electric car. (On the other hand, if they ran on AC power, it would be far more dangerous because any connection with an AC-energized conductor could cause you to become electrocuted.)
You also don’t have to worry about getting shocked if you drive through water. That’s because all the electrical components are protected and insulated.
So, Are Teslas Really Dangerous?
The answer: yes, and no.
As we’ve established, there are several well-thought-out safety features. However, this doesn’t mean that Teslas aren’t dangerous. Even though the safety features will protect you in the vast majority of cases, it could be incredibly destructive if you do manage to bypass the safety measures. These cars have an average of 375 volts running through them. That’s more than enough to transmit a fatal current.
Of course, you would have to be repairing the car and taking it apart to get an electric shock from your Tesla. The safety features work right when the car is being driven as intended. They are not designed to protect a person who is dismantling the car without proper training.
If you only use your Tesla as intended—charging it safely with standard, properly-installed equipment; driving it under normal conditions—then you won’t have to worry about anything! A Tesla is no more likely to harm you than any other car, and the risk of electric shock under regular use is as close to zero as you can get.
So, How Should I Repair My Damaged Tesla?
We don’t recommend repairing it at home, even if you or your family member/friend is an experienced mechanic. Not every mechanic is qualified to work with a fully electric car. Many mechanics will actually turn you down if you call inquiring about Tesla repair. They know the risks, and they aren’t willing to remove or replace parts when they haven’t acquired the proper training.
However, it’s becoming relatively easy to find a local Tesla authorized body shop. If a shop is Tesla authorized, that means its team is highly-trained and certified to repair a Tesla to the manufacturer’s standards.
V&J Auto Body, A New York, Tesla Authorized Body Shop
At V&J, we frequently work with damaged Tesla vehicles. We are a Tesla certified body shop specializing in all collision repairs; cosmetic, structural, etc. Not only is our team certified to work on your advanced-technology vehicle, but we’re also dedicated to our job! We genuinely enjoy working on Tesla vehicles, and we’re here to ease the pain of your damaged car by putting things right.
If needed, we’ll even help you get a rental, deal with your insurance company, and more. We also offer a warranty that lasts as long as you own the vehicle. If your Tesla is suffering from collision damage, give us a call today—we’re here to help.