Tesla owner refuses to pay over $21,000 for a new battery, gets locked out of his car

WTF?! A Tesla owner has seen his TikTok video about the car’s apparent shortcomings go viral. Mario Zelaya said that he had been locked out of his Tesla Model S after the battery died, which would have cost him $21,000 to replace.

Zelaya, who lives in Toronto, Canada, said he paid $140,000 (Canadian) for the brand-new car back in 2013. According to Elon Musk, the batteries in these cards are designed to run for 300,000 to 500,000 miles or about 21 to 25 years before they have to be replaced. But Zelaya’s EV needed a new one after just 77,000 miles.

Zelaya said the problem is that some 2013 and 2014 Tesla Model S vehicles had an issue in which fluid from the air conditioning system’s drainage hose dripped onto the battery, causing it to rust—technicians at the Transport Canada regulatory agency confirmed this was why his battery died.

Zelaya took the car to Tesla after a “high voltage battery” warning message appeared, only to be told the warranty didn’t cover it. He asked for a free battery, but the request was refused, leaving him with the option of paying over $21,000 for a replacement or selling the car.

@supermariozelaya Replying to @Mario Zelaya Here’s an update and some clarifications on my dead ‘ Tesla. Also, someone is buying it tomorrow for $19K and is taking on the responsibility of opening up the car. I got 85 messages on FB Marketplace on it …. Guess I’m selling it for cheap? #tesla #car ♬ original sound – Mario Zelaya

With the battery dead, Zelaya could not access the vehicle or even get to the ownership documents inside. He says it would not respond to a charge, either. “This is why you should never buy a Tesla, people,” he said in the video.

The owner believes the leaking and rusting started when the car was in the warranty period. Zelaya also claims that Tesla canceled his Uber credits, which were received when he went to get the car serviced, after he kept asking why the car needed a new battery.

Zelaya acknowledges that he could have accessed the Tesla by removing the front bumper or going in through the tire well but “didn’t have time for that.”

The situation ended when Zelaya sold the car after paying $30 for new ownership documents. It seems the new owner did find time to remove the bumper to gain access.

It seems unlikely that Zelaya will return to the car brand in the future: “I’ll never buy another Tesla again,” he said. “That’s the long way of me saying stay the f**k away from Teslas. They’re brutal cars, brutal manufacturing, and even worse, they’re a 10-year-old company.”

Last year, a Finnish man teamed up with a YouTube explosives channel to blow up his 2013 Tesla Model S after discovering he would have a buy a $22,600 battery because it had “outlasted its 8-year warranty.”

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