Manfred Kick sits in his Tesla car in Garching, Germany, 16 February 2017. The driver noticed an unconscious man driving a car on the motorway A9 and thwarted him with his limousine. Afterwards, he rendered first aid. Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Tesla Fans Erupt After Dude Fixes Model S for Fraction of Price, That’s the Cost of Having Fancy Pants

You can learn just about anything on YouTube. From how many balloons it takes to make your couch float over the Grand Canyon to knitting a sweater for your Shih Tzu, the site has become ground zero for DIYers. But amazingly some repair videos are controversial, like the one on how to fix your Tesla for a fraction of the price.

When YouTuber Tyler Hoover’s 2013 Tesla Model S P85 battery stopped charging he called Tesla to schedule a repair. But after discovering Tesla’s official price quote to fix the battery was the unholy sum of $22,000 (compared with the $23,000 Kelly Blue Book value of the entire car), he knew he needed a detour.

After all, if the battery amounted to the entire cost of the resale value, then was the rest of the car – seats, steering wheel, computer dash, chassis, fenders, tires, etc – just a bunch of junk ready for the trash heap?

Of course not. 

Wanting to salvage his ride, Hoover took matters into his own hands, teaming up with a fix-it-yourself advocate and Tesla hacker named Rich Benoit. Together they filmed the entire repair process, completing the job for about $5,000. But when Benoit posted a video to his YouTube channel “Rich Repairs” the Tesla trolls descended. Folks came out of the aluminum work calling him a liar for misquoting Tesla’s repair costs and accusing him of being a shoddy repairman whose work would turn your car into a ticking timebomb.

Benoit, who has built a cult following after constructing his own Frankenstein Tesla back in 2016, clapped back by providing evidence from three different sources to verify the exorbitant cost of official Tesla repairs. To drive his point home, Benoit also restated his repair shop guarantee: if his work doesn’t hold up, he’d pay to have your car serviced at another shop.

So why all the drama over some guy in New England fixing Teslas on the cheap?

Benoit believes it all comes down to Silicon Valley’s cultural war on consumers through planned obsolescence and obstruction of the right-to-repair. Tesla, like Apple and others, builds huge backend monetization off of keeping their consumers tethered to future products by making it easier to buy new than fix old. It’s a manufacturing trend that began in 1954 and has rapidly increased in the age of computer electronics and Elon Musk breakups.

“We made this video, and last week’s video, to emphasize the importance of Right to Repair, and why in the quest for sustainability, even Tesla needs to find better practices,” one of Rich’s team members said. “$22,500 to replace a battery is not in that camp, and it’s severely problematic that the company forces one to buy new instead of repair.”

Just think of all the stylish new fancy pants angry Tesla owners could buy with the money they save on fair after-market repairs. It’s a first-world problem people like Benoit are more than happy to solve.

Cover Photo: picturealliance (Getty Images)

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