Shop keeps Tesla Roadsters going strong without factory support

The Right to Repair movement aims to help shield owners from efforts by the carmakers to make repairs more difficult or complicated without the manufacturer’s special access to tools, parts, and diagnostics. 

So far that hasn’t stopped Tesla from doing, well, about exactly that with its original Roadsters. But it hasn’t deterred Carl Medlock, who originally did service training for the Roadster at Tesla from 2009-2013. 

In a recent CNBC video profiling Medlock’s shop in Seattle, James Whittaker a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, called Carl “famous among the Roadster owners,” and a “hero” to the Tesla community, and applauded his level of detail. And David Vaskevitch, the former CTO of Microsoft from 1986 to 2009, noted how much Carl loves what he’s doing. 

Tesla sent Medlock a cease and desist, and it won’t sell him parts, so he makes the parts himself—new hoods out of carbon fiber, for instance. He also doesn’t have access to diagnostic software. 

Medlock says that he understands why Tesla is locking mechanics out of the business, but argues that they should start a certification program. EVs don’t make a lot of sense for traditional dealership service departments or service shops as revenue generators, because they lack the expensive, high-labor items like engines and complex transmissions. 

The story isn’t entirely unique. YouTube star Rich Rebuilds has gotten to know the Model S through salvage cars, and has opened a shop. 

Tesla Roadster Seats

Tesla Roadster Seats

Whittaker said that there’s probably one owner in the Seattle area who uses Tesla service, but the rest go to Medlock. 

Tesla moved to streamline its service process earlier this year with the greater use of roadside assistance. It doesn’t have a special service program for early Roadster owners, and the company didn’t respond to a request from Green Car Reports regarding Tesla’s intended support window for the Roadster. 

If you haven’t already, watch the video above, and most definitely wait for Medlock’s last word in it. 

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