Will Tesla Fix The Discoloration on Window Trim?


Will Tesla Fix The Discoloration on Window Trim?

There have been increasing concerns regarding the discoloration on Tesla’s window trim with the chrome becoming cloudy.  When you take pride in your car, you want to make sure that everything is maintained in the best condition as possible.  We love our babies, right? 

Will Tesla fix discoloration on window trim? Yes, Tesla will replace the window trim if you purchased your vehicle before the warranty change in January of 2020. If you purchased your vehicle after the warranty changed, replacement of the trim will be at their discretion.

Having window trim that is discolored isn’t a massive problem for some people, but it is a deal-breaker with others.  The same window trim discoloration is happening on the Model Y and we explain the details and why that happens below.

Discoloration on Window Trim On A Model Y

Tesla’s Model Y comes with a host of new features, including autopilot. The 2020 model is about $52,000, and there was a waiting list.  When they finally arrived, people did not expect a host of discoloration issues.  Some have returned their new Tesla’s, adding insult to injury because if you return a Tesla in the first seven days of delivery, you are barred from buying another new Tesla for up to a year.

Tesla forums have been buzzing with painting issues on both body and the trim.  An email from Elon Musk to his employees confirmed that there were some manufacturing issues with the Model Y.  This may be why an already sensitive area in other models, window trims, was not improved upon with the Model Y as of yet.  The good news is, Tesla is aware of the problems and seems genuinely concerned about fixing them.

The window trims in Tesla are an issue because the stamping process used is different than any other area of the vehicle.  Model Ys have more chrome trim then other models.  If you run the Model Y through a touchless car wash or use a soap that is PH level 13 or higher, the trim will be discolored.

Any chemical that has a PH level greater than 13 will cause the discoloration because it oxidizes on the chrome.  That includes touchless carwash chemicals.  Below are some common issues with using chrome as trim on vehicles.

Common Issues with Chrome Trim

Chrome trim gives cars that shiny, sleek, and elegant look that so often accompany a premium vehicle.  The problem is that if that chrome is not taken care of properly, it will:

  • Fade
  • Cloud
  • Scratch; and 
  • make the vehicle look less than attractive  

Tesla’s surround their trim in chrome and use a special stamp processing that adds to the maintenance level of their cars.  Although there is no determination as to if they will fix the chrome standard, there are some common issues with chrome that you should be aware of.

Chrome gets water spots easily and becomes oxidized over a certain amount of time.  This is the hazy film that you see over your chrome.  The sun and acid rain can also have adverse effects on your chrome trim.

If water is allowed to dry on your car, it will cause water spots that damage the chrome on your vehicle.  Some products will help you in maintaining the chrome on your vehicle and prevent oxidation.  The good news is, there are steps you can take yourself to preserve the chrome around the window trims.  

The good news is, there are steps you can take yourself to preserve the chrome around the window trims. Tesla does not have a permanent fix for manufacturing at this time, so until they do, we can provide you with helpful suggestions to maintain the primo condition of your window trim.  When Tesla changed its warranty in January 2020 to read:

“Normal wear or deterioration, including, but not limited to, seat, trim and upholstery discoloration, punctures, tears, depressions, wrinkling abrasions or other deformations, paint and glass stone chips, and similar item;”

It became a necessity for Tesla owners to invest in products that are at lower PH levels in order to maintain the trim’s good looks.  A few of these products are listed below.

Products That are PH Safe for Trim

To keep a Tesla in pristine condition, you will need to refrain from taking it through touchless car washes that use a more generous than PH 13 cleaning product platform.  You may want to try these products that meet PH level criteria for Tesla trim:

  • Adam’s Detail Spray with a microfiber cloth will be able to polish the chrome nicely.  It is waterless, which makes for easy application anywhere.  It includes a polisher clay bar and enhanced car wax boosting.  
  • CarPro IronX is especially for polishing chrome.  It is acid-free, pH-balanced, and removes iron as it decontaminates auto paint.  It also prevents the spread of iron-related damage and acts as a barrier against new threats on the paint.
  • Clay Lubricant is often advised to dislodge products that may be on your car, so this can also be used as a primer if updating paints.  It removes all contamination, overspray, and pollution with flex clay technology.  It works on paintwork, glass, plastic, and metal surfaces so that it can be used everywhere on a Tesla.
  • Car Guys Degreaser can clean off oxidation if some has occurred.  This is a complete degreaser and is safe to use on practically any surface.

Once it is cleaned-up like new, you may want to put on an overcoat to protect it.  A polymer wax protects the entire car, even metal, and chrome.  The following would be a good fit for Tesla:

  • Meguiars Ultimate Quik Wax  uses Polymer Technology so it is easy on the chrome and paint and can form a barrier to prevent further damage and have the car looking shiny; or
  • Shine Armor Fortify Quick Wax is a quick coating, waterless, and is said to be a car wash and wax.  The polymer paint sealant prevents further damage. 

These waxes take about 15 minutes and are easy to apply and rub down.  They will extend the life of your chrome trim and prevent oxidation from taking a firm hold.

Chrome Delete for Tesla Window Trim

If you hate washing your Tesla by hand and are not opposed to a new look, there is another option. Chrome delete hide’s the chrome trim.  People generally ‘de-chrome’ using Matte or Gloss Black.  There are, however, a plethora of colors and styles if you wanted to personalize your ride.  These vinyl wraps would be a viable solution to discoloring chrome, and 3M sells a lot of them that come with a limited warranty.  This process generally costs about $600, which is cheaper than replacing your chrome.

Maintenance for Tesla Chrome

Teslas are an investment and are one of the premium cars on the market.  The features are outstanding, and the look is elegant.  To maintain an automobile of this stature, a little work will have to go into it, but nothing too extraordinary, just some proper tools and planning.  Keeping the chrome cleaned every week or performing a de-chroming is well within the bounds of reason to help keep Tesla window trim discoloration at bay.

Tesla has indicated they are aware of the problem, and this is not unusual in any new product as it is rolling out.  The features far outweigh the necessary maintenance on the chrome window trim and door trim for the Model Y.  Wax on, wax off isn’t just for karate.

If you are not a fan of the maintenance, then de-chroming may be the solution for Tesla window discoloration, and you will be able to personalize it too.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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