Nathaniel Galicia Chien was driving Interstate 580 with his parents in their brand new Tesla Model Y when he started to hear a lot of wind.
“I thought a window was open,” Chien recalls in an email to The edge, “But half a minute later, the whole glass roof of the roof blew up in the wind. “
Chien said the incident occurred hours after he and his parents picked up the new Model Y from the Tesla dealership in Dublin, California. Right off the bat, they noticed a few minor ‘fit and finish’ issues, such as ‘spacing issues and irregularities in the gaps which are fairly well known issues with the new Teslas.’ But they weren’t expecting any issues with the crossover’s gigantic panoramic glass roof, and certainly not the same day they kicked it off the dealership lot.
For years, Tesla has been plagued by quality issues, but it seems to have worsened with the release of the Model Y in 2019. Last summer, Tesla took the last spot in a customer survey the researcher conducted. JD Power. Owners have flocked to online forums to complain about issues with paint and trim, indentations in the seats, and loose seat belts. But an entire roof blowing off the highway is a new kind of problem for Tesla.
No one was injured by the detached glass roof. Chien said his family warned California Highway Patrol to advise them of the potential danger on the freeway, then returned to the Dublin dealership with their now convertible Model Y.
Chien said Tesla’s service representatives said “either the seal on the roof was faulty or they just forgot to fully seal the roof.” Dealers offered to service the Model Y for free and lease the Chien family in the meantime, but the family declined the offer. Chien said his parents would likely buy a completely different vehicle.
“Fortunately, I don’t think anyone’s been hurt,” Chien said, “and it’s easy to laugh about in hindsight, but it could be a serious problem if it happens again. “
The Tesla Service Center in Dublin did not return a message seeking comment. A Tesla spokesperson also did not respond.
The original Tesla Roadster comes with a removable roof that fits in the trunk of the vehicle, while the refreshed version is expected to come with a hardtop. There have been Tesla Model 3s modified into convertibles and compact pickups, but always intentionally and never while driving on the highway.