Rich Rebuilds – The Rogue Tesla Mechanic

In the spirit of the Independent Auto Body Shop…we discovered a man named Rich Benoit…a unique auto mechanic and Youtuber who calls himself the “Doctor Frankenstein of Teslas”.

“We may hear some clicks,” he says, as he prepares to connect the second lead. “We may hear some buzzing. The car may explode. I don’t know what’s gonna happen.” ~ Rich Benoit

In the documentary video above and on his own Youtube channel (below)…Benoit leads us through the scrapyards where he scavenges Tesla parts, the basement where he categorizes them, and an auto body shop that lets him use its equipment. He shows us deep under the hood, where he wrestles with the motors, high-powered batteries and tangles of electronics and cables that make Teslas tick.

The idea of cobbling together salvaged Teslas came to Benoit while shopping for his first used Model S.  He quickly became highly motivated by the notion of  “right to repair” —the philosophy that manufacturers shouldn’t be allowed to intentionally prevent consumers from repairing their own devices.  Massachusetts has the country’s only automotive right to repair law (passed in 2012) that requires auto dealerships to sell repair parts to independent dealers. Benoit says the law helps him a little, but Tesla technically doesn’t have “dealerships” and so he’s had to scavenge for many of his parts. Legislation that would expand right to repair to other electronics has been proposed in a handful of states around the country.

“If you drive around, you’ll see a place that only fixes only Saabs, or they fix only Volvo…Places like that are so important. You have to have these little mom and pop shops that know these cars well, that’ll fix it for a decent price, so that the manufacturer can’t monopolize the repair.” ~ Rich Benoit

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