It turns out that it is not, in fact, normal for your rear bumper to fall off when you drive over a shallow puddle, as many Tesla Model 3 owners discovered.
The issue is aptly demonstrated in this video by owner Logan Jamal, which can be seen below:
Tesla has been investigating the issue for at least two years now, which external mechanics attribute to a design flaw which causes sand and water to get stuck in the underbody, which puts pressure on the rear bumper.
Till now owners had to go through Tesla’s warranty process, and the company did not accept every claim, arguing on some occasions that it was due to drivers driving through too deep water.
Now Tesla has finally acknowledged the issue, saying in a new circular:
In rare instances, certain components on Model 3 vehicles built at the Fremont Factory before May 21, 2019, might be damaged when driving through standing water on a road or highway with poor drainage or pooling water. In these rare instances, the rear fascia might detach from the vehicle and harnesses and/or body fasteners/mounts might also be damaged. This document clarifies that damage caused during these instances is covered under warranty.
The design has now been changed for newer Teslas, but this clarity should go a long way to help existing owners if this issue should occur.
See the circular below: