What kind of maintenance costs can you expect for a Tesla?
Since Tesla makes fully-electric cars, many of the standard maintenance items don’t apply. You never need to change the oil, for example. Tesla maintenance costs are some of the lowest on the market, but the cars still carry a high price tag. To figure out maintenance costs, we looked at driver forums and data from YourMechanic.
That being said, Teslas do need specialized care, and some repairs can be very expensive. Third-party extended warranties can help even out some of that cost, especially as cars get older. We’ve reviewed many of the most popular providers on the market and singled out the best. Visit the links below to compare quotes from our top picks.
In this article:
- Tesla Maintenance “As-Needed”
- General Tesla Maintenance Cost
- Tesla Maintenance Plan Cost
- Common Tesla Repair Costs
- Comparing Tesla Models
- Perks Of Ownership
- What Tesla Owners Can Get From An Extended Warranty
- Our Top Picks For Extended Warranties
Tesla Maintenance “As-Needed”
Like all major car brands, Tesla had a recommended maintenance schedule. That is, up until 2019. The schedule included yearly inspections to make sure everything was going right. But during 2019, the company switched from recommending yearly checkups to only recommending particular services on an as-needed basis.
The website now says that Teslas do not require regular maintenance, and it instead lists a few items that should be changed periodically. This is the main reason why Tesla maintenance costs are on the affordable end. Here are the requirements:
- Cabin air filter: The filter should be changed every two years or every three years if it’s a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
- Tire rotation: Tesla recommends rotating the tires and balancing the alignment every 10,000 to 12,000 miles.
- Brake fluid test: Tesla owners should have the brake fluid tested every two years and replaced as needed.
- Air conditioning service: Tesla recommends servicing the air conditioning every two to six years, depending on the model.
- Winter care: Drivers in cold-weather regions should clean and lubricate their car’s brake calipers every 12 months or 12,500 miles.
And … that’s it. Tesla owners don’t have to go into the shop on a set schedule anymore. Plus, the Tesla owners app will keep track of the various time limits on these parts and let drivers know when they should book a service.
General Tesla Maintenance Cost
Tesla vehicles only have a fraction of the number of moving parts that a traditional combustion engine has. There are no fluids to leak or belts to wear out. What we mentioned above is really all that Tesla drivers have to worry about.
Normally, we turn to sites like RepairPal to look at average cost data. But Tesla is a special case – there isn’t a whole lot of data online. We’ll list different Tesla maintenance cost amounts we found here, but be aware that these came from forums and are for informational purposes only.
Cabin Air Filter
Full Service (Inspection Plus Items Above)
Brake System Flush
Tesla Maintenance Plan Cost
Let’s say that you follow the “as-needed” schedule for five years. Here’s how the costs would break down, assuming you go to a Tesla service center for everything and they charge you the higher amount for each of these items.
Full service with A/C
Full service with brake flush
Your total 5-year cost would be $1,490. That makes Tesla maintenance costs pretty low, but there’s a chance real-life prices could be higher, too. Dividing that by five shows that people might spend about $298 per year on average to maintain their Teslas. These costs can also be different by model – a Tesla Model 3 maintenance plan cost might be less than a Model S, for example.
Common Tesla Repair Costs
Even though Tesla maintenance cost is so low, that doesn't mean the cars are immune from repairs or breakdowns. They still share many similarities with gas vehicles, and some parts will need to be replaced over time. Some people also report Tesla maintenance problems occurring with the digital screen and tech devices. For this section, we’ll look at repair costs for the Tesla Model S.
Brake caliper replacement
$357 to $593
Oxygen sensor replacement
$271 to $444
Window motor regulator replacement
$592 to $851
Wheel bearings replacement
$325 to $394
Data from YourMechanic
These aren’t exorbitant costs, but it’s definitely good to be aware of them.
Comparing Tesla Models
In the table below, you'll see low, high, and average repair amounts for each Tesla Model.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model X
Data from YourMechanic
It looks like $80 is the base amount that YourMechanic would charge for a small Tesla repair. The highest repair cost for each model varies pretty widely. Even though these cars are easier to maintain, they're still built with advanced technology. When something goes wrong, the repair bill could be significant.
Interestingly, the Model X has the lowest average repair costs, even though you might expect that to be the case for the Model 3, which is the brand's entry-level offering. In general, Tesla repairs, when they come up, might be costlier than those of other brands. At the same time, those expensive repairs can occur less frequently with a Tesla.
Comparing Tesla Maintenance Cost Vs Other Brands
As mentioned before, you can't really make an apples-to-apples comparison between Tesla and another brand. It's not like there are two Teslas brands in the mass market right now. There's Tesla, and then there are other brands that make electric vehicles, but just not exclusively. So, we're going to compare the Model S to a number of other luxury sedans and coupes instead.
Annual Repair Costs
Tesla Model S
Data from RepairPal
Not surprisingly, Tesla repairs are a lot more affordable over the long-term than many other vehicles. The BMW i8 is the closest comparison in terms of mechanics, but it's still a hybrid vehicle with a 3-cylinder turbo engine. The hybrid battery certainly gives it more range, but the car still has high maintenance costs like other BMWs.
Traditional gas cars will just be more expensive to repair and maintain because of the number of moving parts involved. Certain repairs on Teslas can be expensive, but some of that comes from the company’s positioning as a luxury option. One could imagine a world where repairs for budget electric car brands could be very affordable.
Perks Of Ownership
As we found out, there are some maintenance and repair costs associated with owning a Tesla. On the other hand, there are also a few perks to ownership that you won't find with other brands.
Depending on your state, you can get a tax credit or rebate when you purchase a new Tesla. Colorado gives the highest tax credit of $4,000, while New Jersey gives the highest rebate of $5,000. Some states give out smaller amounts, and some don’t give any incentive at all. Also, be aware that the federal tax credit is no longer available.
Another perk is that you can take advantage of Tesla’s mobile service program. Tesla’s mobile service cost is the same as its standard service cost. There is no surcharge to using mobile services. When you schedule a service in the app, it will let you know if you're eligible for mobile service or if it would be better for you to go into a shop. Tesla’s website says that the mobile service program is available across the U.S.
What Tesla Owners Can Get From An Extended Warranty
Tesla's battery and drive unit warranties are pretty long – up to 8 years and 100,000 or 150,000 miles depending on the model. However, the basic bumper-to-bumper warranty only lasts for 4 years or 50,000 miles.
An extended warranty can help cover different parts of your Tesla from failure or breakdown longer than the standard warranty. It can be a good idea for drivers who want to keep their cars in good shape over the long term. Some third-party warranty providers also specialize in covering high-tech equipment, which is something you'll need for your Tesla.
The main benefit of an extended warranty is it can smooth out your budget and help insulate your wallet from sudden costs. In addition to that, many people enjoy the peace of mind it brings. Good extended warranty companies should also cover repairs if you choose to go back to the dealer, which many Tesla repairs will require.
Our Top Picks For Extended Warranties
Though there are many options for reputable extended warranty companies, there are also not-so-good companies out there, as well. Our top recommendations all performed well in areas like customer service, coverage options, and cost. Here are some things you can expect from the best providers:
- Low or $0 deductible
- Pays the repair shop directly
- Long coverage lengths
- Can add coverage at any time
We named CARCHEX best overall for these reasons, plus it's also endorsed by industry leaders like Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book. CarShield is another great choice, especially because the company covers all Tesla models. Just fill in some details about your car and you can compare quotes from our top providers below.
More On Warranties:
- Tesla Warranty: An In-Depth Review
- A Closer Look CARCHEX Warranty Reviews
- Extended Warranty Comparison: Endurance Vs CARCHEX
- Extended Warranty Comparison: CarShield Vs CARCHEX
- Overview Of CornerStone United’s Extended Warranty
- Jaguar Extended Warranty: Coverage And Details
- Lincoln Extended Warranty: In-Depth Review
- Extended Car Warranty Cost: Compare Leading Providers
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