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Tesla maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Expect to pay more despite needing less maintenance

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    BMW and Toyota
    general view of a tesla service center

    Because they are fully electric vehicles, Teslas don't require the same amount of maintenance that a gas-powered or hybrid car does. However, you’ll likely still pay more than average to keep your Tesla on the road.

    Keep reading to see what kind of maintenance Tesla recommends, how Tesla upkeep costs stack up against other brands and what maintenance and repair costs you can expect as a Tesla owner. Plus, we’ll let you know how you can protect yourself from a large bill at the mechanic.

    Key insights

    • Teslas don’t require the same kind of maintenance as cars with combustion engines, but you still have to pay for repairs when things break.
    • On average, Tesla vehicles require $823 a year in maintenance and repairs, according to RepairPal.
    • New Tesla models have a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and an eight-year/unlimited-mile powertrain warranty that can help you avoid repair bills.
    • Once your warranty coverage ends, an extended warranty can help you avoid expensive repairs.

    Tesla maintenance plan

    Most cars have fairly similar maintenance needs, such as scheduled oil changes and fuel filter replacements. However, Teslas are different from most cars.

    To quote Tesla's website: “Unlike gasoline cars, Tesla vehicles require no traditional oil changes, fuel filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks. Even brake pad replacements are rare because regenerative braking returns energy to the battery, significantly reducing wear on the brakes.”

    Unlike gasoline cars, Tesla vehicles require no traditional oil changes, fuel filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks.”
    — Tesla

    For the most part, Tesla recommends doing maintenance on an as-needed basis. That means Tesla owners aren’t required to visit the mechanic all that often under normal driving conditions. For the few maintenance jobs that Tesla does recommend on a regular cadence, your Tesla owner’s app keeps track of how much time and mileage has elapsed and alerts you when it’s time to book a service.

    Tesla recommended maintenance schedule

    You can see the full list of Tesla’s scheduled maintenance recommendations in the table below.

    Are Teslas expensive to maintain?

    Despite this passive attitude toward scheduled upkeep, Teslas vehicle lineup is among the most expensive to repair and maintain.

    MakeAverage repair and maintenance cost*
    Tesla $832 per year
    Honda $428 per year
    Toyota $441 per year
    Ford $775 per year
    BMW $968 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    Considering that very little maintenance is required for most Teslas, the majority of your costs will likely come from repairs. Consumer Reports lists Tesla’s lineup among the least reliable car brands, even though its predicted reliability score of 40 out of 100 is the highest given to any electric vehicle (EV) maker.

    Tesla vehicles also tend to be riddled with recalls. The 2022 Tesla Model Y already has 11 active recalls and four ongoing investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the time of publication. Older models face even more to deal with.

    Based on what we’ve heard from Tesla owners, you can also expect to pay extra for parts and labor from qualified EV mechanics.

    Tesla maintenance costs

    While we typically look at data aggregator sites to figure out approximate repair and maintenance costs, model-specific information for Tesla vehicles isn’t fully available from our usual sources. The only data-based, model-specific estimate we could find is for the Tesla Model S, which averages $1,047 per year in maintenance and repairs, according to RepairPal.

    However, we were able to find a Tesla employee’s estimated maintenance costs for a Model Y, as reported by Car Talk.

    Typical maintenance costs for a Tesla Model Y

    Tire rotation $65
    Brake fluid quality test $25
    Brake fluid change $200
    Brake cleaning and lubrication $150
    Wheel alignment $275
    Cabin air filter replacement $75
    Wiper blade replacement $40
    Tire replacement (not including alignment) $2,000 (standard tires) or $2,500 (21-inch performance tires)
    *According to Car Talk for a Tesla Model Y

    Ali, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from California, left a review that corroborated the final estimate on that list, telling us, “I bought my Tesla Plaid about six months ago, and after only 13k miles, I have had to replace all four tires, costing me $2,500. Tesla customer service claims this may be due to my driving style. Grand Prix, who actually put on the new tires, said the car was out of alignment — hence why the tires went so quickly. Of course, Tesla customer service refuses to accept it.”

    Unlike some other automakers, Teslas doesn’t provide complimentary maintenance on new vehicles, and it no longer offers prepaid maintenance plans.

    Tesla repair costs

    If a covered component breaks down during your Tesla’s four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty or eight-year/unlimited-mile powertrain warranty, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. However, repairs outside of your warranty period can be prohibitively expensive.

    “In July 2022, my model X was still under Tesla warranty. I scheduled a service visit for rattling noise. After one week at the service center, they dismissed it as being a bad tire. … It was clear there is more to it,” wrote M., a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Virginia. “I, again, scheduled a service with Tesla. However, now the car is no longer under warranty. In less than six hours, the list and estimate for the repair was sent to me. It was $5,000.”

    Unfortunately, data on common Tesla issues is hard to also find. However, ConsumerAffairs reviewers have left numerous complaints about their Teslas that can help us understand what owning a Tesla may cost you.

    Those ‘savings’ in gas, you are going to spend it in parts, or if not, you are going to have a nonoperational vehicle sitting on the street.”
    — Alfonso, ConsumerAffairs reviewer

    Of the Tesla reviews posted to our site in the year before this article was published, 20% have mentioned needing repairs that cost the owner thousands of dollars. That’s not indicative of Tesla owners overall (people who have bad experiences are much more likely to leave reviews), but it is something to be aware of if you’re thinking about buying a Tesla or keeping one outside the warranty period.

    Alfonso, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New York, told us: “I currently have a 2021 model Y. Vehicle was great, but as soon as I passed the 50,000 miles threshold (only by 3K) the whole vehicle started failing. … The heating pump and multiple sensors failed including the auxiliary 24V battery. Be advised that each repair cost around $4,800. Just diagnostics by itself are close to $1,000, plus towing the vehicle is another $460. Those ‘savings’ in gas, you are going to spend it in parts, or if not, you are going to have a nonoperational vehicle sitting on the street.”

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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      How can an extended warranty help?

      Your car insurance will protect you from repairs that you need as a result of an accident, theft or vandalism, but it won’t do anything to help with parts that wear out or break on their own. So, if you aren’t prepared to foot an expensive bill at the mechanic’s, you may want to look into purchasing an extended warranty.

      Extended warranties are available directly from Tesla or dedicated auto warranty companies, and there are generally multiple coverage options available, so you can pick a plan that matches your needs and budget.

      That being said, extended car warranties aren’t for everyone. If you can afford to pay for expensive repairs out-of-pocket, you don’t necessarily need this protection. However, if these repair bills would cause you financial hardship, an extended warranty may save you money in the long run.

      “We have a 2017 Model X and we have constantly had the car in the shop to fix wing doors or sensors, steering issues, battery cooling issues, window issues, doors not opening, etc. ... it's a long list,” wrote Michael, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Nebraska. “Unfortunately we are spending an average of $4,000 a year on repairs and nothing seems to be covered under the warranty. Driving it now seems like a worry, as we know something else is going to go wrong soon and it'll be another $1,000 or more.

      “I think it would have cost us an extra $5,000 for the extended warranty and so far it probably would have saved us at least $10,000, but we didn't think we needed it. Buyer beware, it's a great car when it works, but buy the extended warranty because you'll need it.”

      » MORE: Pros and cons of extended auto warranties

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Tesla, “Model 3 Owner’s Manual.” Accessed March 5, 2023.
      2. Tesla, “Vehicle Maintenance.” Accessed March 9, 2023.
      3. RepairPal, “Tesla S Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed March 5, 2023.
      4. Car Talk, “Tesla Maintenance: Cost, Repairs and Schedule.” Accessed March 5, 2023.
      5. CarComplaints.com, “TESLA OVERVIEW.” Accessed March 5, 2023.
      6. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “2022 TESLA MODEL Y 5-SEAT.” Accessed March 5, 2023.
      7. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed March 5, 2023. 
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