Tesla’s extended warranty plans are not available for all models.

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Tesla has become synonymous with “electric car,” and for good reason: it is currently the world leader in electric vehicles for the road. While Tesla models win praise for performance and range, quality history has not been stellar.

That’s one reason to strongly consider buying an extended warranty for a Tesla model. Another is that, while a Tesla does not have a conventional internal combustion engine or transmission, it has a highly sophisticated electric powertrain and a plethora of onboard electronic and computer technology. It is simply one of the most advanced vehicles in production today. And advanced tech usually means expensive repairs when things fail.

Tesla offers an extended warranty, which it calls an Extended Service Agreement, but only for the Model S and Model X, not the Model 3, the company’s entry vehicle. While third-party warranties are available, not all companies cover luxury brands or electric vehicles, or, if they do, coverage may not be available for all models in the range. In our research of the best warranty companies, we learned that the popular provider CarShield offers protection for Tesla models. You can ask them for price quotes and sample contracts.

 
 

In this article:

Tesla’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty

Tesla wins a lot of admiration for its engineering and technology, but only certain parts of the warranty stand out as above average among luxury brands.

Tesla Warranty Coverage Term

New Vehicle Limited Warranty (all models)

4 years/50,000 miles

Battery and Drive Unit (Model S and Model X)

8 years/150,000 miles

Battery and Drive Unit (Model 3) 

8 years/100,000 miles

Corrosion perforation (all models)

12 years/unlimited miles

Roadside assistance (all models)

4 years/50,000 miles

 

Tesla considers the lithium-ion high-voltage battery to be functioning properly if it retains at least 70 percent of its rated capacity. Other EV makers have a similar policy. Because a battery’s capacity does decline over time, this is considered normal wear.

The Tesla warranty is transferable if you sell the vehicle to a private party “when a vehicle ownership transfer is performed through Tesla,” according to the company.

A Critical Warning

Exclusions to the Tesla warranty are similar to those of other carmakers’ warranties (abuse, negligence, racing, damage from towing, etc.), but there is one that stands out: the warranty can be voided if the owner fails to install vehicle software updates after notification that an update is available.

That one is critical, because Tesla regularly issues over-the-air software updates that affect the vehicle’s performance, including power and braking. Don’t ignore Tesla’s update notifications the way you might disregard messages from your computer or smartphone to download software updates.

Parts, Body, And Paint Repair Limited Warranty

When you do get a repair covered by the Tesla warranties, the parts used are covered by their own 12-month warranty. Specific parts of the vehicle have different, longer coverage terms:

  • Sheet metal: Lifetime limited warranty
  • Drive unit: 4 years/50,000 miles
  • Vehicle high voltage battery: 4 years/50,000 miles
  • Wall connectors: 4 years
  • Touchscreen and microcontroller unit: 4 years

Tesla Used Vehicle Limited Warranty

Unlike most auto brands, Tesla does not use the term “Certified Pre-Owned” for its used cars. It does, however, provide a 70-point inspection and additional warranty coverage for the Tesla Model S and Model X for added peace of mind. You must buy a used Tesla directly from the company in order to get that coverage. (Tesla does not have dealers.)

Keep in mind, this coverage is not available on all Tesla models, and its availability varies by vehicle age and mileage:

  • Model S and Model X vehicles that are under 4 years old and have less than 50,000 miles get the balance of original Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty, plus a Used Vehicle Limited Warranty that runs for 4 years/50,000 miles, whichever comes first. This coverage begins on the customer’s delivery date.
  • Model S and Model X vehicles that are 4-6 years old or have over 50,000-100,000 miles get the remainder of the original Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty and also come with a Used Vehicle Extended Limited Warranty. This coverage runs for 2 years/100,000 miles.
  • The Model 3, Tesla’s entry vehicle, simply gets any remainder of the original New Vehicle Limited Warranty and Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty. Tesla does not offer an extension of coverage for this model.

Tesla Reliability: The Good And Bad

Tesla is one of the most scrutinized carmakers, and it made the news last year when its efforts to ramp up production to meet demand for the Model 3 resulted in some quality glitches. According to Consumer Reports, many problems involved body hardware issues, such as trunks not closing or loose body trim panels. Similar problems, along with paint issues, affected the more expensive Model S.

Consumer Reports had put both Tesla models on its “Recommended” list, but later removed them. In November 2019, the publication put both Tesla models back on its Recommended list, because owner surveys showed Tesla had largely addressed the problems. Complaints about technology problems, including the adaptive cruise control, vehicle cameras, and warning lights, also declined.

Based on its owner surveys, Consumer Reports gave low marks for the Model X, Tesla’s SUV with unusual, vertically opening rear “falcon doors.” (Car enthusiasts call these “gullwing doors.”) The doors in particular were criticized for problems, but Consumer Reports also cited other issues, such as water leaks, noises, and overall “worse than average” reliability.

Overall, however, Consumer Reports says Tesla rates highest among all brands for owner satisfaction. That is according to what owners said in their surveys.

The J.D Power Vehicle Dependability Study does not include Tesla due to an insufficient customer sample size, and also to “restrictions the company placed on the sharing of vehicle data,” according to USA Today.

Last fall, Bloomberg published a comprehensive survey of Tesla Model 3 owners, yielding positive and negative reviews from customers. Despite quality lapses in early models, the entry Tesla has most owners feeling “very satisfied” with their vehicles.

Tesla Repair Costs

It is difficult to find Tesla repair price data. RepairPal, an independent source for vehicle repair data and cost estimates, does not track Tesla.

Xcelerate Auto, which was started in 2015, is one company that offers extended warranties for Teslas and other EVs. It listed costs for some Tesla repairs:

Tesla Repair or Replacement Estimated Cost

Media Control Unit

$3,400

Air suspension

$1,700

Autopilot driving sensors

$2,000

Model X falcon wing door handles

$900

Air conditioning system

$2,200

 

You can research repairs and owners’ experiences with reliability on the Tesla website owners’ forum. While anyone can view the forums, only registered Tesla owners can post. It is somewhat brave for a carmaker to host such an open forum, where owners can air their complaints and seek advice from others. For example, when some Model S owners experienced problems with the electric Drive Unit, Tesla simply replaced it as an expedient repair, and sometimes more than once for some individual owners.

Tesla Extended Warranty

Tesla currently offers its Extended Service Agreement (ESA) for the Model S and Model X only. It is not available for the Model 3, and Tesla has not yet announced this extended warranty’s availability for the forthcoming Model Y and the controversial Cybertruck.

There is one plan offered with a choice of two terms. The ESA covers many parts of the vehicle but not the EV battery or Drive Unit, which are covered only by their original 8-year warranties. As we mentioned, any replacements provided for those systems performed under warranty would be covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Since Tesla is a direct seller, the company posts pricing for its ESA on its website. There are no dealer markups. Pricing differs if you buy a contract before or after 180 days of taking delivery of the vehicle. 

  • Pricing varies by model and when you purchase the extended warranty. 
  • Coverage from Tesla’s Extended Service Agreements begins when the new-car limited warranty expires. 
  • Availability of Tesla Extended Service Agreements for the upcoming Model Y and Cybertruck has not yet been announced.
Tesla Vehicle Purchased Within 180 Days Purchased After 180 Days

Model S: 2 years/25,000 miles

$2,100

$2,600

Model S: 4 years/50,000 miles

$4,250 

$4,750

Model X: 2 years/25,000 miles

$2,400

$2,900

Model X: 4 years/50,000 miles

$4,800

$5,300

Model 3

Not available

Not available

 

In addition to not extending coverage of the EV high-voltage battery and Drive Unit, the Tesla ESA does not cover maintenance and wear items, including filters, liquids, and brake pads. Also not covered: suspension alignment and shock absorbers, tires, and upholstery wear and tear. The Terms and Conditions include a complete list.

Our Recommendation For Tesla Extended Warranties

 

Tesla is a young company, and most of its models on the road are also young. And so, aftermarket warranty companies may not necessarily offer the coverage you’d get for a mainstream brand’s vehicle. You will need to contact third-party warranty companies to verify if they cover any Tesla models. Some of these providers do not cover certain luxury and performance vehicles. However, one of the best extended warranty companies, CarShield, does cover all Tesla models. 

 
 
Tesla Extended Warranty vs. CarShield
Here's a quick comparison of the Tesla Extended Warranty and CarShield.
  Tesla Extended Warranty CarShield

Start Date

Upon expiration of factory warranty Anytime
Max Length of Coverage 4 years/50,000 miles 250,000 miles
# of Plan Options 1 6
Transferable
Deductible

$200

$0+
Trip Interruption No
Roadside Assistance
Repair Network Tesla dealers only ASE-Certified® repair facilities
Cancellation Policy Anytime Refund if within 30 days
Availability From local dealer Free, instant quote
  Contact your Tesla Dealer for Pricing

 

Get Quote

 

Tesla Extended Warranty FAQs 

Q: Can I buy a Tesla extended warranty if I buy my Tesla from a private seller?

A: As long as you buy your Tesla from a private party and make the transfer through Tesla, and as long as the vehicle is still within its original New Vehicle Limited Warranty, you can buy an Extended Service Agreement. Used Teslas purchased from a third-party dealership are not eligible.

Q: When can I buy the Tesla Extended Service Agreement?

A: You can buy it anytime while the New Vehicle Limited Warranty is still in effect, but no later than 30 days or 1,000 miles past its expiration.

Q: Can I purchase the Tesla Extended Service Agreement online?

A: No, you must buy it from a Tesla Service Center.

Q: Do I pay a deductible for repairs?

A: There is a $200 deductible for repairs covered by the Tesla Extended Service Agreement.

Q: Is Tesla’s extended warranty transferable?

A: Yes, when you process the vehicle’s transfer of ownership to a new buyer through Tesla, any remaining portion of the Extended Service Agreement stays with it.

Q: Can I include the cost of the extended warranty in my vehicle financing?

A: No. Whether you finance your Tesla Model S or Model X or pay cash, the Extended Service Agreement is a separate purchase and cannot be added to the cost of the car.

Q: Can I cancel the Tesla extended warranty?

A: Tesla says you “can request to cancel your Extended Service Agreement at any time and receive a prorated refund, based on your claims history.” This means any previous warranty claims paid will be subtracted from the prorated amount. You could possibly get zero back, voiding any financial benefit to canceling. It pays to ask Tesla customer service before you cancel.

 

Read our guides to other warranty providers: