Since Tesla makes fully electric cars, many of the standard maintenance items don’t apply. You never need an oil change, for example, and you don't have to worry about traditional fuel costs. 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, Elon Musk's Teslas do need specialized care, and some repairs can be very expensive. Third-party extended warranties can help even out the cost of ownership, especially as cars get older. We’ve reviewed many of the most popular providers on the market and singled out the best extended car warranties. Based on our research, the best third-party provider for Tesla is CarShield.
In this article:
- Tesla Maintenance “As Needed”
- General Tesla Maintenance Cost
- Tesla Maintenance Plan Cost
- Comparing Tesla Models
- Perks Of Tesla Ownership
- What Tesla Owners Can Get From An Extended Warranty
- Our Top Picks For Extended Warranties
- FAQ: Tesla Maintenance Cost
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 in 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.
Tesla made some changes to its Model S and Model X vehicles in 2021 that influenced certain maintenance requirements. We'll go over current maintenance requirements for all models here.
- 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. For the 2021 S and X models, you only need to replace the standard air filter every three years.
- Tire rotation: Tesla recommends rotating the tires every 6,250 miles or when the difference in tread depth between tires is 2/32 inch or greater.
- Brake fluid test: Tesla owners should have the brake fluid tested every two years and replaced as needed.
- Winter care: Drivers in cold-weather regions should clean and lubricate their cars' brake calipers every 12 months or 12,500 miles.
- Air conditioning service: Tesla recommends servicing the air conditioning and replacing the desiccant bag every two to six years, depending on the model and year. See the table below for details.
|Tesla Model||Air Conditioning Service Interval|
|Model 3||Every 6 years|
|Model Y||Every 4 years|
|Model S (2012 to 2020)||Every 2 years|
|Model S (2021)||Every 3 years|
|Model X (2012 to 2020)||Every 4 years|
|Model X (2021)||Every 3 years|
And that’s it. Tesla owners don’t have to go into the shop on a set schedule. Plus, the Tesla owners app will keep track of the various time limits on these parts and let drivers know when they should book services.
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 Tesla maintenance cost amounts we found here, but be aware that these came from forums and are for informational purposes only.
|Tire rotation||$35 to $100|
|Cabin air filter||$60 to $200|
|Wiper blades||$20 to $50|
|Full service (inspection plus items above)||$475+|
|Brake system flush||$100 to $110|
Tesla Maintenance Plan Cost
Let’s say you follow the “as-needed” Tesla maintenance schedule for five years. Here’s how the total costs would break down, assuming you go to a Tesla service center for everything and you're charged the higher amount for each of these items.
|2||Full service with A/C||$525|
|4||Full service with brake flush||$585|
Common Tesla Repair Costs
Even though the average Tesla maintenance cost is so low, that doesn't mean the cars are immune to 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||$80||$1,134||$216|
|Tesla Model S||$80||$4,074||$283|
|Tesla Model X||$80||$769||$171|
Data from YourMechanic
It looks like $80 is the base amount that YourMechanic would charge for a small Tesla car 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 To 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 Tesla brands in the mass market right now. There's Tesla, and then there are other brands that make electric vehicles, but not exclusively. So we're going to compare the Model S to other luxury sedans and coupes instead.
|Car||Average Annual Repair And Maintenance Costs|
|Tesla Model S||$298|
Data from RepairPal
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 Tesla Ownership
As we found out, there are some maintenance and repair costs associated with owning a Tesla. However, there are also a few perks to ownership that you won't find with other brands.
Depending on your state, you can get a state tax credit or rebate when you purchase a new Tesla. For example, California gives a $2,000 or $4,500 rebate for a Model 3 or Model Y purchased in 2021 depending on income eligibility. Different utilities in the state also offer rebates for installing home chargers or purchasing EVs.
In New Jersey, you don't have to pay sales tax on a Tesla and you get a discount on some toll prices with EZ-Pass. Check out Tesla's EV and solar incentives page for complete information on all participating states. Some states don't give any tax credits or rebates.
Also, be aware that the federal tax credit is no longer available. Cumulative Tesla sales reached 200,000 in 2019, which disqualified later sales from the federal tax credit, according to current legislation. However, there is possible legislation that may allow Tesla purchasers to claim a new tax credit starting in 2022.
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, 120,000, 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 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 that it can help insulate your wallet from sudden costs. In addition, many people enjoy the peace of mind it brings. Good extended warranty companies should also cover repairs if you back to the dealer, which many Tesla repairs will require.
Our Top Pick For Tesla Extended Warranties
Though there are many options for reputable extended warranty companies, there are also not-so-good warranty 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 extended warranty providers:
- Low or $0 deductible
- Pays the repair shop directly
- Long coverage lengths
- Can add coverage at any time
CarShield Extended Warranty
CarShield is the best choice for Tesla owners, as the company covers all Tesla models. In our review, we rated the provider 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. CarShield offers six plans that vary in systems covered. One of the plans covers high-tech and complex systems only, and this could be a good option after the Tesla basic limited warranty expires.
CarShield has a 4.0-star rating out of 5.0 from over 22,000 reviews on TrustPilot. It's the most popular extended warranty company in the industry.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.
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