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Annual Maintenance Costs

There was a thread started on the Tesla Forum boards regarding what the maintenance fee would be per year for the Model S. I called a couple stores today and was surprised to find out they still don't know what the maintenance fee was or if there was any at all. One store said it would be $300/year and the other store said $1200/year because you needed 2 checkups per year. I was under the assumption that the upkeep and repair of the Model S would be far lower than an ICE car, so am surprised/confused that the maintenance fee would be anything above $200-$300 per year. at $500+, that seems like a premium to normal maintenance costs of an ICE, not a discount. Does anybody know what the yearly maintenance fee is going to be if anything at all? Thanks

I am still trying to figure out how these prices are fair? (SMOP)

I am still trying to figure out why those who think prices are unfair are so very upset. Disillusioned or maybe disappointed, yes that I can understand. But I don't get what this big uproar is about. Since service is not a prerequisite for the warranty to be valid, it's a free market. The choice is yours. If you think pricing is too much in favor of Tesla and unfair for you -- don't buy the service and simply fix the problems as they occur. If you are afraid of the unknown cost that may incur going that route -- then maybe Tesla's offer isn't so unfair after all?

Edit: big uproarlamentation (seems to be the more adequate expression).

SMOP, just to be sure: I'm not addressing you personally. Your comments are measured and to the point, I want to be explicit that I am not criticizing what you say or how you say it. My comment was triggered by yours, but addresses the general gist of this thread.

The frustrating part is that we are still guessing what they are charging the $600 for.
Making the decision knowingly would eliminate that frustration.
I really hope there's a document that spells it all out.

Making the decision knowingly would eliminate that frustration.
I really hope there's a document that spells it all out.

+1 but now worries. Of course it will be spelled out, and of course the marketing blurp doesn't cover all the details. It's been the same when prices and options were released. IIRC, it was a few weeks later that the Specs page was published, clarifying what exactly comes standard, i.e., what the paid options really mean.

Edit: now worries!


I am a long time multiple Tesla owner, I am aware of the way the service process works. I do not think that it is worth $600 for the Roadster (warranty dependent on service ) and I do not see how it is worth $600 on the Model S. If Tesla had been forthright and said "here is the deal with the Model S, service, whats included what is not, changes etc" prior to forcing me to lock in and lose 10k, I would be far more forgiving. I could cancel my reservation and move on. Right now I am 10k hard money, that I will lose if I cancel. So now what? Is this the way a reputable company behaves? Tesla has me wrapped right now and I really cannot do anything about it. The poor business practices is what annoys me. No legitimate company would treat customers in this manner (i.e. locking in customers then releasing changes and information after locked in).

SMOP = smoothoperator?

"The maintenance cost is borderline ridiculous, make no mistake Tesla Service is a profit center."

I think this is a borderline ridiculous statement, and will ultimately (soon?) be shown as such.

Brian H

Do you have firsthand experience with Tesla Service? If yes what about Tesla Service out of warranty? I can show you firsthand from my invoices the difference between the two.

Please advise.

Best Regards,

Smoothoperator aka SMOP (Forum messed up and had to change name)

I won't make any conclusions until I see an agreement in writing, both warranty and service.
I've asked for one, we'll see what TM says.

@KeithE; Audi care you point out is not comparable. You pay for everything brakes, wipers, etc (see footnote 2). Audi includes oil, oil filter, air filter and fluids (oh and spark plugs ;)).

what's included "Replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers (excluding tires)". I intend to hold them to that. I pay for tires; they pay for all else. You are right, docs tell all.

As said early; others are more like "annual inspection" and Tesla offering more of "annual maintenance" more typical of complete care for you laptop like offered by Apple or Dell.

Some more details explained here (by GeorgeB):!/page47?p=187010&viewfull=1#post187010
(Thanks to ddruz for providing this link in the other thread!)

The same link Clickable! (Or so I hope...)

thank you the GB link. it helps clarify a few things. Also IMHO, the $600 annual maintenence fee is fair or pretty close to fair, especaill when compared to other manfacturers. I believe the only one that includes maintenance for "free" is BMW. A friend just purchased an Audi A& and maintenance is not included. The audi care is about $250-$300/year and does not include brakes or wheel alignment. just my opinion.

Just because I haven't see anyone else quantify the brakes, figured I'd take a stab:

I replace pads about every 30K miles on my ICE. Because of the regen on Model S, I would expect the pads to last about 100K (just a guess). That pretty much makes brake replacement a non-factor wrt this discussion, IMHO.

Wheel alignments? Now that's another story....

Well the $600 is required to keep your car warranty intact. Tesla will do whatever service they deem is necessary. So basically there is no warranty on the Model S if you do not pay the $600. That is a first for a car company

I posted this on TMC in reply to George B's post.
Any thoughts? If "New Features" means no cost retrofitting of adaptive cruise control, etc. then I think the Service Agreement is well worth it.

Thanks GeorgeB for your very detailed post, timely and clear as always. It does help me refocus after the many questions raised since Joost's blog.

As you point out, the "New Features" portion of the blog seems to have gone under the radar and it's still unclear to me what later additions will fall under this category. If, say, motorized side mirrors, front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control (just to name a few) become options for Model S 2.0 in 2014, will my Model S 1.0 be retrofitted with these at no cost to me (having the service agreement, of course)?

If this is so, then the Service Agreement with Tesla has a huge plus that needs to be played up. What these "New Features" are is probably an unknown (other than creep) but it would be of great benefit to those undecided on going with vs. skipping the service agreement to get a better sense on what future feature may (or may not) fall in this bucket.

@mlascano | SEPTEMBER 17, 2012: Any thoughts? If "New Features" means no cost retrofitting of adaptive cruise control, etc. then I think the Service Agreement is well worth it.

From the tone of George B's post, I would suspect that "New Features" is referring to mostly software features. At least that's the kind of feature (creep mode) he was using as an example.

I find it spot on, neither to high or low.
Its a newly developed car by a "newly" created car compagny, we who is buying this car knows that there is a risk of having a car witch might have some minor faults as time goes by.... having a maintanaince plan inkluding all parts will inshure that there will never be any discusions about replacing it - e.g. if after 2 years the rubber start aging some where.
I find 600$/year just fine, if you choise the 1900$/4year its "only" 475$/year.

Posted by SMOP

"Well the $600 is required to keep your car warranty intact. Tesla will do whatever service they deem is necessary. So basically there is no warranty on the Model S if you do not pay the $600. That is a first for a car company"

*citation needed

Who told you this? I've been told the exact opposite by multiple Tesla reps. If you're just guessing, I'd suggest actually asking before spreading false information. The annual maintenance is NOT required to keep your warranty valid.

Citation is here:

Post #24

Well shit, contrary to what multiple Tesla reps have told me, George B's post here!/page47?p=187010&viewfull=1#post187010

Says that not getting your yearly maintenance does void the warranty.


When I talked to my Tesla Rep this weekend about the service plan they told me the plan was optional... like all car manufactures. You are required to have the car inspected once a year to maintain you warrantee... like all car manufactures. My Prius is required to be inspected (yes, 4 items to be inspected) + service items every 5K miles or 6 months. So if I don’t change my oil the engine is not covered by the warrantee. Since the Tesla has no annual service items (that I know of) you are left only with an inspection (1 year or 12.5K miles). The inspection does not have to be done by Tesla… only a Tesla qualified person. So for the next few years that probably means Tesla.

So your two options are pay as you go or prepay… like all car manufactures. The annual inspection on the pay as you go plan will be $100-$200 per inspection (Tesla Rep’s best guess, but I felt they had no real idea of what it really would be) and you pay extra for all non warrantee items they find needs fixing. Or you pay $600 per year (think insurance payment) and they fix all non-warrantee items (except tires), 24/7 roadside assistance, etc. They will even come to your home to inspect/fix your model S for 4 years “for free” (for only $500 extra).

The only real question is: In your opinion is it worth the money. The choice is yours. Normally I like pay as you go plan (it has always saves me money in the long run). But in this case, since Model S is Tesla’s first production car…. I’m thinking 4 year insurance contract (excuse me service contract) with prepaid Rangers.


Except that with other manufacturers you can do the scheduled service at a place of your choosing or you can do it yourself. You can't do this with a Model S.

Now it is a little more clear.

New Features is just software updates that Tesla decides to include... obviously Navigation, for example, is not going to be included even though it would be a new feature for me so I don't see any use out of that part of the deal. Except for Creep does anyone know what other NEW features would be added to the computer? Everything that I can think of that would be useful would require a minimal amount of hardware. If new features is everything except features that you buy in an option package then I don't see there being very many new features. Time will tell.

I still think the 50K miles package without the Ranger service is a good buy. Someone check my math...
4 years and 4 services 1900/4=$475 per year plus $100 for ranger is $575
4 years and 4 services 2400/4=$600 per year including Ranger visit.

Although I like the plan I can see why people have issue with the required purchase of maintenance from the dealer to maintain the warranty. With the quantity of purchases that will be happening this will play out in a class-action lawsuit. I don't know what the outcome will be since I think Tesla can require the service be done by a factory certified person. I would think that if a mechanic gets certified or quits Tesla to open his own inspection shop they may have a legal issue.

Time will tell... I plan on happily purchasing the $1900 plan.


Tesla requires certified mechanics... the same as any other manufacturer. Right now the only place to find them is at a Tesla service center. When Tesla is making 500K+ cars per year we should see non-Tesla certified mechanics. Until then we have a specialty cars and that's life (I don't like it either but that's life).

An example, I had a problem with the hybrid system on my car (My Honda Civic hybrid.. not my Toyota Prius hybrid). My local mechanic, who has done all the other maintenance on my cars, told me he was not certified to work on hybrid systems and I needed to go to the dealer for the repair. So I did.

As for doing maintenance yourself. It's your car. Do with it as you want. During the warranty period Tesla will do all the work on my car (and the inspection to maintain that warranty)... just like all my other new cars.

Personally I enjoy working on cars so after the warranty is up I plan to do minor maintenance/repairs on my Model S. But batteries, motors, and electronics are way off base for me. Hopefully Tesla will release shop manuals for the Model S.

Although I don't plan selling my S in 4 years, but to cover all bases, does anyone know if the Tesla 4 year maintenance agreement is transferable to a new owner?

This looks like hidden support fee since you can't really do without it (it voids the warranty).
Considering tires last about 15,000 miles, you won't need tire rotation or alignment other than when replacing your tires.
Break pads ?
Those don't need replacement until 30,000+ miles.
When you replace them, you can replace the fluid as well.
Instead of making it a scheduled maintenance with different pricing based on service they've just made it a flat $600 a year.
It's closer to computer/software support licensing than to cars.
Will see how well this works, certainly something unique in the industry...

@ Carmine

I asked the transfer question to my Tesla advisor, and he confirm that the 4 year pre-paid plan will be transferable to any new owner of the car.

The difference between this plan and traditional manufacturers is that only Tesla techs are qualified to work on the car so you have to take it to them. It's no big deal.

Essentially the model S comes with a one-year warranty. Consider the maintenance plan as an extended warranty.

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