Is service plan necessary?

Is service plan necessary?

Elon declared in his 4/26/13 tweet: ---$600 annual service plan is optional with no effect on warranty---. Why does one pay extra minimum of $1900 for a 4y service plan? I'm getting my red ms in about 10 days, and my service center is going to be about 50 miles away from me and is "coming soon".

So, gentlemen (and ladies ), please advise! Do I really need to buy ANY service plan at all? What does the basic warranty do?

Ps: when requested, Porsche dealership sends guys to my house pickup-service-return my car with no extra charge beyond the routine costs for annual maintenance ($350ish).

J.T. | 15. Juni 2013

If you go to and search for "service plan" you will find multiple threads discussing this at length.

NICE | 15. Juni 2013

Search Link

zijunhao1 | 16. Juni 2013

Search link lead me to lots of readings of prior posts. Thanks. Vokerize didn't work but thanks too

JZ13 | 16. Juni 2013

NO, there is no need to buy service because everything is covered under a no-fault warranty.

gasnomo | 16. Juni 2013

This is clearly NOT the case, only the battery has a no fault warranty. The car's 4-year warranty is not no fault.

J.T. | 16. Juni 2013


Ted Merendino, a product planner and the Tesla tech who received the phone calls from Broder during his infamous adventure, said point blank that the only difference between taking the service plan and taking it in for service is hat you save money with the service plan if you happen to have it serviced every year.

People who pay ahead of time get nothing special. No hardware upgrades, no service perks, no priority treatment whatsoever.

So, your 4 year service plan adds nothing to your coverage.

Where am I missing something?

Tâm | 16. Juni 2013

Being early adopters, the clear line of paid & unpaid are blurred.

Once, the novelty wears off, if you don't pre-pay, you'll need to pay for:

• Annual inspection (or every 12,500 miles)
• Replacement parts like brake pads and windshield wipers (excluding tires)
• 24 hour roadside assistance
• System monitoring
• Remote diagnostics
• Hardware upgrades
Tesla Valet Service
Tesla Rangers

riceuguy | 16. Juni 2013

Jtodtman, that's how I understand it and will spend the extra $500 over 4 years to (a) spread out the payments, and (b) just in case for some reason I can't use the last 1, 2, or 3 years!

DouglasR | 16. Juni 2013


What you are missing is that "Annual Service" is considered a "Service Plan" also. When someone asks, "Is a service plan necessary?" telling him "there is no need to buy a service plan" means there is no need to have annual service.

DouglasR | 16. Juni 2013
J.T. | 16. Juni 2013


Elon said that there is no need for annual service for warranty to be in force.

J.T. | 16. Juni 2013

Here's the thing.

If I don't take the 4 year service plan and I go in for service they're going to take care of my car just as professionally as they take care of your car but they're going to charge me $600.00.

Now, since I am not going to be putting 12,500 miles on my car in a year, not even close, I plan on taking my car in for the annual service every 16 months, saving me $100.00 over the prepaid 4 year plan.

What do you think I'm missing now?

Tâm | 16. Juni 2013


Your choice works perfectly for you.

However, a short distance of towing can cost hundreds of dollars.

When a fuse is blown, Tesla could drive up to your home to hand you a new fuse.

Just two simple examples above are worth the pre-pay cost and peace of mind.

bradslee | 16. Juni 2013

Elon said in the TM annual shareholder meeting that TM does not make money in service. It is true that if MS owner does not purchase any service plan, it would not affect your MS battery warranty. However, as many pointed out and the issue has been previously discussed, if you do not buy any per-paid service plan, you are risking not to have warranty (except the battery) on your MS. TM recommends doing the annual or 12,500 mile service. Even if you do not drive more than 12,500 miles per year, the annual service would still be good for your MS.

It is not clear if MS owner does the service every 16 or 18 months instead of 12 months, the warranty (except the battery) on the car would still be valid.

Tâm | 16. Juni 2013

The simple answer is NO.

However it comes with an asterisk.

Is garage remote control necessary for my home? No, but I love the fact that I no longer have to get out of the car and manually pull up the garage door.

Is 85kwh battery necessary? No, but I bought it because it comes handy in road trips although statistically, average American commute is only 16 miles.

Is twin charger necessary? No, but I love the fact that I've been able to charge twice the speed of single chargers at San Diego Tesla Store (I'm in Los Angeles area).

Is Active Suspension necessary? No, but I love the fact that it lowers itself in high speed and I can raise it to prevent scraping.

Ok! Lots of things are not necessary, but it is up to you to decide.

AmpedRealtor | 16. Juni 2013

I was told by Tesla corporate that there is no service requirement in the warranty, therefore any annual service is at the owner's discretion and not required to maintain the vehicle warranty. All car warranties primarily cover defects in manufacturing or workmanship, so maintenance would have no bearing on this. What do they do at these regular services anyway? Rotate tires, replace your windshield wipers and run a system diagnostic? What else?

DouglasR | 16. Juni 2013

I'm arguing against those who say there is no need to take the car in for service at all. It's not because of the warranty. Your car is warranted for four years or 50,000 miles whether you take it in or not. And it is also not for the reasons @Tam stated. When you take it in for your $600 service, you will get the needed replacement parts. All of the other items on his list (roadside assistance, remote diagnostics, system monitoring) do not require a service plan, except that Ranger service will cost $100 a pop.

But TM recommends that the car be inspected and serviced every 12 months or 12,500 miles, whichever comes first. Maybe you know more than the TM engineers, but I think it makes sense to follow their recommendation. It is new technology and an expensive investment. Things can and do go wrong. TM has service bulletins and maintenance issues that come up all the time, and it is simply prudent to stay ahead of these. The warranty is not "no fault." If a problem arises that could have been avoided with an annual inspection, TM has a right to refuse coverage for that problem. More important is simply having the car work the way it was intended to work. Sure, you can save $100 dollars by cutting corners, but in my view, that is a false economy.

bradslee | 16. Juni 2013

+1 DouglasR

Tâm | 16. Juni 2013


There are voluntary "corrections", not mandatory recalls:

DouglasR | 16. Juni 2013

I'd like to clarify a couple of points.

First, the prepaid plans vs. the post paid plans.

@jtodtman is quite right about this: there is no difference between prepaid plans and post paid plans except in the way you pay. The question of annual vs. four years vs. eight years is a matter of whether you want to pay a fixed amount today, or take the chance that by paying in the future, you can make better use of the money in the interim and that the price won't go up too much. However, you get exactly the same service. Regarding Ranger service, by prepaying you are betting that you will use the service at least five times ($500) over the next four years, or ten times over the next eight years. If you live close to a service center, you will probably have less occasion to use Ranger service. But it is always available for $100 per incident.

Second, the warranty.

True, Elon has said that failure to have annual service will not void the warranty. As a legal matter, however, that was true even before Elon said it. The warranty never stated that it would be void if you failed to purchase annual maintenance and inspection. Even if it had stated that, such a warranty condition would be difficult to enforce. What the warranty does say, however, is that it may not cover problems that could have been avoided by an inspection and maintenance service. And Elon's statement did not modify that provision. Note that we are not talking about the entire warranty becoming void, but just whether a particular repair or replacement will be covered. Moreover, your negligence in failing to have the car serviced must be directly related to the problem your are having or the part that is giving you trouble in order for TM to invoke this coverage exclusion. But make no mistake: if your rear axle falls off because the bolts were loose, and if you skipped the annual maintenance where those bolts would have been checked, you may end up paying for the repair out of your own pocket.

jjaeger | 16. Juni 2013


JZ13 | 16. Juni 2013

DoublasR, I beg to disagree. In your example of the bolts coming loose and the axle falls off that would be covered under warranty. Tightening bolts should not be a service issue. Bolts are designed to stay tight so that the axle will not fall off.

I'm still looking for a reason to fork over $2,400 when the warranty will cover any problems I have on the car. Someone above mentioned a tow cost. Not an issue when the free Tesla service will come and tow my car for free and bring me a loaner.

Bamboo8 | 16. Juni 2013

Here is the conclusion to this issue: This is directly from the service dept: "Good evening, the service plan will not affect your warranty at all. The only advantage to pre-paying for your service is the discount per service". So there you have it folks...

jjaeger | 16. Juni 2013

Exactly - pre-paying the service. Not eliminating the service. Not that complicated actually.

DouglasR | 17. Juni 2013

@JZ13 - Read your warranty. It says, "This New Vehicle Limited Warranty does not cover any vehicle damage or malfunction directly or indirectly caused by, due to or resulting from . . . lack of or improper maintenance." Also: "You may void this New Vehicle Limited Warranty if you do not follow the specific instructions and recommendations regarding the use, operation, and maintenance of the vehicle provided in your Model S owner documentation, including, but not limited to:
. . .
• Observing scheduled inspections and making all services and repairs;
• Performing all vehicle maintenance and service requirements,
including those indicated by the vehicle’s systems"

Let's assume TM distributes a service bulletin to all service centers stating that certain bolts had not been properly tightened at the factory, and that this affects a small number of cars. All cars should be checked when they are brought in for service at their next regularly scheduled maintenance. You fail to bring your car in for three years, and consequently experience the problem covered in the bulletin, resulting in extensive damage when the part fails. Under the terms of the warranty, TM would be within its rights to deny coverage. Whether they would actually do so is another question.

gasnomo | 17. Juni 2013

I'm quite shocked at the lack of understanding on this board. A 'warranty' does not mean that everything is covered. For example, brakes are not covered under the standard Tesla warranty. If you get the service plan, it is. Windshield wipers, not covered by the warranty, it is under the service plan. now those are just two examples.

Now its true that if you do not get an annual inspection (covered under the service plan), it doesn't void your warranty, but that doesn't mean everything is covered. I mean this is not different than any other car. Go back owners, and either read or download the 4/50k warranty language, you will see what is and what is not covered. Its really quite simple.

So by pre-paying service, you save some money, that's the advantage over not pre-paying. If you need brakes, or replacement parts not covered by the warranty, then you pay up, if you have the service plan, you don't.

There is no right or wrong answer, its whatever the owner wants to do for his/her own situation.

gasnomo | 17. Juni 2013

Remember everyone "service" does not equal "warranty". Every car, ICE or electric requires tires to be balanced and rotated periodically. Every car, ICE or electric requires periodic maintenance. Some of that maintenance is covered by a warranty, some is not. You choose to either 1) pre pay, 2) post-pay, 3) pay ad hoc on as needed basis...

J.T. | 17. Juni 2013


We're going to go back and forth about this for a while, I think.

Let me try this, I can pay for the service plan one service visit at a time and get the same coverage that you would get by paying for 4 service visits ahead of time.

You save $500.00 by paying for 4 at once. I will save $600.00 if i choose to only pay for 3 services (one at atime) in 4 years.

Does that clear it up?

Bamboo8 | 17. Juni 2013

This horse

gasnomo | 17. Juni 2013


what you don't seem to grasp is that by paying the $600 per visit you ARE PAYING FOR THE SERVICE PLAN. So you contradict yourself when you say one don't need the service plan. What you are arguing is that one doesn't require the PRE-PAID service plan. Does THAT clear it up. Really not that confusing.

Again, WARRANTY does not equal SERVICE.

J.T. | 17. Juni 2013

Paying one service at a time is not buying a plan. No need to buy a plan when you can just buy a service.

We can do this all day.

gasnomo | 17. Juni 2013

Actually jtodtman, yes, it is, and its made ridiculously clear that the $600 one-time is a service plan option...simply goto:

and note the options under "Service Plans"

1) Annual
2) 4 Year
3) 4 Year + Extension
4) 4 Year Anywhere
4) 4 Year Anywhere + Extension

J.T. | 17. Juni 2013

It's not its

merijn | 17. Juni 2013

IMO you can do three things:

1) No regular maintenance; just wait till something breaks and call the service centre to replace/repair it.
2) Ad hoc regular maintenance; choose your own interval (e.g. 17.000 miles or 14 months), go to the service centre and pay for x hours and x materials.
3) Buy a service plan for 1, 4 or 8 years and all the maintenance and repairs (except tires) are included.

The last one is certainly the most convenient. Which one will be the least expensive is difficult to predict at the moment.

DouglasR | 17. Juni 2013

@cfriedberg -

You are correct, the warranty does not equal service. In fact, the language of the warranty expressly excludes coverage for:

"Maintenance services, including, but not limited to, the following:
· Standard 12 month or 12,500 mile service and diagnostics checks;
· Wheel alignment or balancing;
· Appearance care (such as cleaning and polishing); and
· Expendable maintenance items (such as wiper blades/inserts,
brake pads/linings, filters, etc.)."

However, failure to service and maintain your car can result in excluding warranty coverage for problems that the service would have addressed. Likewise, service includes an inspection. If you have a problem that an inspection would have detected, and a subsequent repair would have corrected, you may not be covered for any resulting damage. So there is definitely a connection between service and your warranty.

Winnie796 | 17. Juni 2013

I think not having the service plan or not having the vehicle serviced will affect the resale value. That's a good enough reason for me.

gasnomo | 18. Juni 2013

What is your point Douglas. Other than a) correctly pointing out that service and warranty are two different things b) incorrectly pointing out that not getting service could lead to warranty being voided (or so you imply, this has been specifically changed), c) that everyone should get service.

David Trushin | 18. Juni 2013

I can't believe you two are still arguing this point. If cfriedberg wants to run the car into the ground, that's cfriedberg's choice. I think most people who care for the equipment they own will chose to do regular maintenance.

DouglasR | 18. Juni 2013

@cfriedberg - Yes, I was agreeing with you that service and warranty are two different things.

However, you are wrong if you think that not getting service has no affect on your warranty coverage. Surely you don't think Elon's announcement to the press has modified your rights pursuant to an express, written warranty, do you? I would hate to defend that position in court. No, the language of the warranty, and hence its legal import, has not been changed.

When Elon announced that failing to get service would not void the warranty, he was not changing anything. That is because the warranty has never provided that failure to get service SHALL void the warranty. It provides that failure to service the car MAY void the warranty, or more precisely, may affect coverage under the warranty. This statement ties in with other language that excludes coverage for defects that are not reported and brought in for correction, as well as language that requires you to have an inspection. My point is that this was the case before Elon made his announcement, and nothing in his announcement has changed that. George Blankenship had previously made some statements implying that the warranty would automatically be void if you failed to obtain regular service, but he was simply wrong in his reading of the document (and his interpretation would probably have been unenforceable in any event).

The warranty will cover defects in materials or workmanship of any parts that are manufactured or supplied by Tesla. But it will also exclude or limit coverage under certain circumstances. This exclusion is not, and never has been, automatic. TM would have to show that your negligent failure to have the car inspected and serviced directly led to the problem for which you are claiming coverage. And even though TM CAN exclude coverage under these circumstances, this doesn't necessarily mean that they will do so. TM may decide to provide coverage simply to protect its reputation, even in instances where it is not legally obligated to do so.

Your last question: should everyone get service? I can't answer that. It depends on your tolerance for risk, your confidence in your own ability to spot and repair problems, your belief that TM would never let you down, the value to you of $600, etc. Certainly, some low-mileage drivers may reasonably choose to take their car in for service a little less frequently than once a year. To me, I'm happy to pay a few extra dollars not to have to think about it. But I think it is bad advice to tell people that they never need to bring their car in for inspection or service based solely on the argument that, whatever happens, the warranty has them covered.

gasnomo | 19. Juni 2013

Douglas. Where exactly did I say everyone should get service??? Context is an important thing. Read my response in its entirety. Thanks.

DouglasR | 19. Juni 2013

cfriedberg, you asked me whether I thought everyone should get service. I was responding to your question.

"What is your point Douglas. Other than . . . c) that everyone should get service.(?)"

David Trushin | 19. Juni 2013

cfriedberg, it's your turn at bat.

gasnomo | 20. Juni 2013

Where does the statement, 'every car requires service' = 'run the car into the ground'?

The question that was asked was "Is the service plan necessary", the answer is very clearly NO. However:
1. As Douglas incorrectly points out, Tesla has come back to restate the warranty, changing the language to say that NOT getting service from Tesla DOES NOT void the warranty. Douglas, by all means call Tesla Ownership, they can direct you to this new language, clearly you have not downloaded the new warranty. (however this is not true for the financing, as for them to buyback the car servicing is required)
2. While the service is not required, (caveat above) the warranty does NOT cover everything in the service agreement. So someone who says, "service is not required bc warranty covers everything' is factually incorrect.
3. If you chose to get service - again, buyers choice, not a requirement (caveat above for financing through Tesla) - there are 4 options, three of which pre-pay and thus provide a small discount to no pre-paying.

That's all there is to it. Not so difficult.

gasnomo | 20. Juni 2013

And Douglas, you clearly won't take my word for it (rightly so, you should check for yourself) but its quite plainly written here:’s-best-service-and-warranty-program-0

"Annual Service Contract

Unlike gasoline cars, an electric car doesn’t need oil changes, fuel filters, spark plugs, smog checks, etc., which are only needed if the mode of locomotion involves burning oil derived products. For an electric car, you don’t even need to replace the brake pads, because most of the braking energy is regeneratively captured by the motor and returned to the battery.

As such, we are comfortable making the annual checkup entirely optional. There is still value to having Tesla look at the car once a year for things like tire alignment, to address a few things here & there and perform any hardware upgrades – our goal is not just to fix things, but to make the car better than it was. However, even if you never bring in the car, your warranty is still valid."

Or feel free again to call of Tesla Ownership and have them email you copy of the new warranty

David Trushin | 20. Juni 2013

Please leave me out of this. I'm just trying to referee here. Eventually you two will get tired of this pointless argument. So it's DouglaR's turn.

gasnomo | 20. Juni 2013

Your last comment, and need to comment and referee, keeps you in it, silence keeps you out of it, as does not suggesting I implied that i was going to run my car into the ground.

David Trushin | 20. Juni 2013

Sorry, but you batted out of turn. You're disqualified.

gasnomo | 20. Juni 2013

methinks not Mr I Don't Want To Be Involved...facts are facts. Don't want to be involved, don't post. Want to be involved, keep posting.

DouglasR | 20. Juni 2013

Well, I am embarrassed to say that TM DID change the language, and you are correct, cfriedberg, I had not downloaded the newer version. Technically, the version that was in effect at the time I purchased my car is the one that still applies to me, although I doubt TM would insist on that. However, they should have expressly notified me that a new version was available. Nevertheless, I apologize for my oversight.

The language changes are interesting. I contend that even under the old version, TM could not have automatically voided the warranty simply because I did not bring my car in for inspection and service. That was something George Blankenship said, but it was not part of the language of the warranty. The warranty did provide, however, that coverage could be excluded for problems that resulted from negligently failing to inspect, maintain, and repair the car.

While the new version still excludes vehicle damage or malfunction caused by negligence or improper maintenance, it no longer lists "lack of maintenance" among the exclusions. It no longer states that the owner is responsible for regular maintenance, nor does it still state that the owner may void the warranty by failing to follow TM's recommendations regarding maintenance and scheduled inspections. So I was wrong; the warranty has definitely changed.

But the warranty does still list among its exclusions, "failure to take the vehicle to a Tesla Service Center or Tesla authorized repair facility upon discovery of a defect covered by this New Vehicle Limited Warranty." As noted above, it excludes coverage for damage or malfunction caused by negligence or improper maintenance. And it still states that the owner may void the warranty by failing to make all repairs.

So where does this leave an owner who goes several years without an inspection, and then finds a problem made much worse by failing to correct a defect that would have been caught in an inspection. Under the new warranty, the owner can argue that he did not discover the defect, and did not have it repaired, because it was not manifest. And under the new warranty, he would certainly be better off if the problem resulted from such a hidden defect. But what if a person exercising reasonable care would have found the problem, and could have had it corrected? I think in that case, warranty coverage could still be limited or excluded.

The changes in the document relate mostly to "maintenance" items, which in this context means wiper blades, brake pads, filters, wheel alignment, etc. I now agree that failure to perform regular maintenance will not affect warranty coverage. But other potential problems are not so clear. For example, what if my motor starts making an odd sound, and I let it go for a couple of years because I am not required to perform regular maintenance? If the motor burns out completely, but could easily have been repaired had it been taken care of earlier, is TM obligated under the warranty to replace it? What if I didn't hear the sound because my hearing is not so good? These are the kind of questions that end up getting resolved in court or through arbitration. I would really prefer to avoid that. Notwithstanding the change in the warranty, I'm still taking my car in for its regular checkup.

DouglasR | 20. Juni 2013

David, you are not doing your job. If you are going to call balls and strikes, you need to put on one of those chest protectors.