"Car guys" - do you wrench on your own car(s)?

"Car guys" - do you wrench on your own car(s)?

While I wait patiently for my MS to arrive, been cleaning the garage and I had to move my almost 20 year old tool chest to accommodate the HPWC install. Tool chest has a myriad collection of your standard wrenches and drivers with a few odds and ends specialty tools for my bimmers/rovers of past.

Then it got me thinking... I wonder how many Tesla owners wrench (or used to) on your own car(s)? Or is an MS simply a high-tech appliance that takes your commute to a different level? If you are/were, do you miss it? Since the Tesla pretty much has a big dynamo for a motor, and I guess you need an electrical degree to even troubleshoot an issue, does it bother you at all that every little thing that may come up wrong, you have to run to the service center?

I've always done my own oil changes, brakes, and basic general maintenance and I think it's going to be odd with the MS not needing much tinkering from a shade tree mechanic wannabe. I've always found it therapeutic to tinker on anything mechanical so this is a big change for me. I do still have a couple of ICE vehicles (don't stone me LOL), but they'll be relegated to Sunday drivers (I think).

Mark E | September 2, 2016

Not much to do on a new EV that's under warranty

torst1 | September 2, 2016

When I was younger and could only afford old cars I did everything myself, not because I enjoyed it so much but from need. I didn't have the cash to go to a service center.

When I finally could afford better cars I discovered that one of the most important things to keep the value high was the service booklet stamped and signed by your brands mechanics. If an oil change was not put in the booklet it did not happen. Or at least so people thought.

From that day about 15 years ago I stopped working on my main car, not even changing oil, filters and stuff like that. To get a good price when selling things had to be documented, signed and stamped. So what used to be handywork turned into an office job, keeping track of invoices, make sure the bills was presented with correct data such as date, everything changed, checked, adjusted or tuned.

I got to say that the extra paper work has served me well. When the time is ripe for selling I always make a quick sale for decent money. And I got more time to spend on whatever project car is in the making. Old 4 x 4's, classic VW, Chevy's and what not.

For a daily driver I must say I don't miss the manual labor at all, because often tedious tasks comes when the schedule is already packed.

PhillyGal | September 2, 2016

@torst1 +1

I'd have done a few things myself in my earliest years of driving (oooh that bucket of parts when my dad helped with a timing belt...) but not since I got my first new car.

gguinto | September 2, 2016

Cool, I tend to keep my cars longer after they've been paid off. First brand new car (truck) that I bought is still in my drive way 21 years later and still chugging along. I guess that's my problem - I tend not to sell them once paid off. LOL

Yes, the service booklet is important and mine are, for the most part, stamped when they were still under some kind of warranty. My 21 year old truck with over 200k miles is way past any warranty.

barrykmd | September 2, 2016

I did some of my own work when cars still had room under the hood in the pre-emissions days. For example, replaced water pump in a Buick Skylark. Helped friend replace transmission in a Datsun B210.

In the MS, I've replaced lights with Abstract Ocean modules. that's about it. I view the MS as a non-user serviceable appliance.

lolachampcar | September 2, 2016

Lowering links. Worked with the alignment guy in the pit to get a handle on a good setting (compromise between stability and range on the TWD cars). Air springs for coil swap (P+) but otherwise the cars have needed nothing from me. I also rotate the tires as it is just more convenient to do it myself.

The propulsion side of the cars needs Tesla's diag tools but then that can be said of just about any modern car. Try refreshing a trans controller in a BMW; Tesla's tools are much more friendly. The rest of the car is stupid simple basic modern car stuff. Super simple to work on.

lolachampcar | September 2, 2016

darn auto correct

Made in CA | September 2, 2016

I check the air in my tires. Does that count?

JAD | September 2, 2016

I used to work on my cars a lot, but newer cars need the computer for diagnostics of many things. Still change oil on the Porsche, and do basic brakes etc (more at the track when it breaks... ), but the days of adjusting, tinkering and working on modern cars is gone, especially on an EV. I rotate the tires and that is about it. Also installed an after market lighting kit that needed a couple tools. | September 2, 2016

I've never had a need to work on the Tesla for maintenance (still under warranty). I've done a lot of DIY projects on the car from adding parking sensors (early cars didn't have them), improving the audio system to a DashCam. I document each project and explain how to do each project in the Model S at Might satisfy your need to work on the car!

lilbean | September 2, 2016

I wash and detail the car and inflate my own tires to the proper pressure. :)

NKYTA | September 2, 2016

I seem to be competent enough to refill the windshield washer fluid, not crease my Frunk, and add air to the tires.

gguinto | September 2, 2016

LOL @Made in CA and @lilbean

@JAD, just as I suspect. It's seeing my tools that made me ponder on this thought.

As a car enthusiast myself, growing up with posters of Italian V12's, teutonic German cruisers and sophisticated British machines, I'm very excited on the Tesla and what it represents, and I was just wondering if there are many of us that have a fond appreciation for anything mechanical in this forum who also embrace the promise of EVs. Is the joy of rowing your own gears a thing of the past?

@TT - your website is one of the first things I stumbled upon before deciding to make that leap of faith into EV's. LOL

JAD | September 2, 2016

@gguinto, as a car guy, it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable on big trips. I use to check the oil level, coolant, belts, check for leaks, fill the gas tank and spend an hour getting the car ready. Now I up the charge level and double check tire pressure on the screen. Doesn't feel like I am doing enough, too easy :)

rays427 | September 2, 2016

I still own my first two cars (purchased in 1962 and 1968) and I do most of the work on them. This has included rebuilding or replacing all the running gear on both of them and painting one twice. I drag raced both cars and dumping the clutch between 3- 7,000 rpm tends to be tough on cars. The newer cars don't need much work other than routine maintenance which I do. The only additional work on my newer cars is I replaced a water pump on my 07z06 Corvette and an alternator and brakes on my 98 Expedition. I also changed the plugs on the Expedition at 113,000 miles which didn't cost much but took about 5 hours versus 15 minutes on my old cars.

lolachampcar | September 2, 2016

I can not even find the clutch on my P85DL to dump it. I guess Tesla dumped it for me :)

kawdennis | September 2, 2016

I'am now 72 years old, all my life The only time I had anyone touch my cars was for a smog testing, I'am not a professional but I always rebuilt motors, brakes, ect. The only thing I've ever done to my P85 was to take it to the Drag strip back in Aug 2013 and change the rear tires with 20 inch Cheater Slicks, with the Stock Tires as I remember I ran about 12.7 with the cheater slicks I thing my best Time was 12.4 maybe 12.3. I only took it to the strip 4-5 times, About a month later When Tesla of Rocklin rotated my tires the was a comment on the paper work saying lots of burnt rubber in the rear wheel wells, the only other thing I've done was install a Dashcam, My Tesla is my baby and I will only let the Pros at Tesla touch it

lilbean | September 6, 2016

I fixed my windshield chip :-).

carlk | September 6, 2016

The only thing I do with my Teslas is wash them every week. This car guy is now the car wash guy.

renwo S alset | September 6, 2016

Of course I wretch. Every time something breaks, I spray it with WD40. 3 years and never taken it in for a problem, so it must work.

cephellow | September 6, 2016

If it has wheels, I can fix it. It is a curse.

Problem was not having a reason to get rid of a car, always could fix them. Had a 90 Miata go 440k miles-until it became worth less than a proper repair would cost.
I let 'lube' places do oil changes, but I absolutely had to keep an eye on them.
Whenever 'pros' worked on my cars, I would always find missing bolts, backwards brackets, hose clamps etc., they destroyed an engine once. Eventually, I became the only 'mechanic' that I could trust.

My P85D is the first new car I bought.

My only problem with the Tesla is that I have to let the Tesla service people work on the car out-of-sight and it makes me feel really uneasy.

I definitely don't miss getting greasy, slithering under a car, or just wrenching. I've had the car for 50k miles and the only work I've done is adding washer fluid, and installed a trailer hitch. It is Weird. Good Weird.

lolachampcar | September 7, 2016

P85D was your first new car? I love it. If you are going to take the leap, do it right!!!

kaffine | September 7, 2016

First thing I did after I bought a house was to order a lift for the garage so I can work on my own cars. I even change my own tires. The only thing I don't do is body work and alignments. I have considered getting an alignment machine so I can do that as well. I have service manuals for all my cars and scan tool for most of them as well. I wonder how long it will be before someone comes out with an aftermarket diagnostic tools.

I was a car mechanic for 2 years and a heavy truck mechanic for 2 year before changing to electronics. | September 7, 2016

In 20 months I have rotated the tires myself once (had to buy hockey pucks, torque wrench).

jordanrichard | September 7, 2016

gguinto, I too graduated from Busted Knuckle Garage University. I have done valves adjustments on my '83 911, replaced braked calipers, shocks, wheel bearings on Mercedes, so on and so forth.

I have had my MS for 2 1/2 years and have done absolutely nothing to it except vacuum the interior and wash/wax it. I haven't even added wiper fluid. The service center tops it off for me.

brian | September 8, 2016

I removed a rock stuck in the caliper of my model S, which necessitated removing the rotor . The brakes/rotors are no different than any other car, so I would probably do my own brakes if they ever wear out.

lolachampcar | September 8, 2016

I just did a water pump and thermostat on my father in laws POS Jag XKR. Boy I love my Tesla.

Haggy | September 8, 2016

So far, my car is under warranty. I would think as a progressive car company, Tesla would make the service manuals available on line instead of making me buy hard copy. When Infiniti was new, the service manual came with the car for free in a hard case. But Tesla is doing the opposite. They go out of their way to keep customers from learning how to fix their own cars.

If I have a door handle go out after the warranty expires, I can probably find one on eBay, or I could pay Tesla $1000. Simple things like knowing where the anchors are would be helpful. It's probably not too hard to figure out on my own, but that's not really the point. Even something like changing the 12V battery on mine will be an ordeal.

Maybe as time goes by, people will put up YouTube videos of these sorts of things. For now, Tesla makes it a real pain. It is one of the things I considered before buying the car, and I expect they will lose sales over it. Once they no longer have a backlog they should really care about these things.

ST70 | September 8, 2016

P85D was my second new last one which I still have is a 1997 Dodge I still get to wrench on that...I've done all the work on the truck the last almost 20 yrs....Tesla is spoiling me....and I don't like to wrench that much anymore :-(

NOT AN ICE | September 8, 2016

Answer - No... I make my kids change the summer/winter tires and fill the windsheild washer fluid, there is nothing else to do :)

dborn | September 8, 2016

Well, I did replace all the dash trims and up grade my headlights. Have installed a light bar for someone else, so, I guess I can say I have used a wrench or two on the car. Oh, also replaced all the interior lights with Abstract Oceans ones, under the seats and the drivers footwell ones were a real bitch, and logo puddle lights - not worth it since the logo bleaches out - cheap dye used in China!! Made my own parcel shelf lift....
But yeah, not a lot to do on the car. Mind you, I will be giving her a nose job later this year since I want to keep up and have no plans to replace as I am perfectly happy with my plain 85 real wheel drive.

mrporter6 | September 8, 2016

I have worked on all my cars for the past 50'years and the best tool in the tool box is a shop manual. Does anyone know of a Tesla model S shop isn't that I plan to turn wrenches on the tesla. I just like to know how things work.i really want to understand how all the parts go together

renwo S alset | September 8, 2016

I try not to wretch on my car.