Model S: ANY fluids?

Model S: ANY fluids?

As I'm helping my son with his Volvo because his radiator reservoir is leaking, and while I was driving my younger son to school this morning with the heater on, it got me thinking again... what fluids (if any) are in the Model S? Is there power steering fluid? Brake fluid? The batteries are liquid cooled correct, is that something that the car owner must maintain/watch? Probably there is at least windshield washer fluid, yes?

Is the car heater fully electric? Tesla tweeted a picture of a Model S in Canada with the windshield defrosted; does the car / can the car maintain internal temperature even if parked?

Finally, does Tesla provide any smart phone apps that allow owners to interact with their car remotely? I've seen some discussion around phone apps letting owners know / monitor car charging; anything official from Tesla Motors provided to owners?

jbunn | November 29, 2012


Battery cooling and radiator are there. Brake fluid. Windshield washer fluid. I think the steering is electric power rack and pinion - no hydraulics, Aircon "freon", and gear box lubricant.

Probably most of the joints and moving parts are sealed lubrication, so not much maintenance.

Car heater is electric. No interior heater core to recirculate engine coolant. Heck, no engine heat to recapture at all...

Car can maintain internal temp, or preheat on demand remotley. Smart phone app will be available, but is not released yet.

Stuff you don't have to mess with - Tranny fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid, air and vacum lines, fluid lines, oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, gas tank, gas pump, fuel filters, fuel injectors, ect, ect, ect.

Pretty cool technology.

Brian H | November 29, 2012

it's "etc." And it's "hot" technology. Jeez, I learn ya and I learn ya, but ya never learns.


Timo | November 30, 2012

Someone just recently wrote that Model S uses drivetrain heat to heat cabin air, so that is not purely electric. Motor, battery and PEM do get heated when used, just a lot less than ICE. OTOH 20kW required to move with ~90% efficiency is still 2kW of heat, which more than enough to heat up cabin very fast. In ICE cars you use only teeny weeny fraction of the engine heat to heat cabin air. If you used it all you would literally cook the passengers.

IIRC there are actually three different systems that require radiator(s): battery, motor/PEM and cabin AC, each probably have their own radiator fluids.

MikAo | November 30, 2012

And loads of saliva.

Timo | November 30, 2012

Cool, hot, heavy. Back to the future the cool word was heavy. Or is it hot word? Mask used "smoking".

I think "cool" is appropriate word for Tesla electric drivetrain. Smoking tech is what Fisker is using, and hot would be what Ferrari is using. Right? Right?

Nexxus | November 30, 2012


I think Fisker is using both "hot" and "smokin'".

Ceilidh | November 30, 2012

To very directly answer the original question:

The only fluid that a Model S driver maintains is the windshield washer fluid. Nothing else. In fact, I believe I read that if you attempt to top off anything else it voids your warranty. Tesla also hid the access to all the other fluids so that you are not even tempted to think abou them. When you open the frunk, the only fluid reservoir opening to see is for the windshield washer fluid.

SO, once you get your car, sit back and relax knowing that you never have to think about all those other fluids again so long as you take in the car and/or have a ranger check it out at the proper intervals.

Far less maintenance and things to worry about than an ICE car.


Velo1 | November 30, 2012

Just a fun comment: after owning one, using Volvo and radiator leak in the same sentence is redundant.

grey555303 | December 1, 2013

I bought fluids at the cartparkings, i was satisfied with quality

carlk | December 1, 2013

Blood flows faster when sitting behind the steering wheel.

jcaspar1 | December 1, 2013

About the same as an ICE, just no oil or power steering fluid. Still has brake fluid, washer fluid, coolant and apparently transmission fluid. They just cover it up
Coolant only needs replacing every 4 years and transmission fluid every 12 per Tesla Model S Annual Service document.

carlk | December 1, 2013

Why transmission fluid? Is there a transmission?

jkn | December 1, 2013

Usually differential has some oil.

Captain_Zap | December 1, 2013

@carlk -No transmission....

lolachampcar | December 1, 2013

just a spur reduction gear between the motor and the differential.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 1, 2013

The differential does have transmission fluid that must be changed in a schedule. The battery coolant system requires regular changing of its 27 "units" of ethylene glycol fluid.