Annual Maintenance Costs

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

Timo | August 16, 2012

@Electric Machete;

They are telling you up front what the annual costs of maintenance will be.

Are they? Where? I haven't seen anything definite in options and pricing or in design studio.

If there is "fixed annual maintenance fee" any you are not told about it, it is betrayal and dishonesty. If Roadster would not have that nobody would even ask about it and it would come as surprise to all of us. Now that we know about this we can guestimate that there might be such a extra hidden cost in Model S as well, but that's all we can do until Tesla tells us if there is and how much it will be.

That's the aggravating part, not the sum itself.

Robert22 | August 16, 2012

I asked if this was definite and had been made public. I was told that it was official but a formal announcement had not yet been made. I mentioned that I would be posting that information here and there was no objection from my configuration specialist, who I might add has been diligent in obtaining answers to many of my questions that have been posited around this forum in recent months: The seat memory, etc, functions are not stored in the key fob but on the touchscreen. Individual tire pressure readouts will be available. The cargo shelf will be made of stiff leather, or a leather coated marerial?, which is foldable into sections. The center console option will be an additional cost accessory as has been mentioned and should be available "soon". I would like the car to be as "done" as possible prior to delivery given the current lack of a nearby service center, so factory installation of the visor lights, cargo shelf, CCI, etc. is highly preferred. I was told I had a pretty good shot at my car arriving in November with these items.

Oh....and for those springing for the paint armor. Although Tesla will not install film over the entire hood, aftermarket patterns will be available that include the full hood template. One can elect to omit the partial hood film and go with an aftermarket solution if so desired. Forgot to ask if that would reduce the price but I doubt it.

toto_48313 | August 17, 2012

It may be nice if Tesla charge the new car 4000$ more as a warranty/maintenance fee which will keep the warranty active for 8 year and included services. This will end to 500 $ per year for services, but will be included, so no one will matter.
From day 1 we will buy an "all included" car with no hidden cost compare to any ICE car which have many hidden cost over the years.
It looks like the 600$ maintenance fee, is more an "extended warranty fee" to me as the maintenance should be minimal.

on the other side, depending of how long servicing the car is, could be a reasonnable price if the mechanics work a full day on your car and replace parts for free. How it is for roadster?

It seems that many informations are missing at that time to evaluate if it's too much or not.

Brian H | August 17, 2012

Yes, the "included" approach is a good idea. It puts more of an up-front "price barrier" there, so would have to be excused/sold on the basis of the "included" service (I'm also one of those who despises the use of the word "free", so beloved of marketers and hucksters).

Or, believe it or not, TM could even offer it as a choice; prepaid included service, or pay-as-you-go. That would be the totally transparent way to go.

pilotSteve | August 17, 2012

@BrianH +1 "Or, believe it or not, TM could even offer it as a choice; prepaid included service, or pay-as-you-go. That would be the totally transparent way to go."

We are all big kids (at least those of us with drivers licenses) here. I plan on pre-paying for the maintenance and taking the discount. That way "service is included" in my price :)

SMOP | August 17, 2012

Tesla has special tools that only allows them to maintain these vehicles (i.e. ability to reset the Service light & Battery leak check). There is not a single independent Tesla shop in the universe. There has to be a law against monopoly of service, no?

murraypetera | August 17, 2012

BMW can offer 4 years free service because they build a quality product that does not break down and requires little service during this time period. When purchasing a BMW you are already paying a premium based off the reputation of the brand. It is also a very good way to get the owners into the store and build a positive relationship. They can also ensure that the cars will have proper maintenance the first few years which helps BMW keep a reputation of a quality manufacturer.

I believe Tesla is also building a quality product which due to the lack of moving parts is a far simpler piece of equipment. They too should be able to offer 4 years no maintenance as part of the initial cost of the car.

They are building a new brand name from the ground up. What they do with the model s and how they execute the support of this new brand is very very critical. We early adapters feedback to family and friends will be critical to building the reputation of the brand.

In my eyes they already made a huge mistake by not compensating early depositors P and Sig in any way (at least publicly thus far). I was a Sig holder and downgraded do to the premium price and the take it or leave it audited of Tesla. It would have been nice if they were show some level of appreciation to people who plunked down $40k for 2 years or more. For many of us this is a substatial amount of money.

jbunn | August 17, 2012

I do all of my own work, so I'm not that worried. And basicaly, we're talking about standard stuff. Checking parts wear like brakes, fluid levels, ect. Regardign your warranty, yeah, it's still intact (unless you screw it up). There are many stories of people putting oil in the radiator or the reverse. So, I guess if you put windshield washer fluid in your battery coolant resevour, you're gonna be SOL if your battery dies.

TINO F | August 17, 2012

I think if you break it down and charge $100 per hour for a service, you will have to justify what you did for 6 HOURS on a TESLA that doesn't have a fraction of the stuff that an ICE has and needs for service. Have we ever thought......perhaps seeing actual cars, driven by actual consumers, in actual daily use, may determine a little of what might be required. I really think we will have to stay tuned for actual use patterns. I know that I am not paying to have the antenna sharpened or the muffler bearing re-packed. Kidding of course.

Michael23 | August 17, 2012

Did I just read above that the key fob had no memory? That is very sad news! I'm 6’8 and my wife is 5’3 so I'd rather not have to get into the car with the settings different and requiring me to change them on the touch screen each time. Not to mention they don't have automatic raising and lowering of the steering wheel so I'll have a hard time getting in. The key fob should be much smarter than my 03 infinity.

petero | August 17, 2012

Nick K. If $600 annual service charges (hopefully less) is a problem, perhaps you shouldn’t get an “S.” I do not see many, new, BMW, MB, Audi, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Porsche, and Fiskers at Pep Boys, Sears, or Tony's having their computer systems and software updated and checking the transmission, etc. I am not trying to be mean spirited. Other than Tesla, who else is trained to repair and update Tesla’s software and systems? While $600 will seem like a lot of money in the first three years I will hazard a guess, the service and repair charges on German luxury cars will far exceed Tesla’s in years 4-10+.

Murraypetera. I use to work at a BMW dealership. New BMWs were always /often coming in for something to be adjusted. Our dealership had 6 reps that handled only the free loaner/rental cars! The free 36/36 is a powerful and much needed sales tool that is especially attractive to people that lease. BMW makes a quality car, that is a great drive, but... BMW drivers can be very forgiving when it costs them zero, no matter how many times they have to bring in the car. They sing a different song in the subsequent years.

brewdr | August 17, 2012

Saw it mentioned previously in this thread, and I was told the same thing today. $600 per year, or $1899 pre-paid for 4 years.

Peter Spirgel | August 18, 2012

I've completed my mvpa and there was no mention of this option. When does tesla give you the option of prepaying the service? At delivery? Later?

bsimoes | August 18, 2012

I guess it's just annoying that on one hand, Tesla is claiming that it is a maintenance-free car, but on the other, we are required to spend $600. Yes, I drive a Toyota Prius-Jerry, it sounds like you got a lemon, because I pay less than $100 a year and that is for two oil changes, etc. I'm not including seasonal tire swaps, because that will also be an added on fee to the Tesla.

It is also frustrating, because I believe Elon stated that by selling only 8,000 cars they would be "flush," so that makes me think that there is quite a profit margin on each car.
If they average 20,000 cars a year x $600, I think that comes out to 12 million dollars a year. I'm sorry, but that is some expensive software, because we all know that installing software is neither time-consuming or difficult. That just leaves the idea of licensing, etc., but $12 million???

Brian H | August 18, 2012

Duh. The key fob ID is identified with its owner in the car's own memory. Unless you use the wrong fob, you're fine.

You're paying for human hours, mostly. That includes the whole enchilada; Service Rangers aren't switched off and stacked in the corner unpaid when not in use.

pilotSteve | August 18, 2012

@murraypetra "BMW can offer 4 years free service because they build a quality product that does not break down and requires little service during this time period. When purchasing a BMW you are already paying a premium based off the reputation of the brand. It is also a very good way to get the owners into the store and build a positive relationship."

I currently own a BMW 5-series that is five years old. I made considerable use of the 3-year warranty on consumables (wipers, oil, fluids), software upgrades (many) and some unexpected items (battery replacement, engine valve recall, one bad tire, etc.) so feel strongly that it was a major selling point to me in choosing BMW. I'm disappointed that Tesla did not choose to include the same.

However I believe that BMW's "master plan" is to encourage owners to sell (or lease return) their cars after 3 years and buy new to avoid "scary" expensive out of warranty maintenance. (In the past two years I've replaced all four brakes, transmission pan leak, new tires, etc.) so those costs are real.

In my case tho the games changed with Model-S. As much as I like other brands, there is ONLY ONE TESLA and I'm up for playing the changed game. With a big grin, not letting the small stuff bother me. Time will tell if thats a good strategy, but for now its my plan!

Michael23 | August 18, 2012

Brianh, Robert 22 just said the seat memory was not stored in the key fob, but in the touch screen. Has this already been veriified as otherwise? Has anyone used it?

brianman | August 18, 2012

"because we all know that installing software is neither time-consuming or difficult."

Perhaps the younger generation "know"s this. Some of us older folk know that's not always been the case.

bfranks273 | August 18, 2012

One point I have not seen explored is the time for a maintenance visit. The Roadster seems to need three hours (and my next visit will be five because of some needed updates, no add'l charge). So part of that cost has to be all that time. What are they doing? Its not all in the manual for the DIY's. There certainly is some specialized, probably proprietary stuff. An ICE basic oil change and a 26 point check is an hour and less than 100 bucks. For the Tesla, is the brake fluid/coolant flush included when it is time for those or is that extra? ICE vehicles have the stepped 7.5K, 15K, 30K, 60K with different items and add'l cost. The Tesla model is flat.

So what do you think happens if the alarm goes off and you just skip the maint for another year, still checking fluid levels and such?

Sounds like the maintainability is not well integrated yet. They need to review and learn and feed it back into the design. For Gen III it seems to me that things need to be streamlined/automated so that its lower cost includes lower Maint costs also. Plenty of time to engineer that in.

pilotSteve | August 18, 2012

Do you think Tesla will offer a free loaner car while our cars are being serviced, like BMW, Lexus and other brand so?

I would take a roadster for the day..... or even a Gen III!

jerry3 | August 18, 2012

bsimoes, it sounds like you got a lemon

No, mine has been great, but I probably do more preventative maintenance than most people. Example: I change the transaxle fluid every 40,000 miles--this is based on laboratory analysis of mine and other Yahoo Prius group member's cars. I also replace things like water pumps every 100,000 miles or so. Also the set of tires that had half the tread worn off because of dealer alignment over six weeks didn't help the cost any.

The lemon was the VW TDI. Even though there were 36K miles of maintenance included it still cost 22 cents per mile for 95,000 miles not including tires. The Prius with no maintenance included is about 7 cents per miles over about 140,000 miles and that includes tires.

jerry3 | August 18, 2012

bsimoes because we all know that installing software is neither time-consuming or difficult,

Well no, but writing the software is time consuming and non-trivial. Programmers don't work for free.

bsimoes | August 19, 2012

"Well no, but writing the software is time consuming and non-trivial. Programmers don't work for free."

$12 million is hardly "free!"...and that's only with 20,000 cars!

Brian H | August 19, 2012

As I mentioned elsewhere, you have to pay the Rangers to be on standby, too, while they're not actually on the road. They need to be continuously retrained to keep up with new tech and new issues, also. They don't switch off and stack unpaid in the corner like cordwood when not in use!

pilotSteve | August 19, 2012

Wait.... the rangers are NOT robots? ;-)

Sudre_ | August 19, 2012

The Ranger costs are all part of the EXTRA you pay to have them come to you. The $600, as far as I know, is if you bring your car to a Tesla service center where they already have people maintaining Roadster. They won't have to higher any extras for two years I would guess, they will just have less workers stacked like cord wood and more working.

archibaldcrane | August 21, 2012

I asked a rep on the phone today, she said that pricing wasn't officially announced but that it will likely be $600/year, or you can buy 4 years in advance for roughly $450/year. She said forgoing the service does not void the warranty, as long as you do get any problems promptly serviced at an authorized Tesla repair shop. She said the on-board computer monitors fluid levels and the like, and that as long as you leave the "wifi on" the shop will be able to keep tabs on that stuff as well, even if you aren't paying the $600/year for the annual checkup. And last, she said that she knows that many Roadster drivers forgo their annual checkups without incident.

But don't quote her on that... ;)

SMOP | August 21, 2012


This may be true, but Tesla makes the Service Required tone and warning pop very annoying in the Roadster. For this reason alone many people get their service done.

Odd that a Tesla rep may be saying that maintenance is optional?

Teoatawki | August 21, 2012


Legally, I'm not sure they have a choice.

nickjhowe | August 26, 2012

Just got an email from Mr Blankenship, responding to my polite request for clarity from TM on maintenance costs.

He said that this topic will be addressed in an official Tesla Communication coming "soon". Be on the lookout!

Michael23 | August 31, 2012

After paying $2,500 today for my 60k service on my infiniti I'm ready for my 600 a year Tesla :) It was just 8k miles ago I payed $1,500 for my last service!

gg_got_a_tesla | August 31, 2012

@Michael23, you are royally getting ripped off by your Infiniti dealership/service center (I'm assuming you went to one such). At 60k, you can safely take the car to reputable third-party service shops that specialize in one brand or the other.

Sudre_ | August 31, 2012

I think a lot of people get ripped off since at ANY time in the US you can take your car to whomever you want for servicing and your warranty is still valid.

Michael23 | August 31, 2012

yeah it's not just the service, it's the broken parts and labor. Something is always wrong when I go: engine mounts, water tank, door lock. Something!

jerry3 | August 31, 2012


Sounds like the VW TDI I used to have. Something was always broken. It was the most disappointing car ever.

archibaldcrane | August 31, 2012

Yikes, I hope not, my fiancee has a 2011 VW TDI Sportwagen...

webpicasso | September 1, 2012

I was told the same re: $600 /year with option to pre-pay for four years and get fifth free.

I'm not too concerned with that kind of maintenance costs if I'm getting my money's worth. Does anyone have any idea what this will include? I've been told it includes a full bumper to bumper inspection and software updates.

Vawlkus | September 2, 2012

Picasso: well, there's te Roadster that went in for servicing and got a total frame rebuild for free because of an odd noise the tech heard while working on it, all covered by warantee. Will that do?

petero | September 2, 2012

Consider the big picture and stop looking at the hole in the doughnut. I agree $600 annually for servicing sounds expensive, especially since most luxury cars gice you 36/36 servicing for free.

Here is a portion of an article that Teri Cettina wrote to help ICE drivers save money. The $9-11K was a bit shocking.

“Although you'd rather use your money on more interesting things, you're likely to spend a huge chunk of change maintaining and repairing your car. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), it now costs nearly $9,000 a year to drive an average-size sedan. And if you own a four-wheel-drive SUV, your annual expenses are more than $11,000.”

ndt | September 2, 2012

That $9K-$11K was fully loaded. If you go back to the source, the average car costs 4.47 cents per mile for 15K miles = $670. That includes replacement parts and labor, so if the S costs more than $70/yr in non-covered maintenance you are behind the "average".

Fully loaded cost to drive the average S will be way above $9K/yr when realistic depreciation is factored in.

wbrown01 | September 4, 2012

I have no intentions on paying for anything in terms of service until my warrenty is out and something breaks(.) The plan is to fix it myself, even without a service guide (which does suck).

TheAustin | September 5, 2012

Is it possible that the majority of this maintenance/service fee is to cover technical updates, as well as the physical maintenance of the EV motor/car?

Rifleman | September 5, 2012

A $600 annual fee may be tolerable for the average 85 kWh buyer, but for people like myself who are stretching to buy the 40 kWh, it may be a deal breaker. Lets hope George follows through with his promise to answer this soon, as I am not sure I will be willing to hit the finalize button until I know for sure what the car is actually going to cost me.

BYT | September 5, 2012

@Rifleman, I can understand your position and I too would love to know and have asked reps on many occasions but must wait for GB's answer on this one.

@TheAustin, I was told or read that from official channels, you get the software updates regardless of the maintenance fees payment status. I believe it was Rod and Barbara who answered that if my memory serves me at all.

Volker.Berlin | September 11, 2012

Wrap-up: Now we know what's really included in Tesla's service fees!

- 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
- Software updates
- New features

On top, ranger service is not charged by the mile, but it's $100 flat per visit.

More details:

Timo | September 11, 2012

I'm curious, if I don't get that annual service, can I still get Tesla service when I need it for some non-fixed price?

This system might work with people that have too much money, but for GenIII cars it wont work anymore. People will refuse to purchase a car with expensive annual maintenance which apparently is completely unnecessary.

OTOH this could be advantage here in Finland where new car taxes are insane, if Tesla manages to lower the initial price by using this (transfer money from initial price to "maintenance") it probably pays itself back many times over.

George with SacEV | September 11, 2012

I think Tesla has vastly OVERpriced their service plan. $600/year for that list of "service" includes mostly what they are totally responsible for anyway, and yes, replacing wipers is nice, but give me a brake (pun intended) ....brake pads? Get real, on any car with strong regen, brake pads are going to last pretty much forever, unless the driver is doing hot laps at Laguna Seca every weekend.

And as many have posted, pretty much all the "competitive class" ICE cars have FREE service for at least THREE years!

So, is the "Tesla Service Plan" a dealbreaker? Almost it is to be sure. For those with 40kW battery packs, this is simply extortion.

Elon, we are not all internet millionaires! Many of us love the idea and the technology of driving emission free, but the total "service charges" on our 2011 Volt and 2011 Leaf for the first two years and cumulative 34,000 miles has been.....$$50 to rotate the tires on the Leaf and ZERO on the Volt!

How much SHOULD a "Tesla Service Plan" cost for the mainstream models (S, X)? As noted by others already....$200/year or prepaid for 4 years $600 seems MAXIMUM.

We should make a strong CUSTOMER PROTEST over the currently announced "service plan." I would call it more like a "post delivery extortion."

George with SacEV | September 11, 2012

Following up....for me, I am still also considering the imminent new Acura NSX, the Infinite Emerg-E, and even the BMW i8 as performance alternatives to the Tesla S and in the same general price range as far as current rumors suggest.

While these alternatives are clearly not full EVs, they do not have the concerns of range limits, and they do have the backing of much more established corporate and service systems.

My own delivery plan is for mid or late 2013, so I have time to assess fully options to the Model S, and the current "service plan" makes it certain that I WILL be studying those alternatives closely. I am prepared to indulge in a "six figure" new toy, but I HATE having niggling follow up fees attached.

cadethoerk | September 11, 2012

So if I don't get the service plan, I don't get software updates to fix bugs and design problems? If you use the analogy of iPhone or iPad, updates are part of the purchase until the hardware cannot keep up with new features. Will the car still be monitored for problems? Will a problem not be reported if not on the plan? I don't get it. I do all my own maintenance, 600 per year for brakes and fluid levels?

HaroldS | September 11, 2012


I don't quite see it that way. Is it more than Tesla needs to really maintain the car? Probably, but don't forget, we're all kicking in a ~25% profit (well, gross margin) on every car, presumably to assure the development of GENIII. So maybe $200+ per year (given the four year plan) goes to support Tesla -- that's A-OK with me.

Beyond helping assure the continuation of Tesla's larger goals, the $100 ranger fee is a huge relief for me personally. We travel a lot, and the cost of getting Tesla out to some random spot far away from the service centers was a financially intimidating prospect.

I'll be buying the maintenance just for the assurance of a $100 visit to wherever we are, if something goes wrong.

I do agree that the offer of brake pads is pretty funny -- our Prius has almost 100k miles on it and the pads still have about half their depth left.