Is Annual Service Necessary?

Is Annual Service Necessary?

So, my car is due for annual service. Back then I think a lot of us bought the 4 year pre-paid annual service as an insurance policy since it was a new company, model, etc. and I wasn't sure if the company would even be around this year. I even bought the ranger service (which I have never used). Anyway, when I called to schedule the annual service the rep basically says "well you really don't need a routine annual service". This was shocking to hear as part of the warranty tells you that annual checks have to be performed by Tesla. Also since it made me feel I may have spent 2400 dollars for no reason.

For those who have had annual service done, what was done and could you have continued without annual service? Did you get your money's worth?

The car has been flawless so far for 10000 miles (except for alignment x 2 at months 2 and 4).

Thomas N. | May 18, 2014

Huh? You're a year in and have 10,000 miles and the Service Advisor said you really don't need the annual service?

Find another Serice Center or Service Advisor.

J.T. | May 18, 2014

First of all, if you prepaid for annual service the 4 year plan is $1900.00 for 4 years not $2400.00.

Second, if you already prepaid for it, why do you care if the service rep thinks you need it. You paid for it already.

Third, the annual service is not necessary to keep your warranty in force.

I agree with Thomas N., talk to someone else and mention this to the Service manager.

LEvans | May 18, 2014

@JT: +1. That's sound advice.

The annual service is not REQUIRED. But you still need to rotate your tires and check the vehicle over for alignment, wiper wear, fluids etc., They may also have "updates" to your car that they can install and apply at the service center.

You did not pay that money for nothing. You paid for the peace of mind and to keep your vehicle in tip top condition.

Call the service center and schedule your service visit and let them rotate your tires, check everything over. Replace what is needed and update anything new they have to add or replace.

Get your car back and continue to enjoy the experience. You can skip the annual service but then you are taking a chance that you are not driving around with misaligned wheels, etc., For your needs and peace of mind, you did the right thing pre-purchasing the service visits.

jordanrichard | May 18, 2014

From what I was told by my sales advisor, only those that financed their car through one of Teslas bank partners, have to have documented proof that the car had it's annual service done. From what he said, this is the bank's way to protect their

As others said, it is not required to keep your warranty intact.

jai9001 | May 18, 2014

I just had my annual service and I recommend you have it done.

FYI, I did not pay for the service agreeement upfront.

During my annual service, I had the following done.

1. Titanium shield

2. Tire rotation.

3. Multiple repairs to pano and chrome to reduce noise (I have never had any unusual noise, but I appreciated the preemptive repairs)

4. new wiper blades

5. cabin filter

6. both fobs were repaired and battery replaced

7. New defroster mesh

8. Steering update

9. Plastic fin on rear of car was replaced and realigned.

10. New frunk and interior mats!!

I thought it was a good value.

LEvans | May 18, 2014

@jai9001: That's a great value. No other manufacturer would haved rolled in some of those trim enhancements.

Thomas N. | May 18, 2014

I took my car in for the 6 month tire rotation and the list of items they fixed was as long as Jai's above. I had the tires rotated, titanium shield added, steering washers replaced, door handle replaced due to corrosion (one very very tiny dot in the middle of it), seat belt noise fixed, trim on passenger side of car fixed, etc. When it goes back in at the end of summer for its annual I'm sure there will be more service bulletins as well as items that need adjusting.

I'm happy I paid the $1900 for the four years. Pocket change on a $110K investment. | May 18, 2014

I'd recommend the first annual service for any car. It's a chance for service to notice anything amiss or something wearing improperly and might even catch a safety issue that can be fixed. After the first annual, it seems a bit less important for later ones. It does add some comfort that the car is being well looked after. I'm less concerned with the battery/motor than having a periodic look at the suspension, tires and brakes for damage or unusual wear.

Some people just run a car into the ground and really don't care. Others prefer to do their own inspections and work. Nothing wrong either approach either - just whatever fits your style and budget. | May 18, 2014

arrg: "... Nothing wrong with either approach..."

Roamer@AZ USA | May 18, 2014

Do the annual service. As I recall there were 15 separate items replaced or upgraded during annual service a few months ago. Never hurts to have the mother ship look it over.

Tesla dropped a loaner at our house in the morning and traded out the loaner later in the day while I was sitting on a rowing machine at the gym. No charge for anything and absolutely painless. Can't think of any reason not to do it. Schedule it ahead at a time on a date that works for you and the shop and a loaner is available.

Coordinate with service and pick a date that works for you and for them. If they just received two auto haulers of new cars to prep and deliver it's probably dumb to expect them to drop everything and do an annual service. I have received wonderful service from my SC but I also cooperate to schedule in a way that accommodates their work flow also. win win.

michael1800 | May 18, 2014

At face value, the service rep sounds shady. If you've got other options in your area for service, go for it. On the other hand, context can mean a lot. If you've recently had the vehicle in (other than your alignments) for the titanium shield, for example, they've likely already applied the bulletin updates and have done a cursory inspection which mimics the first annual service. If you guys were having trouble scheduling a specific day due to conflicting schedules, the comment is an appropriate way of saying, 'We can put this off a bit without worry.' Despite all that, I'll take your post at face value and assume the experience doesn't match what most of us have experienced. Insist you get an annual service at that center or any other. It has nothing to do with the money or pre-payment or warranty. It simply should be checked out ounce of prevention and all that.

mrrjm | May 18, 2014

Really you're gonna buy a $100K car and skip the annual checkup? I think it's a great idea to have the professionals look the car over once a year.

TeoTeslaFan | May 18, 2014

If you didn't mention that you already bought the 4 year service plan the service rep might have thought you haven't purchased it yet and you are not sure whether to spend money on it.

Otherwise unwillingness to provide the service you paid for is wrong and you should talk to the manager.

Jschore | May 18, 2014

You comments helped me decide to purcahse the prepaid service plan.
I was "kvetching" for 7 weeks and 5 days on my decision. Jane

Bighorn | May 18, 2014

He bought ranger service, so $2400 is the correct amount.

I didn't buy ranger service, or the service plan, and they've offered to flat bed my car 400+ miles when it's time for the annual service, gratis.

J.T. | May 19, 2014

@Bighorn I should get my daughter to read the forum to me. :-)

jordanrichard | May 19, 2014

Not to take away from people's views of the annual service, more specifically the items people listed as being done, but most of that was warranty work anyways.

Often it is said/argued that if one spent upwards of 6 figures on a car, then $600 is a drop in the bucket. I have never subcribed to that way of thinking. The price of the car and the price of service really shouldn't be connected. The skill set to do an oil change on a Ford Mustang is the same as it is on a Lamborghini, yet the Lambo will cost you a fortune because it's a Lambo. Yes I know there is more oil, but you know what I mean.

So back to the Tesla, from what is listed on the website, you are are not getting much for $600. Brake pads? it will be years before they need replacing. Wiperblades? only if they just so happen to need replacing at the time of service.

I have yet to see a list of things done at the annual service that is not already covered by either a service campaign (titanium shield) or the bumper to bumper warranty. This is not to say that I won't get it done, but I need to know/see an actual list of what is being done that versus what the website list.

Thomas N. | May 19, 2014

"The skill set to do an oil change on a Ford Mustang is the same as it is on a Lamborghini, yet the Lambo will cost you a fortune because it's a Lambo."

This is incorrect. Porsche 911 oil changes are astronomical because you can't even SEE the motor, much less get easy access to it. You can on the Ford Mustang.

Rocky_H | May 19, 2014

I side with Jordanrichard on this. The annual service seems mainly about checking and proactively doing things that don't need doing if you aren't having a problem with it. That list of things jai9001 mentioned? Sure, they did them, but they would have still done those things if you waited until the 2 year mark instead of 1 year. Also, 2 years is when the manual lists the first thing that actually is supposed to be changed (I think it was battery coolant fluid), with the next one being at 4 years.

When the actual recommended services it needs are every 2 years, I don't think it's worth $600 to me to take it in on the off years just because.

NO2PTRL | May 19, 2014


Most of your issues sound like warranty repairs and have nothing to do with the service contract.

I will be taking my car in for some warranty issues next week and the service manager said that they would take care of all my issues PLUS check the car head to toe for anything that I might have missed.

jai9001 | May 19, 2014


Totally agree.

They charged me accordingly!!!

judimasters | May 19, 2014

I'm with you jordanrichard! I plan on doing it every two years. I have had my car in twice for warranty work and they seem to look it over and do things I didn't even ask for. Seems like everything is under warranty. I have a $160 lifetime plan with Firestone for alignment service any time I want. Their tire rotation is $20 when I decide it should be done. Floor Mats, Wiperblades ?!?!? Meh!

SCCRENDO | May 19, 2014

34500 miles in 13 months. My 3rd 'annual service' is approaching. Didn't prepay but I am happy to come up $600 every 12500 miles. This includes tire rotations every 6250 miles which apparently would otherwise cost $150. Mostly warranty items and service bulletins but they proactively check the brakes and fill all fluids etc. not sure that it is a true $600 value but on a $100,000 investment I'm getting peace of mind.

Rocky_H | May 20, 2014

You should get that $600 inspection done every six months and get even MORE peace of mind! Sorry, but I had to.

Lycanthrope P85 | May 20, 2014

I have a car that goes 0-100 in around 4 seconds. I want that car checked over annually...

jordanrichard | May 20, 2014

Thomas N, I own a Porsche 911, albeit a 911SC, but a 911 nonetheless. Whether you can see the engine or not, which is true of the new 911, doesn't change the fact that there is an oil drain plug and an oil fill cap.

Hell, for years and years Mercedes dealerships have used suction pumps to draw the oil out of the oil pan via the dipstick instead of taking the time to put the car on a lift and crack open the drain plug. This saves them a lot of time, but they still gouge you on the price.

DC@Tesla | May 20, 2014

Of course I took it for an annual check and what I love is that the company is very pro-active and they looked over the car and found and fixed issues I was not yet aware of: (mirror cover gap (fixed), vanity mirror with premature wear (replaced), loose door trim (re-taped), nail in the rear tire (replaced, for $$, :( ), steering wheel washer shims (replaced). Overall, quite worth it. They'll need to continue to strive towards excellence in customer service for eventual world domination.

SCCRENDO | May 20, 2014

@Rocky H . I am getting it every 6 months. Doing it every 12500 miles.

judimasters | May 21, 2014

@ DC@Tesla Everything you mentioned are warranty items! | May 21, 2014

I am with @mrrjm on this. Are folks really contemplating spending $100K on a price of mechanical equipment then scrimping on the preventative maintenance?


DC@Tesla | May 21, 2014

I know all repairs still under warranty but TM has been very proactive about finding and repairing problems before the owner even knows about it, but IF YOU TAKE YOUR CAR TO THE SERVICE CENTER. All my other cars they only fixed things I complained about. And typically, few things always broke down just AFTER warranty period expired. On the other hand, TM apparently had a service bulletin for the steering wheel washer. Had I not taken it in for the annual service it would have gone unfixed. So, annual service good, just so they can check car over and go over all service bulletins.

Rocky_H | May 21, 2014

@omarsultan, in the long list of things that they are proactively doing, hardly any of them would I describe as "preventative maintenance". You make it sound like skipping oil changes in a gas engine.

JZ13 | May 21, 2014

I'm in the camp that feels the $600 is wasted money. I have had my car in the shop for minor issues and everything you all have mentioned was done for me for FREE! They even do a free tire rotation 1 time!!!!! Yes I spent $100k on my car. The reason I had $100k to spend on a car is because I am selective in how I spend my money. When I see value I spend money. When I don't see value I don't spend money. And since I got all the work that you guys got for free I think I was wise in not spending the $600.

SCCRENDO | May 21, 2014

Put through a call to Tesla Costa Mesa today. I am in a more select group that does many miles a year. The present recommendation is still 12500 miles or 1 year. For someone like me who did 28000 miles in 1 year and have now done 34500 miles in 13 months they recommend a service every 6 months and its ok to go 15000 miles or so in between services. If you don't do it, it will not void your warranty but could in the future if something was missed as a result causing other problems. The more you drive, the more wear and tear and they do things such as check and replace brakes and your air conditioner etc. They felt it was more important to do the 5000-6000 miles tire rotation. By the way still on my first set of tires but expecting to change them at my next rotation in 2 weeks. As someone who wants to keep my car for 300,000 miles i feel a $600 expenditure every 6 months (about 15000 miles for me) is not excessive for peace of mind on a $100,000 car.

jordanrichard | May 21, 2014

Well, not to do a reversal on my opinion of the $600 price tag, but I got a far better explanation of what is done during an annual visit.
I had my car in for a leaking Pano roof (block drain tube) and I flat out asked what does $600 get me. To summarize, they essentially take the car apart and inspect all the nuts bolts and replace if any corrosion is spotted. They actually make recordings of the sound from the various pumps and upload it to the data base in Freemont, for comparison. The list goes on and on. If something does need replacing it gets replaced, but the service is still $600. In other words, it's an extensive inspection but they don't call you afterwards and say we found this and that and it will cost "X" more to fix it. I was told the only "oh BTW" that would be an additional cost would be tires.

The service advisor agreed that Tesla should make this extensive list known vs the short list they put on the website. This way people understand the value they are getting.

Just because one has a $100,000 car and is questioning the $600 service, doesn't mean they are being cheap. Perhaps how they got into the position to afford the car was being smart with their money.

Brian H | May 22, 2014

So much for all the dims who said, "Change the wiper blades and fluid, and check the brakes? I can do that myself for free!"

Thomas N. | May 22, 2014

I keep seeing this $600 price talked about here. I prepaid for the four years within thirty days of purchasing my vehicle for $1900 and my cost is $475 per year.

After reading Jordan's description above I can't imagine a better value for my $475 than the annual service.

I wondered why I had to make an appointment a month in advance for my Service Center anual visit if all they did was change the wiper blades and fill the tires. They could do that in 10 minutes, eh?

Thanks for the info, Jordan. We need to see information like this.

Thomas N. | May 22, 2014


SCCRENDO | May 22, 2014

@Thomas N. I should have done the prepaid $475 but didn't realize I only had a month to do it. Even at $600 I still believe it's worth it.

J.T. | May 22, 2014

@jordan richard I am taking the description of the service as you laid it out and including it on the NTTF thead. Thank you for getting the best answer I've ever seen.

jordanrichard | May 22, 2014

I asked me service advisor why doesn't Tesla put this on the website. He agreed, but at the same time said he thinks Tesla is afraid it would scare of potential customers. Meaning, here it is they say the car is virtually maintence free. This for most people like myself, is one of the factors considered before buying. With that said, if they then listed all of things they do at an annual service, that would give a drastically different impression.

It is still pretty amazing and completely unprecedented that a car company is telling you that you can flat ingnore the recommended maintenance items and we will still honor the warranty.

p3t0r | May 22, 2014

If anyone signed up for the buy back program, in the fine print it says you have to get the car service every year. Just an FYI | May 22, 2014


I am not sure what the proactive warranty items have to do with scheduled maintenance. If they want to look the car over once a year to find things before the fail and to do whatever scheduled and preventative maintenance they recommend once a year, that seems like a smart move and $600 seems like a reasonable price based on what I have paid BMW and MB in the past. Driving the car until something breaks then hope to get it fixed under warranty seems like an odd approach, but to each his or her own, I guess.


judimasters | May 22, 2014

@JZ13 I am the exact same way with my money. That is how I am able to have the Tesla in the first place. I am with you 100%

Brian H | May 23, 2014


dougarcher26 | May 23, 2014

One year anniversary and logged in at 20,500 miles. I don't think I purchased a service plan. As I look around, nothing seems to be wrong with the vehicle and all the tires seem great. It drives as smooth as silk. As of now, this car seems maintenance-free. Truly amazing. I guess I should at least go get a tire rotation?

jchangyy | May 23, 2014

I bought the annual service for 8 years over a year ago because at the time, annual service was "required" for warranty. Since then, tesla changed their position and now you don't have to get annual service to warranty work.

Had I known that at the time of purchase, I would have skipped yearly service.

I'm just sayin' Most of my trips to Tesla service has been warranty work. not much done at my annual service--I don't think they even changed the wipers (same streak noted when used, but rarely use it since I live in sunny california, so don't really care).

MSmbc | May 23, 2014

I think it's a fallacy to say $600 is the bucket for an $80,000 or $100,000 car. Tesla specifically trumpets that the car requires little to no maintenance because it has no engine, then tells me I have $600/yr in maintenance costs. If I buy an $80,000 MB or BMW, or even a $40,000 Infiniti, it comes with 2-3 years of scheduled maintenance included at no cost. So for the first 2-4 years of owning my car, I am paying $600/yr more in maintenance for my maintenance free car than I would be if I bought an ICE vehicle.

In fact, since I only drive 9,000 mi/yr, that $600 works out to about 1/3 of my annual gas savings.

Seems pretty lousy to me. Tesla should include the annual service for the first 2-3 years, at least.

Thomas N. | May 23, 2014

Prepay the service and it's only $1900 for four years. So MB, BMW and Lexus all include it for four years. That's because it's built in to their list price. You don't have the option of telling BMW "I don't want the four years of service so can I have the car for $2500 less?"

If the MB S550 is $105,000 and the Tesla with the four-year maintenance is $106,900 is it really that significant?

SCCRENDO | May 23, 2014

@ThomasN +1