5 yr review by the numbers and repairs.

5 yr review by the numbers and repairs.

While this may be 11 days early, I figured what the hell.

March 15, 2014 my car (S85) was finished being built and 2 weeks later I took delivery here in CT. Instead of waxing on with stories/experiences, I figured I would just list some data points that I have been tracking. Now typically I do a full chargeonce a year, in August, when it's nice and warm, so my current full charge is based on what I am currently getting for a 90 percent charge. When new, my car got 265.

Date / Miles / Full / Loss % / avg kWh

August '15: 32,016 / 262 / 1.1 / 329
August '16: 50,089 / 259 / 2.3 / 326
August '17: 87,951 / 258 / 2.6 / 325
August '18: 120,723 / 256 / 3.3 / 322
March '19: 146,462 / 254 / 4.5 / 322

Number of new features/improvements via OTA updates : 51

Number of times towed: 0

Typical charging habits: 80% in warmer months, 90% in colder months. Often get the battery down to 25/30%.
Supercharge typically 6 times a month.

Now for repairs. I will list these by mileage and I am excluding tire replacements because that is not a "repair". I will say that on average I replace a set of tires about every 36,000 miles.

Under warranty:
18,817 - Left rear door handle
23,499 - Chargeport light ring (a couple of segments were out)
28,221 - Front passenger handle touch sensor
38,834 - DU (milling noise)
48,985 - Chargeport (stopped latching)

Out of warranty:
69,460 - Onboard charger (kept kicking amperage down to 30amp) Also driver's handle touch sensor
72,333 - Rear right handle press. sensor and rear integral links (similar to sway bar links)
83,615 - Axles lubed (clicking noise) Replaced headlight bulbs.
91,124 - TPMS sensors
107,988 - 12v battery, right rear pass. door window regulator/motor, front suspension bushings
122,001 - Left parking brake caliper
130,264 - Front pass. handle gear replaced.

What I would like people to notice is that amongst this list of repairs that only 4 are because it is an EV. I somewhat don't consider the DU replacement as a broken/failed part, because it was a nuisance noise. They came up with an improved design using ceramic bearings. Also the chargeport light ring replacement did not affect the car's ability to drive or charge. The light ring is more a of a courtesy item.

Either way my point here is that when people ask you how reliable has your car been, what they are really asking is how reliable is the EV part of the car. Well, over the course of 146,462 miles, only 4 things have been repaired/replaced.

sbeggs | 18 mars 2019


Appreciate your excellent report, especially the way you tied the repairs to the mileage run.

We are far behind you in that measure!

lilbean | 18 mars 2019


jordanrichard | 18 mars 2019

I initially forgot to add my charging routine. I just added that.

SO | 18 mars 2019

Thanks for the info!

NKYTA | 18 mars 2019

38,834 - DU (milling noise)

Is that in miles or km's? ;-)

Lasted pretty long, I think I was at the median at 28k.
I've had far more work done on my 2012, but I'd still call her "reliable". ;-)

jordanrichard | 18 mars 2019


Yes, I too consider the car reliable despite the repairs because the car never left me stranded. People tend to forget that a car's job is to get you from point A to point B.

carlk | 18 mars 2019

I also have a March 14' car. Don't want to mention my much better than yours experience to jinx it. Did have the DU replaced the first year due to humming noise when accelerate. Started noticing that at 5000~6000 miles but did not get it replaced until the first annual because it's really not that bad.

PhillyGal | 18 mars 2019

Excellent write up, thanks for sharing!

We've had a similar list for our late 14 and like you, not one left us stranded or unable to drive. Nuisance issues (handles, frunk latch, pano roof...)

jordanrichard | 18 mars 2019

I will also add, because this question comes up a lot, if I had bought the extended 4 yr warranty for $4,000, I would have lost money. Each of those repair trips after 50,000 miles up to 100,000 would have cost me and additional $800 in deductibles. So in other words, my extended warranty cost would have been $4,800 and the total cost of those repairs was less than that. | 18 mars 2019

Thanks for the info! Do you have a pano roof? I just passed the four year mark, did not buy the extended warranty. My T only has 44,000 miles and has been very reliable.

AZGLFR | 18 mars 2019

Great info and you put it all together in a great presentation .. Thank You !

barrykmd | 18 mars 2019

JR - How much did they charge for all the door handle repairs? Any gratis or negotiated down because it's a known, flawed component?

jordanrichard | 18 mars 2019

When out of warranty, despite what everyone seems to think, they handle did/do not need to be replaced. For the touch sensor issues, about $250. For the broken gear for the front pass handle, $243. It was done by mobile service. Initially he assumed because of the car’s age at the time, that it would be a warranty repair and was going to just put in a whole new handle. I told him that I was well past the 50K mark. To that he said, well then I will fix the handle.

jordanrichard | 18 mars 2019

Sorry for the typos. I meant, when out of warranty, despite what everyone seems to think, the handle did/do not need to be replaced.

Bighorn | 18 mars 2019

Lost track of handle repairs. If I had to guess, I’d say five, a few beyond extended warranty. Never charged even for a replacement handle. All the others were rebuilt with new sensor harnesses and paddle gear.

AronAZ | 18 mars 2019

Thank you. As an active MS shopper, this is helpful input.

jordanrichard | 19 mars 2019

I just updated my repair list. I forgot about the replacement of the headlight bulbs. They were randomly going out, but would come back on when switching from Auto to Parking and then back to Auto.

nipper2 | 19 mars 2019

I purchased the 2 year and not sure if I should do the 4 year when the time comes

trixiew | 19 mars 2019

Excellent write up! Owner experience should sway any concerns for potential new buyers. This will help many people.

p.c.mcavoy | 19 mars 2019

@jordanrichard - “Either way my point here is that when people ask you how reliable has your car been, what they are really asking is how reliable is the EV part of the car. Well, over the course of 146,462 miles, only 4 things have been repaired/replaced.”

I cannot agree with that statement. I certainly would not have that perspective if I were to have asked you that question before my purchase. I think for many the focus is as much on the overall reliability of Tesla as a vehicle designed by a new company with minimal experience. I’d think many would be just as concerned if:

- The main display were to fail, disabling the ability to control many of the systems on the car. That has nothing to due with it being an EV as Tesla could just as easily have elected to have the conventional assortment of switches, buttons, knobs to control those items.
- The suspension were to fail, such as what a few have had resulting from the bolts on the power steering system failing due to corrosion, resulting in the potential loss of steering functionality.
- Pano roof fails such that will not close, or leaks excessively.

None of those systems have anything to do with the powertrain and I think most owners would not be happy if experienced any of those failures.

Silver2K | 19 mars 2019

Actually all ask about EV failures.

And the most asked is "what happens when you run out of electricity"

Silver2K | 19 mars 2019

Answer: what happens when you run out of gas?

barrykmd | 19 mars 2019

Silver2K | March 19, 2019
Answer: what happens when you run out of gas?

You walk a block or two and get a gallon in your red gas can. A bit less of a problem.

Tldickerson | 19 mars 2019

@ Bighorn, now that's funny as sh_t.

Silver2K | 20 mars 2019

barrykmd | March 19, 2019
Silver2K | March 19, 2019
Answer: what happens when you run out of gas?

You walk a block or two and get a gallon in your red gas can. A bit less of a problem.

Never said anything about convenience, just said the results are the same.

jordanrichard | 20 mars 2019

p.c.mcavoy, since I obviously can express context and the tone of people's questions over the years, all I can tell you is that from my experience, people are asking about the aspects that make it an electric car. They know what kind of repairs they have come to experience with an ICE, hence their question about the repairs on an EV. "Tesla" has become synonymous with EV, so unless they cite a specific problem they have heard about Teslas, when they ask about repairs/reliability, they are talking about the EV part.

This is akin to what people say at car shows when they convey the excitement about not buying gas and getting oil changes. It's not about the environment or the savings on gas. Their tone is one of excitement of not doing the chore of getting gas and oil changes. If you listen to the question behind the question, you find out what people are really asking.

Some have asked about the center screen, as in, ":....what happens when that goes?" I point out that modern cars have multiple computers that each control multiple things. If one of those computers craps out, you lose function of several things.

sbeggs | 17 juillet 2019


jordanrichard | 17 juillet 2019

Sbeggs, what or who are you flagging?

sbeggs | 17 juillet 2019

Flagged away a post that seemed to refer to the subject matter, but which contained an obvious commercial link to something quite different. No longer there.

jordanrichard | 18 juillet 2019

Ohhhhh, ok.