Considering Model S again

Considering Model S again

Several years ago I was considering the Model S but went a different route because there was no SC, dealer or charging stations in my state (I live in Knoxville, TN) so ended up leasing another brand. My lease is up and now I am again considering the Model S. Things have improved some. There is a charging station in Knoxville, and SC and dealer near Nashville, but still 180 miles away.

I would get it in a heartbeat if there was a SC in Knoxville. My only concern is servicing the vehicle and having to drive 180 miles each way. I've seen half a dozen Model S's in Knoxville over the past years so obviously people where I live are buying them in spite of the SC distance.

If possible, I would like to hear from existing Model S owners who live more than 150 miles from a SC. What has been your experience in this regard? How often have you had to travel there? What can I expect? I don't want to go into this with blinders on.

Thank you for any input.

sbeggs | 29 gennaio 2017

Do you have electricicity in your garage? We charge each night on the 240 V 50 amp outlet Steve installed, and wake up with a full tank of electrons every morning.
Do you like to take road trips? Research where the Superchargers are out from your location. If they are less than 200 miles away, you are good. If not, check out destination charging at hotels, RV parks, etc.
We have gone to Alberta Canada, Denver, Arizona from San Diego.
But we have never been to the San Diego Supercharger 20 miles away.
Our 3 year old Classic S85 has been a superb machine with great reliability. You will enjoy getting one!

Run4Waffles | 29 gennaio 2017

Hello @roger-write. There are a number of owners that live rather far away from a service center. There's also owners on the islands of Hawaii that don't have a service center on their island!!

I'm about 1 1/2 hours to a SvC. It was something that I took into consideration. One way that I looked st it was if I wanted to get a high end car, I would have to travel that, or more, for service on an ICE and that would definitely be happening more frequently.

I also had strong considerations with reliability. I felt comfortable with the research that I did here on the forum and took the plunge.

The water has been great. The rocket has been marvelous. 38,000 miles in 13 months. I took the car back once when I first got it for s window issue and just now for an annual service which included tires. I had a Tesla for a loaner.

There's an owner on the forum that's in upstate NY that just drove 250 miles one way to take his car in. He also had a Tesla for a loaner.

I hope this helps.

SbMD | 29 gennaio 2017

@sbeggs and @Run4 + 1
More important to have chargers/super chargers on your routes rather than in your city. It is one of the advantages of an EV, to be able to charge at home.

Silver2K | 29 gennaio 2017

I drive 250 miles to service as R4W mentioned and always get a tesla as a loaner. This time I almost did not get a Tesla, because I needed my brakes (and a few other things under warranty) taken care of right away, but they pulled it off for me anyway.

I don't mind the drive, I love driving my car and I don't even have AP :)

Plus, I would be insane to complain considering I knew how far service was when I bought the car :)

Silver2K | 29 gennaio 2017

I have 5 supercharger locations on the way to service allowing me to choose different routes

TPilot | 29 gennaio 2017

If you only drive 12,000-15,000 miles per year, there's a good chance you only have to make the trip to the SvC once a year. Minor repairs will have to wait for your annual.

croman | 29 gennaio 2017

They also have a ranger service.

roger-write | 29 gennaio 2017

They you much for the feedback. Even though I mentioned the charging station in Knoxville, my main concern was travel to the service center. I had read that some original owners had to have it serviced a number of times the first year to get some kinks worked out. Seeing as how I probably drive less than 8,000 miles per year I suspect it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I can certainly handle a trip to the SC once a year. Not to mention that as the self driving capabilities continue to improve, it will become even less of an issue to make the drive, assuming there isn't anything serious enough wrong with the car to prevent even that. I really looking no forward to owning one, and am so convinced I want one that I don't even need the test drive. I may just go online and place the order.

croman | 29 gennaio 2017

Definitely use a referral code to save a thousand. I ordered before year driving and I love my car. Definitely use the one week change order period to solicit feedback and adjust based on your needs. I think fitting in a test drive can really help refine your car to your desires better than an online survey but it's great Tesla allows online ordering. You'll love your car. New Tesla cars have fewer issues than when you first looked. Still some minor fit and finish issues but Tesla has been great about addressing them all for me. Plus in a year or so your car can take itself to the service center and return assuming your state allows autonomous vehicles.

kevin | 29 gennaio 2017

Figure one service visit after you get the car to deal with whatever doesn't work right, and thereafter an annual visit. The question is whether you can take a day off for a service visit, or two if you have to leave the car overnight. I'm retired so it's not a big deal, YRMV.

I have a Supercharger quite close to me, but I never use it except a couple of times for the novelty when I first got the car.

djharrington | 29 gennaio 2017


I had similar concerns when I was considering buying. I'm in Albuquerque, with nearest service centers in Denver, Vegas, and Phoenix areas. We bought anyway, based on our neighbors' experience with rangers and Tesla. Fourteen months and 13,000 miles later, I've only met a ranger once, for the seatbelt recall inspection. The car has been completely flawless. Take the plunge :)

tstolz | 29 gennaio 2017

I live about 600 miles from a service centre ... I'm near Calgary, Alberta .... service is in Vancouver. Tesla sends out a tech to Calgary and books appointments. They can do most repairs this way and flat deck major stuff to Vancouver is my understanding. I only used service once in 2 years for a routine service visit ... was easy. I'd say go for it. With M3 immenent Tesla will be everywhere soon and IMHO life is too short not to drive one of these cars :)

Run4Waffles | 29 gennaio 2017

@roger-write - I just bump this thread for you. It may help. I'm also going to bump another one for you that you should find helpful.

Run4Waffles | 29 gennaio 2017

Bump - bumped :-/

stereoshopper | 29 gennaio 2017

Get to know the other Tesla owners in Knoxville. It's possible to pool resources for a ranger visit. Indianapolis has no physical service center but does employ local technicians who can repair most issues. They even have Tesla loaners. It's possible that Knoxville may have a similar model once a critical mass of ownership is reached.

roger-write | 29 gennaio 2017

All of these posts have been extremely helpful and much appreciated. After reading the bumped posts I'm salivating. Thank you for that Run4Waffles.

GHammer | 29 gennaio 2017

I live two hours away from the service center but where I live that is true for any factory service. Two cars in almost two years and I have only been to the service center for annual maintenance.

Run4Waffles | 29 gennaio 2017

You're very welcome @roger-write. It's my pleasure.

People ask if I would buy another one. My answer is "I wouldn't consider buying a regular car again."

If you have any other questions, be sure to ask.

And be sure to use a referral code to help you out. The following thread has a list of owners and their code. If you don't find the one that has helped you the most, go ahead and ask.

The Owner's Manual Companion thread is loaded with a wealth of information also.£750-or-€1000-when-purchasing-model-xs-promo-ends-3152017-unlimited-owner#new

eye.surgeon | 29 gennaio 2017

25 months of ownership, 140 miles from nearest service center, never been to it. Skipped the year 1 service, year 2 service Tesla picked it up for me & left a loaner, and one repair done in my garage by Tesla ranger when rear camera failed.

burdogg | 29 gennaio 2017

I as well am 180 miles from Service center and we bought a Model S in Oct 2015 - delivered Nov 2015. Have had zero problems with it - 14,000 miles. I have yet to take it to service - skipped the one year. As Waffles has said - If you ask me if I would buy another one? Too late - I bought an X, delivered in Dec. I do have to take it to the service for seat heaters that were not functioning quite right. I am planning on getting a model 3 as well. Waffles write up on he wanted to know why, was a response to me, as we bought at the same time and have followed similarly on the Tesla path. That write up follows what a lot of us have gone through in purchasing.

I would have never thought I would spend this much on a car. IF you were to ask me 2 years ago if I would spend over $200,000 for 2 vehicles, I would say never :) I would not change it either today :) I love it and can't stand to think driving anything else.

Good luck and as others have said, as you order, if you have questions on why you may or may not want xyz, don't hesitate to ask - we all have opinions and want all agree, but can give you reasons why we would or wouldn't :) Enjoy the grin.

ahurst | 29 gennaio 2017

I just bought a CPO P85D and live in Denver. However, I'll be moving in a month to the South. Closest SC will be Dallas or OK City, both 290 miles away. Here's hoping I don't need service anytime soon.

Haggy | 29 gennaio 2017

I live near a service center and it proved to be helpful. On the other hand, none of the problems kept me from using my car. In the years since my car was made, quality has improved substantially.

One of the biggest advantages of an EV is never having to buy gas, and rarely having to use a charging station away from home. In most cases, I can coordinate it with meal stops and restroom stops. I would suggest you you go to and try putting in some sample routes. That will give you a feel for superchargers that might be along the way, as well as how long you might have to stop.

I'd say that with my car, I'd consider 150 miles to be borderline and I'd have a tough call making the decisions, but I probably would have done it. With newer cars all I can go by is what I read, but Consumer Reports went from not recommending my car to recommending new ones.

Incidentally, one of the reasons they didn't recommend my model year is for what many people would consider a weakness but many Tesla owners would consider to be a strength of the company. When my car was made, Tesla used different bearings in the drive train. Mine got noisy over time. It didn't keep me from using the car but was unpleasant. Tesla could have had me take the car in, held onto it while they sent the drive train to the factory to be serviced, and fixed it after they got it back. Instead, Tesla swapped it out for a remanufactured one that meets the same spec as the ones that go on new cars. So my car no longer has the weakness that caused it to have lower than average reliability ratings.

The advantage of the way that Tesla does it is that if they have a dozen drive trains to work on, instead of waiting for them to get to the 12th one, they get you back on the road as soon as possible with one that's effectively like new. On paper, it looks like you needed a new major component instead of just replacement bearings. But they need to remove the whole assembly to replace the bearings, and it makes no difference if the rest of the parts had been on your car before, so you get something completely brought up to spec instead of only the bearings being replaced.

Bighorn | 29 gennaio 2017

500 miles via superchargers to the nearest service center. I'd accrue a list of small problems that I'd share at my annual check up--I've had two. Haven't been for routine service in 18 months and 57k miles now. One unscheduled trip for a leaky air suspension fixed while I waited. Couple ranger visits early on--non-critical. At 118.6k miles now.

roger-write | 29 gennaio 2017

How does one obtain a referral code?

Run4Waffles | 29 gennaio 2017

Thanks @ckcland2. The link I posted above didn't come through correctly. :-/

Steve S | 29 gennaio 2017

I live 2.5 hours away from any service center and decided to buy and don't regret that decision one bit. If something were to go wrong, Tesla will make it right. Since I've purchased my Tesla, I have 5 or 6 others in my hood that have also taken the plunge. I wouldn't think twice about buying. You will love it.

Tropopause | 29 gennaio 2017


In theory you don't ever have to go to a SvC because the annual services are OPTIONAL and do not void the warranty.

JayInJapan | 30 gennaio 2017

I live 1,300 km away from the only SvC in Japan. I'm there now for my 2-year annual. ;-) Last year I drove 100 km to their remote center they use for such purposes. Like @bh said, save up any issues and do them at once. The cars rarely need anything big.

Run4Waffles | 30 gennaio 2017

@roger-write - when you go to the referenced referral thread and you click on the person's referral link, it will take you to the Design Studio and apply the $1,000 savings to your order automatically.

Like the Owner's Manual Companion / FAQ thread, people talk about "stuff" to keep the thread "bumped" to the first page.

Rocky_H | 30 gennaio 2017

@roger-write, Good questions, good answers, good thread. I do have some relevant experience that answers your questions.

I have had my Model S for almost 3 years now. I'm over 300 miles away from a service center, and it has not been a problem. Our area is handled basically like @tstolz. I'm in a pretty big city, and there are several Teslas here, so we just contact the service center if we have something that needs work, and they will put us on the schedule for their next Service Ranger visit. They come up here about once a month, and if we wait for that next scheduled visit, they don't charge for the service call. It's a decent trade-off.

So for your situation, Knoxville is a big enough area with a few other Teslas that I would think they are doing something similar. Call the Tesla service center in Nashville and ask them how they are handling service in Knoxville. They should be able to explain what they are doing to handle issues there.

Adding to @Tropopause's comment, yes, the annual visits are optional, but from checking the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual, there are scheduled things on the even numbered years. So that is where you will find some disagreement among owners. Some say they want to have the checkup every year just to feel good, while others just want to go on the even numbered years when more stuff is actually being done. I go just for the even numbered years. For that, I will go ahead and take the trip to bring the car to the service center for that major work. I checked in the spring when it was about time to go to see if there was something I wanted to do in Portland or Salt Lake City to make a trip of it. There was a concert in Portland (not my nearest service center), so I went there and had my little vacation with a loaner car while they did the 2 year service. I'm glad to hear you mention that you consider fitting that into the schedule once every year or two as not too much of a burden. I would agree that it seems reasonable.

Silver2K | 30 gennaio 2017


By the way, I got a Tesla loaner. They felt a regular ICE loaner would be too much of an inconvenience to me. :)

The nice thing was I turned down the first Tesla loaner because it didn't have snow tires and they went out of their was to find one with snows. Judging by the dog smell, they wanted to clean the car before loaning it out.

Febreze took care of that :)

roger-write | 22 febbraio 2017

All right! Last night I finally pulled the trigger and ordered it online. Maybe I'm nuts since I've never test driven or even ridden in one (couldn't make it to a service center for various reasons). But I've wanted one for a long time now and it's a risk I'm willing to take.

ckcland2 | 22 febbraio 2017

Welcome, get ready for the grin!

Anthony J. Parisio | 22 febbraio 2017

You did the right thing. Welcome.

avesraggiana | 22 febbraio 2017

Yay!!!! Good morning, and Congratulations for joining the club! I ‘m about a fortnight ahead of you, having ordered on the 9th, and confirmed on the 16th. Already the wait has been excruciating. It’ll will be more than worth it in the end.

trisailor33 | 22 febbraio 2017

Beware that your actual range may be much less than advertised. My 2016 90D has only about 200 miles. Compared to the 270 miles it is was advertised to have. Ordinary driving conditions. Modest driving style. Tesla service says car is operating normally.

tes-s | 22 febbraio 2017

There is a good chance there will be a service center closer to you by the time you are ready for your first annual service. They will be opening a lot of new sales and service centers to support the M3 volumes.

reed_lewis | 22 febbraio 2017

I think the OP was talking about service center, not Super Charger.

TesMD | 22 febbraio 2017

Congrats on pulling the trigger. The car is amazing. You will not regret it. Where are you located? I am sure owners in the area would not mind giving you a chance to get behind the wheel for a quick test drive. Just post on forum and see if there are owners close by.

Run4Waffles | 22 febbraio 2017

CONGRATULATIONS @roger-write!!!!!!!!!

I don't believe you have anything to worry about.

It's an incredible piece of machinery and technology. It's a pure marvel!!!!!!!!

Keep us updated. Now to read the OMC 16 times and clean the garage yet again.


Run4Waffles | 22 febbraio 2017

And CONGRATULATION to @avesraggiana!!!!!

revrev4ruach | 22 febbraio 2017

Yoo Hoo! Congratulations you two! Let the grin begin. :)

Tropopause | 22 febbraio 2017

Welcome to the Tesla family! Love seeing it grow!

PhillyGal | 22 febbraio 2017


roger-write | 26 marzo 2017

They deliver the MS to my home on Friday (3/31) and can't wait to try it out. Been reading thru the manual. Strange feeling to buy a 100k car having never even test driven it, but I've wanted a model s for many years now. On a recent business trip to Hamburg, I saw they had a SC. Walked over to it in my spare time and at least got to sit in one for the first time. Too bad they wouldn't let me test drive it (requires a couple weeks to schedule an appt). NEMA 14-50 is installed and getting excited!

KP in NPT | 26 marzo 2017

Wow @roger - you're in for a treat! You've never driven a Tesla and you bought one! You'll have to post here after your first drive. :)

NKYTA | 26 marzo 2017

Welcome!! Grin! :-) :-)

Mike83 | 26 marzo 2017

Congrats. Life will become more fun.


TesMD | 26 marzo 2017

Congrats. You will not be disappointed. What is your configuration?