tesla maintenance cost

Tesla Maintenance Cost: What to Expect

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Crash Course:

  • Tesla maintenance costs range from around $587 to $832 per year.
  • In general, Tesla vehicles require less maintenance than many other cars, but individual services can be expensive.
  • You can’t cover Tesla maintenance costs with a warranty, but you can cover the cost of unexpected repairs.
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Tesla maintenance costs should be a major consideration for anyone considering purchasing one of Elon Musk’s electric vehicles (EVs). While the automaker has become one of the hottest car brands in the world, there is far more to the cost of owning one of the cars than the sticker price.

To give you a more complete picture of what you’ll pay to keep a Tesla running well, our research team took an in-depth look at routine maintenance service costs, reliability ratings, common issues, and more. We also took a look at some of the industry’s best extended auto warranty providers and whether any of them can help cover Tesla maintenance costs. Here’s what we learned.

How Much Does Tesla Maintenance Cost?

Estimates for Tesla maintenance costs vary depending on the source. This is because, with so few years on the road, there is limited data for the brand.

There is a considerable range in these estimates. On the low end, Car Edge estimates that the average Tesla costs around $587 per year to maintain. Kelley Blue Book (KBB), for example, estimates around $623 per year in regular maintenance costs. On the high side, RepairPal estimates annual Tesla maintenance costs to be around $832 per year.

Again, Tesla is a relatively young brand with relatively little cost data to analyze. In all likelihood, actual costs likely fall somewhere in between these estimates.

Is Tesla Maintenance Expensive?

Compared to many standard automobiles, average Tesla maintenance costs are expensive. For example, RepairPal estimates that the average annual total cost of maintenance for Honda vehicles is $428 and $441 for Toyota cars – both slightly more than half that of Tesla.

However, Tesla maintenance costs are fairly average or even slightly low compared to other luxury vehicles. The average BMW maintenance cost, for example, is estimated at $968 each year.

What Are Maintenance Costs for a Tesla?

Maintenance costs for Tesla vehicles and other EVs are inherently different from those for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The company claims that its vehicles have fewer maintenance items than ICE-powered vehicles due to having fewer parts. Nonetheless, Tesla cars still have regular wear and tear items that need maintenance, even early on in their lifetime.

Common Tesla Maintenance Items

In the table below, we’ve provided a list of several key maintenance services and the estimated costs to perform them. You’ll notice that these cost estimates vary widely.

This is because, as a newer brand, there isn’t as much information available about Tesla maintenance costs as the is for more established brands. In addition, there is a much smaller pool of repair shops that can or will work on the vehicles, resulting in less consistency in pricing.

Tesla Maintenance ServiceAverage Tesla Maintenance Cost
Tire rotation$35 to $100
Windshield wiper blade replacement$20 to $50
Cabin air filter replacement$60 to $200

Tesla Maintenance

It’s true that Tesla owners don’t have many of the same maintenance items that owners of ICE-powered vehicles have. Like with all EVs, there’s no need for oil changes, spark plug replacements, fuel filter changes, or emissions inspections. According to the company, Tesla’s regenerative braking system means owners won’t need to replace brake pads or brake fluid as often either.

Tesla Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Even though Teslas don’t need the same maintenance services as ICE-powered cars, that doesn’t mean they don’t still need regular service. On its website, Tesla recommends several regular maintenance services for owners.

Replace Cabin Air Filter

Tesla recommends different cabin air filter replacement intervals depending on the model. The table below shows the suggested schedule for each model.

Tesla ModelRecommended Cabin Air Filter Replacement Interval
Model 3
Model Y
Every 2 years
Model S
Model X
Every 3 years
*For Model S and Model X vehicles produced in 2012-2020, Tesla recommends replacing the cabin air filter every 2 years.

Replace High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter

Some Tesla models come equipped with internal HEPA filters. For these models, the company recommends replacing the filters every three years.

Rotate Tires, Replace Tires, and Perform Alignment

Tesla recommends rotating your tires every 6,250 miles or earlier if there is a difference of more than 2/32” in tread depth between tires. The company instructs owners to refer to their tire manufacturer’s guidelines on when to replace them. It also suggests performing wheel alignments on an “as-needed” basis.

Test Brake Fluid

While the brake fluid on a Tesla does not need to be replaced or refilled as often as on an ICE-powered vehicle, it still needs some maintenance. The company suggests checking the brake fluid every two years for contaminants and topping it off as needed.

Winterize Brake System

Tesla advises owners in colder regions to perform annual winterization services. This includes brake caliper cleaning and lubrication to ensure peak performance and longevity of the brake system.

Service Air Conditioning System

The air conditioning (A/C) system in Tesla vehicles uses a desiccant bag to reduce moisture in the system. According to the company, these bags need to be replaced at different intervals depending on which Tesla model you own. The table below shows the recommended air conditioning service schedule.

Tesla ModelA/C Desiccant Bag Replacement Interval
Model 3Every 6 years.
Model YEvery 4 years.
Model S
Model X
Every 3 years.**
**Tesla recommends replacing your A/C desiccant bag every 2 years for Model S vehicles produced in 2012-2020 and every 4 years for Model X vehicles produced in 2012-2020.

Tesla Mobile Service Unit

As a young brand, Tesla lacks the network that more established automakers have. There are fewer than 200 Tesla Service Centers in the U.S. compared to over 1,000 for Honda. This means owners have fewer options for having maintenance performed.

To combat this, Tesla has launched a Mobile Service program that brings technicians to the car. Owners can use the Tesla app to schedule their service at their homes or other location of choice. According to Tesla owner forums, the mobile service unit performs many basic maintenance services for free.

Tesla Repair Costs

While regular maintenance for a Tesla is arguably inexpensive compared to many vehicles, the same can’t be said for repairs. Teslas tend to be both expensive and difficult to fix compared to many other vehicles for a variety of reasons that include:

  • Limited service network: Teslas are still specialty vehicles that require specialized training to service. This means that labor is harder to find and more expensive in general.
  • High-tech parts: Technology is a central feature of Tesla vehicles, but high-tech components tend to be costly to repair or replace.
  • Low production numbers: While Teslas have exploded in popularity, there are still relatively few of them compared to bigger automotive brands. That means that replacement components are manufactured in smaller quantities and therefore more expensive per item.

Common Tesla Repairs

As with any car, there are countless things that can break on a Tesla. But owners of the vehicles have reported some consistent issues with the brand. These include:

  • Power steering system failure
  • Loss of power to the vehicle
  • Autopilot failures
  • Cruise control issues
  • Poor build quality
  • Premature battery failure

Are Tesla Maintenance Costs Covered by Warranty?

Like all cars, new Tesla vehicles come with a factory warranty. Also like all new cars, the Tesla warranty does not cover most routine maintenance costs. Instead, the warranty covers the cost of mechanical repairs that are needed while the warranty is valid.

The table below shows what the Tesla factory warranties cover:

Tesla Warranty CoverageModelTerm
Basic Vehicle Limited WarrantyAll Tesla models4 years/50,000 miles
Battery and Drive UnitTesla Model S and Model X8 years/150,000 miles
Battery and Drive UnitTesla Model 3 and Model Y
(Standard Range)
8 years/100,000 miles
Battery and Drive UnitTesla Model 3 and Model Y
(Long Range)
8 years/120,000 miles
Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)All Tesla models5 years/60,000 miles
Body RustAll Tesla Models12 years/unlimited miles

The Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty is the most comprehensive, as it covers most Tesla vehicle parts. The Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty is Tesla’s version of a powertrain warranty. For all models, there is a minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over this warranty period. 

The Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty is the most comprehensive, as it covers most Tesla vehicle parts. The Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty is Tesla’s version of a powertrain warranty. For all models, there is a minimum 70% retention of battery capacity over this warranty period. 

Tesla Extended Service Agreement

For owners that want to continue their warranty coverage after their factory warranty expires, Tesla offers an Extended Service Agreement (ESA). However, the ESA is only available for Model S and Model X vehicles. And, importantly, it still doesn’t cover Tesla maintenance costs.

After your Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty expires, you can choose either two or four years of additional coverage through the ESA program. The battery and drive unit is not included in these agreements, as it will still be covered by its own warranty during this period. 

Plans must be purchased within 30 days or 1,000 miles of the expiration of the factory warranty. Typically, Tesla owners purchase an ESA within the first 180 days of delivery, because it can save them $500 on the extended coverage plan.

Tesla ESA Costs

Below is the cost of an ESA for a Florida resident purchasing a Model S. You should also be prepared to pay a $200 deductible for any repair or part replacement.

Tesla
Extended Warranty Terms
Cost If Purchased
Within 180 Days Of Delivery
Cost If Purchased
180 Days After Delivery
2 years/25,000 miles$2,100$2,600
4 years/50,000 miles$4,250$4,750

Can a Third-Party Warranty Cover Tesla Maintenance Costs?

You can also purchase extended warranty coverage for a Tesla from several independent companies. Some providers even offer specialty coverage for Teslas and other EVs. However, most still won’t cover the majority of maintenance costs.

Third-Party Tesla Extended Warranties

A warranty from an independent provider won’t cover your maintenance costs in most cases. However, if you want to extend your warranty coverage, third-party providers and plans may be a better option.

In the table below, you’ll find some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying extended coverage for your Tesla from an independent provider.

Third-Party Tesla Warranty ProsThird-Party Tesla Warranty Cons
Third-Party Tesla Warranty ProsThird-Party Tesla Warranty Cons
Typically four to six comprehensive plans to choose from, compared to Tesla’s two plansOnly certain warranty companies cover electric vehicles and luxury brands
Only bumper-to-bumper coverage is needed, as there are no powertrain parts in an electric vehiclePlans are not specific to Teslas and may not be available for all models
Offer lower prices and zero-interest payment plans that can help you budget for unexpected Tesla maintenance costs

How Can I Cover Tesla Maintenance Costs?

While most extended warranties won’t cover your regular maintenance, you may still be able to buy a plan that can. Many national repair chains and local service shops offer seasonal or annual maintenance plans that bundle common maintenance services – often at a discount.

However, before you agree to buy any plan, check to make sure that the service center can perform work on Tesla vehicles. Some services require specialized equipment that a shop may not have.

Tesla Maintenance Cost: Conclusion

Tesla vehicles may require fewer maintenance services than traditional ICE-powered vehicles, but they still do require some routine maintenance. And when they do, the individual maintenance services are often more expensive. In general, Tesla maintenance costs are estimated to be between $587 and $832 per year.

All new Teslas come with a factory warranty, and when it expires, owners can purchase an ESA to extend that coverage. Owners can also purchase an extended warranty from an independent provider, rather than from the manufacturer. However, while these plans will insulate you from the cost of expensive repairs, they won’t cover maintenance costs in most cases.

Recommendations for Extended Auto Warranties

Searching for extended warranty plans for your Tesla vehicle may be difficult because not all companies cover luxury brands and electric vehicles. However, one reputable extended car warranty company, CarShield, does offer plans for Tesla models.

CarShield: Most Affordable for Tesla Owners

If you’re looking for an industry-leading warranty company that offers extended warranties for Tesla drivers, CarShield is a great option. In total, CarShield offers six levels of warranty coverage, but these are the four that may be best for your Tesla:

  • Diamond: Bumper-to-bumper coverage that’s best for new cars
  • Platinum: Stated-component coverage that’s best for high-mileage vehicles
  • Gold: Enhanced powertrain coverage that’s best for drivers of unreliable vehicles
  • Aluminum: Specialty plan that’s best for cars with high-tech components, such as Teslas

CarShield has been in business for 16 years and is available in all states except California. The company currently holds a 4.2-star rating from our review team and a 4.0 out of 5.0-star customer rating from Trustpilot, a credible review website.

All plans for self-driving and electric cars from CarShield come with roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement. These additional services are a great safety net if your Model X runs out of power before reaching a supercharger.

If you want to learn more about extended warranty coverage from this provider, our detailed CarShield review can help you get started. Or, to see right away how much a CarShield plan would cost for your Tesla.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Tesla maintenance cost?

Your total Tesla maintenance cost will depend on which model you drive. Within the first year, you will likely have to pay for tire rotations, new windshield wiper blades, and a replacement cabin air filter, which may cost around $350 total. 

How long do Tesla batteries last?

Tesla’s high-voltage battery capacities do decline over time with normal use. If your battery capacity dips below a 70% retention within your first eight years of vehicle ownership, Tesla will cover a replacement under the Battery and Drive Unit Limited Warranty. 

Do Teslas require a lot of maintenance?

No, Teslas do not require a lot of maintenance compared to a gas car, which helps keep your Tesla maintenance costs low. This is because these vehicles have only a fraction of the moving parts that a gas-powered internal combustion engine vehicle has.

How much is 10-year maintenance on a Tesla?

According to an estimate from CarEdge, the average 10-year maintenance cost for Tesla vehicles is $5,867. However, this is an average for the brand as a whole and costs vary by model.

Our Methodology

Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best extended auto warranty providers.

  • Affordability: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team performs ongoing secret shopper analyses for different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations to give this rating.
  • Coverage: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that a car warranty company offers an array of coverage options. We take into account the number of plans offered by each provider, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
  • Industry Standing: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, availability, and years in business when giving this score.
  • Customer Service: Reputable extended car warranty companies operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We take into account customer reviews, BBB complaints, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.