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First Year Ownership Costs for Model S - Incredible Value

mshuang

Member
May 19, 2015
88
49
Southern CA
I'm almost a year into owning my Model S (a month and half away), and of my previous cars the Model S has had the lowest service and maintenance costs of all the cars I've ever had.

I think one of the things that amazes me day to day is how much is included with the Model S -- so many things that I paid for in other vehicles is standard. The last new car I bought was a 2001 Toyota Celica. After buying it, I paid around $2500 for a aftermarket GPS/Infotainment/iPod system, and $700 for LoJack to be installed. If I had added Bluetooth integration it would have cost another $200. That's almost $4000 in features that comes standard with the Model S.

Recently, as I passed the 12,500 mile mark I took my Model S in for the annual inspection. They found that my passenger door handle was malfunctioning and replaced it at no cost. For $600 they replaced my windshield wipers, checked everything, rotated the tires, replaced the batteries on the fobs, and gave me a loaner for the day.

I drive less now than I did in 2001, and after a year in the Celica, I had accumulated over 20,000 miles. On my Celica, I had to do the following: 6 oil changes, 10k, 15k, and 20k services. Total cost of oil changes and services for the Celica in 2001: $750. That cost does not include loaner rentals when it went in for major services, which could easily add on another $200 or so. On my Celica, I also had to replace tires at 30k (3 years later) for $450. I expect I'll have to do the same for the Model S (if not later -- the amount of tread left after a year is pretty good).

I was also surprised at the rates for insurance for the two cars : (granted I was younger in 2001, but still). Toyota Celica in 2001: 1500 per six month period. Tesla Model S in 2015: 700 per six month period. In 2016, the Celica is still being insured for $450 per six month period, and the Tesla for $675, which amounts to just a $33 difference per month.

I've put over 175k miles on the Celica, and probably put in 25k over the course of 15 years into misc service and maintenance costs not including insurance, and 10k worth of gasoline. Taking all the costs into account, I would have been far better off with a Model S in 2001 had they existed.

I'm really looking forward to owning my Model S for many years to come.
 

Maximus8

Member
Jan 2, 2016
149
68
NorCal
I agree that the lower maintenance costs for the MS beats a lot of ICE vehicles. In your comparison, you mentioned the aftermarket cost for Nav and infotainment system. Probably need to mention that a lot has changed in that market from 2001 to 2016. Today, you're probably paying less money for the same features and/or getting more features for the same money.
 

Drivin

Member
Feb 7, 2016
955
371
CA
I'm almost a year into owning my Model S (a month and half away), and of my previous cars the Model S has had the lowest service and maintenance costs of all the cars I've ever had.

Recently, as I passed the 12,500 mile mark I took my Model S in for the annual inspection. They found that my passenger door handle was malfunctioning and replaced it at no cost. For $600 they replaced my windshield wipers, checked everything, rotated the tires, replaced the batteries on the fobs, and gave me a loaner.

I drive less now than I did in 2001, and after a year in the Celica, I had accumulated over 20,000 miles. On my Celica, I had to do the following: 6 oil changes,

I've put over 175k miles on the Celica, and probably put in 25k over the course of 15 years into misc service and maintenance costs not including insurance, and 10k worth of gasoline. Taking all the costs into account, I would have been far better off with a Model S in 2001 had they existed.

I'm really looking forward to owning my Model S for many years to come.

It is a bit of apples and oranges.
Oil changes now are at 10000 miles. If you did 6 oil changes in 20000 miles, looks like you were doing them at around 3000 miles.

I would be surprised if you are going to spend less that 25k over 15 years to maintain a Tesla to 175000 miles (that door handle repair is around $800), and after year 8, issues with the battery and motors will probably be expensive.
If it costs $600 for an inspection, new batteries and wipers for a car that is practically brand new, it will be interesting to see what that costs when the car has significant wear and tear on it.
 

mshuang

Member
May 19, 2015
88
49
Southern CA
I agree that the lower maintenance costs for the MS beats a lot of ICE vehicles. In your comparison, you mentioned the aftermarket cost for Nav and infotainment system. Probably need to mention that a lot has changed in that market from 2001 to 2016. Today, you're probably paying less money for the same features and/or getting more features for the same money.

This is true, although for most automakers (like Lexus), even in 2016, adding a GPS/Infotainment/iPod/Bluetooth integration system is a $3500 option.

- - - Updated - - -

Oil changes now are at 10000 miles. If you did 6 oil changes in 20000 miles, looks like you were doing them at around 3000 miles.
I would be surprised if you are going to spend less that 25k over 15 years to maintain a Tesla to 175000 miles (that door handle repair is around $800), and after year 8, issues with the battery and motors will probably be expensive.
If it costs $600 for an inspection, new batteries and wipers for a car that is practically brand new, it will be interesting to see what that costs when the car has significant wear and tear on it.

Yes, I was doing oil changes every 3k or so.

$600 every year for 15 years would only be 9k. If yearly costs for the Celica had remained at $750 for the 15 years, that would be something, but they did increase substantially through the years. These days, the upkeep of the Celica is almost twice that of 2001 -- it's about $300 for minor service and replacement parts and $600 for major service and parts -- this is not due to the cost of parts but the rise in cost of labor.

Yes, I am curious as well as to what the Model S will cost from year 8 onwards -- but for now I'm just ecstatic that one year of ownership has resulted in savings of several years of ICE ownership.
 

drsaab

Member
Oct 21, 2014
267
32
VA
It's not much less than a mercedes s class. The 10k is $250 20k is usually $500 the 30k is $250 and 40k is $700 and the 50k is $250. Needs brakes probably at 50k and tranny flush at 70k which would be about $600 each.

Your 12.5k service should have been $300 with the new pricing. You should inquire about that.
 

StaceyS

Member
Jul 10, 2015
210
49
Bend, OR United States
I'm 8 months in to my first year of ownership and so far, I think I've blown my previous ICE's costs out of the water, although these aren't specifically the Model S's fault.

Specifically, my snow tires and wheels were about $600 more than the snow and wheel package I bought for my last car. Additionally, I bought the Chademo adapter ($400), and a handful of extra UMC adapters ($135), a NEMA 14-50 extension cord, as well as a tire iron ($20) and a scissor jack ($40). We travel long distance in our Model S, and we felt these items were probably smart to have.

Aside from those expenditures, the Model S is doing great, mainly due to us having driven over 10,000 miles so far, the majority of those have been Supercharger provided miles, in other words, free!
 

pjoseph

Member
Jan 15, 2013
118
88
Austin, Texas
Anyone else reluctant to spend $475 on the first year service? Yes, the car is expensive but one of the promises of EVs is minimal maintenance. Did anyone do a DIY (or independent shop) Drive Unit fluid replacement? This one is only at year one and then not until year 5?

Maintenance Plans

As an aside, my Leaf is coming up on 6 years with $0 paid to Nissan. A couple of warranty replacements (onboard charger & traction battery) and a set of tires & a 12v battery is all i have had. But no, i am not buying another Nissan.
 
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jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,038
1,497
NJ
Recently, as I passed the 12,500 mile mark I took my Model S in for the annual inspection. They found that my passenger door handle was malfunctioning and replaced it at no cost. For $600 they replaced my windshield wipers, checked everything, rotated the tires, replaced the batteries on the fobs, and gave me a loaner for the day.

Replacing your door handle is a warranty claim, not sure how you think having something break in 12k miles is a good thing. You should expect many more of those, just wait till your warranty is up and they are $2k a pop at the service center.

New Wipers, key fob batteries, and a tire rotation would run you like $100 for an ICE.

On my last BMW my maintenance costs for the first 4 years were $0.

So far my Tesla's maintenance costs are way higher than any other car I've owned.
 

number12

Supporting Member
Aug 16, 2016
1,535
769
Tesla
How much did your celica depreciate the first year vs tesla? Or does that not count in cost of ownership?
Interest on total price?
Sales tax a year depending on state?
Windshield crack on the X cost me $1400... what line do I put that under?
I have to drive 3 hours to the closest SC..

This thread makes my head hurt for some reason.
 
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SocalMS

Member
Feb 22, 2017
227
309
Los Angeles
I'm almost a year into owning my Model S (a month and half away), and of my previous cars the Model S has had the lowest service and maintenance costs of all the cars I've ever had.

I think one of the things that amazes me day to day is how much is included with the Model S -- so many things that I paid for in other vehicles is standard. The last new car I bought was a 2001 Toyota Celica. After buying it, I paid around $2500 for a aftermarket GPS/Infotainment/iPod system, and $700 for LoJack to be installed. If I had added Bluetooth integration it would have cost another $200. That's almost $4000 in features that comes standard with the Model S.



** Many of these things may be standard today.




Recently, as I passed the 12,500 mile mark I took my Model S in for the annual inspection. They found that my passenger door handle was malfunctioning and replaced it at no cost. For $600 they replaced my windshield wipers, checked everything, rotated the tires, replaced the batteries on the fobs, and gave me a loaner for the day.


** Replacing a malfunctioning door handle is what they are supposed to do under warranty. The better question is, why is it malfunctioning in the first place? That's a quality issue...



I drive less now than I did in 2001, and after a year in the Celica, I had accumulated over 20,000 miles. On my Celica, I had to do the following: 6 oil changes, 10k, 15k, and 20k services. Total cost of oil changes and services for the Celica in 2001: $750. That cost does not include loaner rentals when it went in for major services, which could easily add on another $200 or so. On my Celica, I also had to replace tires at 30k (3 years later) for $450. I expect I'll have to do the same for the Model S (if not later -- the amount of tread left after a year is pretty good).

I was also surprised at the rates for insurance for the two cars : (granted I was younger in 2001, but still). Toyota Celica in 2001: 1500 per six month period. Tesla Model S in 2015: 700 per six month period. In 2016, the Celica is still being insured for $450 per six month period, and the Tesla for $675, which amounts to just a $33 difference per month.

I've put over 175k miles on the Celica, and probably put in 25k over the course of 15 years into misc service and maintenance costs not including insurance, and 10k worth of gasoline. Taking all the costs into account, I would have been far better off with a Model S in 2001 had they existed.



** You're discounting the cost of replacing expensive high performance tires (compared to a Toyota), and the expensive up front costs of a 100K car. Also consider the following future costs:
a. If you get into an accident, your car will likely be in the shop for 3-6 months And you're responsible for the loaner.
b. Once the car is out of warranty, the Cost of Ownership is a big unknown.


I'm really looking forward to owning my Model S for many years to come.


You can't argue that it's cheaper to own a 100K Tesla vs a $20K Toyota.

The comparison doesn't make sense.

You already have 80K more into the Tesla.

If you want an affordable, practical car, buy a Prius. If you want a high performance car on par w/ Audi/BMW/MB/Porsche... Then Tesla is an option..

But to laud about how you've "saved" money is silly.
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,470
South Surrey, BC
I've spent $34 on my LEAF over 3 years (new wipers and new cabin air filter and washer fluid). It will need new tires soon. 28k miles.

You're lucky. The driver's window stopped rolling down on my Leaf. I googled it and it's a common problem. I bought the part for $300 and replaced it myself. Then the brake actuator stopped working - also a common problem. That cost me $1,200 for the part and $200 for Nissan to replace it since I wasn't about to do that repair myself. I was almost not going to do that repair at all but my daughters drive the Leaf and I couldn't risk their safety.
 

Chopr147

Active Member
Apr 3, 2016
1,939
1,348
Wantagh, NY
To the OP. I am feeling the same way. It's great having a low maintenance vehicle and I know i'm not "saving" money with my 85k car. :)
But it still feels good. I had a Yukon XL and spent on average $300 a month for gas. Never mind the brake jobs,oil changes etc....I took my S in for an on-board charger replacement last September. A pessimist may point to QC issues and new cars should not have these problems etc..............Me? I enjoyed 4 days of a Model S with a VIN# of 1200 as a loaner. It was interesting to drive one of the earliest versions.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,649
6,592
Chicago, IL
You're lucky. The driver's window stopped rolling down on my Leaf. I googled it and it's a common problem. I bought the part for $300 and replaced it myself. Then the brake actuator stopped working - also a common problem. That cost me $1,200 for the part and $200 for Nissan to replace it since I wasn't about to do that repair myself. I was almost not going to do that repair at all but my daughters drive the Leaf and I couldn't risk their safety.

Interesting. My brother has a leaf and has had no issues either. Obviously anecdotes only mean so much. I thought the car had a warranty that should cover those issues? We've had no issues even Uber warranty. I might shell out the 200 to get 3G and app access. Not super eager with my S completely filling my car needs.
 

David99

Active Member
Jan 31, 2014
4,850
7,023
Brea, Orange County
I'm glad you love your Tesla, but you are comparing apples and oranges. The Model S/X is not a car that saves you money. Comparing features from 2001 and 2017 is not working. Comparing features from a $30k car to a $90k car makes no sense. warranty repairs are not saving costs.

I drove 115k miles in my Model S and yes the running cost is lower for sure. No gas, no oil changes, timing belts, spark plugs and labor to do all that work. But that's not significant compared to the higher price of the Tesla in the first place. A comparable ICE car is much less.
Once your warranty is gone you looking at prices of a luxury car. My car is 3 years old and slowly but steadily things go bad that will cost me. Insurance is definitely higher on a Model S/X. Also pray you never get in an accident. Repairs on the aluminum body are super pricy and long delays because there are very few certified body shops. I payed $9000 for a rear bumper replacement. almost $10k for a rear quarter panel. 11 weeks in the shop because Tesla didn't have these common parts in stock and the body shop was super busy.

I also think a $600 service that only inspects the car and replaces the wipers is a good deal. Elon even admitted that.
 

Canuck

Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2013
6,125
5,470
South Surrey, BC
I thought the car had a warranty that should cover those issues?

It's only four years unless it's the drive train and my problems were not drive train related. During the 4 year warranty, my 12 volt battery died -- another common problem with the Leaf (and Tesla) -- and the new one was not even covered but it was pro-rated. In fact, Nissan tried to charge me the full price until I showed them the part of the warranty that covered it, subject to the pro-rating.

When the 12 volt battery died in my Tesla recently, it didn't cost me a dime. And it didn't just die in my Tesla like my Leaf. My Tesla gave me a warning to replace the 12volt battery soon. There's no similar warning with a Leaf.

I might shell out the 200 to get 3G and app access.

I tried to get Nissan to do that when it was in for the brake actuator replacement but the service manager told me that Nissan told him to stop doing them. He couldn't even provide me with an explanation as to why but he did say he will call me when he is allowed to do them again. It sure sounded strange to me.
 
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