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How reliable is your Tesla so far?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by G-F, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. G-F

    G-F Member

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    Hi, new member posting here for the first time.

    I have been following the brand for some time now and I'm starting to get really serious into buying a Tesla S in the near future.

    I tested a 85 model and would probably spend the extra $$ for a P85.

    I'm a former race car driver (F2000), BMWCCA instructor and this will be my daily driver. I'd keep my 911 turbo as my weekend car. I don't plan on taking the Tesla on a race track (in case some of you might ask).

    My #1 concern right now is reliability. That's pretty much the only aspect of the car that's still not clear for me. The car has been on the road for a short while now and I wonder how is the reliability? Any cracking/squeaking noises? I plan on keeping the car for a long time and want a trouble free car. I feel that the Tesla can be a great and reliable car, but searching on the internet I found some people having problems. So I figured better ask the actual owners directly.

    The other option is a Porsche Panamera. I'm still pretty much on the fence between these two.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Edgewood Dome

    Edgewood Dome Member

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    I'm close to 16k miles and 16 months, very solid so far. I think some of the very early vins had a few problems, but that is to be expected and as far as I know Tesla Service has always quickly fix all problems.
     
  3. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    It depends on what you consider the definition of reliable. Breakdowns are pretty rare, and some of the early cars had minor issues like pano roof creaks, steering rack clunks etc. I think that most of the issues have been addressed through part revisions etc. my car is a fairly early car, and I have only had a few minor things happen in 22k miles.

    I would definitely go for it again, since no other car really compares.
     
  4. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    #4 yobigd20, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
    the only "breakdowns" that I am aware of are usually owners with 21" low profiles that blew them out on potholes and/or bent their rims (get 19s instead and go aftermarket with better 19" rims & tires like I did). There have been a few instances of not-so-brilliant people trying to go another 20 miles when they reach 0 miles range left and they've needed to be towed (obviously). so they are not *true* breakdowns but rather ID-10T owner-errors.

    I only have 2 reliability concerns.

    one is the drive unit whirring/milling noises that develop after a good about of miles and are causing a high number of drive units to be swapped/replaced. seems like a gearbox issue. These are just noises, though they can get louder over time. I've never heard of an actual drive unit failure that broke down the vehicle. I'm sure they (Fremont) are on top of the drive unit investigation and are working as hard as possible to resolve this permanently. I've had mine replaced at 51k miles for this. I personally know a bunch of owners that had to have theres replaced, and there are a few on here that are on their 3rd/4th drive unit (including Edmunds). One survey of around 250 owners show about 14% drive unit failure rate. But you could interpret that many ways. In one sense you could say the survey is skewed since it wasnt random. In another way you could just say that the reason it isn't higher is because a lot of the people haven't driven they're car enough yet to develop the noise.

    the second concern I have has to deal with the car holding alignment. many owners are having to replace tires very frequently. Some even on the order of every 3-5k miles (usually 21" owners). the issue seems to be the combination of high negative camber (by design), plus TOE OUT on the rear tires (NOT by design). many of these cars don't seem to be holding their alignment, even after just being aligned. there are even cases of owners getting alignments at a tesla service center, then driving down the street to a third party shop and checking the alignments and still showing toe-out. this seems to indicate additional problems with the alignment machines themselves. the result is inside edge wear right down to the cords pretty quickly while all the treads still show good 7-8/32" tread depth. Tesla tried to bandaid this is adjustable negative camber bolts but that doesn't solve the toe-out problem. if you have the P85+ and are driving around with the expensive michelins, this could be very costly to replace your tires every 5-10km miles as those tires are something like $600-900 each. 19" owners have the same problem but the frequency is less. something on the order of 15-20k mileage replacements for inner tire wear.

    I'm not trying to steer you away though. Exact opposite. I highly recommend this car. In fact, I can't recommend any other car. Once you go Tesla you never go back. I'm looking forward to replacing my wife's ford flex with the Model X and we'll become a two-Tesla household. Tesla does seem to address all customer concerns and they seem to be doing the right thing eventually. It took them 2 summers to come out with a A/C compressor TSB to fix the loud A/C compressor. So eventually I expect them to fix the gearbox in the drive unit too and possible extend or create 100k powertrain warranty to appease current and future owners.

    So, in my opinion, I recommend you buy the car. :) You will not be disappointed.

    ***this post was mostly negative, lol, yet I still recommend the car. you asked about reliability concerns from owners though, so thats what I responded with. I could write a book though on all the great things about the car, but that is not what you asked for :)
     
  5. LMB

    LMB Member

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    (LMB spouse)

    Drive unit is on a separate sub-chassis. Replacement time is about three hours.
     
  6. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    #6 mnx, Jul 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
    Have you driven the Model S yet? If you're in the area you can take mine for a spin. :) I'm sure you'll forget you even thought about the Panamera. :)

    Re; Reliability, no major issues but several minor ones: (in 18 months and 33,000km)

    - I had a stress fracture develop on my windshield.
    - My charge port stopped working
    - passenger side door handle didn't extend 3% of the time
    - one of my LED map lights doesn't work (still need to get that one fixed)
    - charge cable was replaced due to getting extremely hot (twice)

    I guess the charge port could be considered a major issue, but it was acting finicky for a little while so I wasn't surprised when it totally quit working. As always Tesla picked up my car, left a loaner and brought back my car within 24h. Painless!
     
  7. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    After 3 months and 12000 km , I have not had any problem with reliability.
    I haven't had any of the other minor issues that earlier cars had.
    I did take it to the service center once to put a noise dampening fix on the A/C, and the service was great.

    The model S is my only car. I sold my Nissan a week after getting the model S.

    I agree with MNX... you need to test drive it. If you are in my area, give me a shout.
     
  8. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    7 months and 8000+ miles. I have had zero reliability issues. I was asked to bring it in for a check when on a road trip to LA from Sacramento due to a shutdown that lasted 15 min. No problem was found, never a problem since. I am bringing it in to the service center for the first time on my own this week for a few rattles I am embarrassed to even bring up. At least it will give me a chance to check out the service center, get my titanium deflector installed and return the 14-50 adapter. It is WAY more reliable than any european car I have owned and probably even better than my Chevy Silverado.
     
  9. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I don't know that we have nearly enough data points to say whether "a high number of drive units" are being replaced.

    We have reports of them, but it's really hard to say if it's high or even if it's related to earlier VINs or not.
     
  10. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    agreed. I didn't know how else to describe it. it's unusual. we only really have the Plug in America data points to go off of. but the actual #/% only Tesla knows.
     
  11. Btrflyl8e

    Btrflyl8e Active Member

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    18,000 miles, no issues. I did have a coolant pump replaced, but the car told me and Tesla diagnosed without even seeing the car - I stopped in as soon as I got an error message and 10 min later drove off in another Tesla while they fixed it that day. Came back later and traded back for my own car. I had a creak coming from the driver's seat belt housing, took that in and they fixed it right away. The car's been completely silent since!
     
  12. tezzla

    tezzla Member

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    I had my 1st Tesla (S85) for 6 months and never saw the service center after picking it up. My 2nd Tesla (P85) is now 7 months old, I made one trip to service center to replace the charging port (the dash would report that the charge door was open (when it was closed), happened intermittently).
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    15 months and 28,000 miles. One charger and charge port replaced. I never actually had any time when I didn't have use of the car (other than the couple of hours the replacement took). I'd call this about as reliable as a car can be. It's about 10000% more reliable than the VW TDI which had to be towed several times over it's life and always had something wrong with it.
     
  14. FLDarren

    FLDarren Member

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    38 days in and 3,100 miles. No problems other than the screen freezing twice and rebooting.
     
  15. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    G-F,

    In the words of Tea Leoni "you are so screwed" :)

    Buy the MS. Reliability is not an issue full stop. My wife and I are on our second one (each) and I have placed five with friends. There have been ZERO let downs and three issues that required attention from Tesla when the driver owner had a chance to drop by the service center. It is a wonderful car that works very well and has exceptional quality.

    Now, back to that screwed comment.
    Once you go MS the old ICE simply will fail to excite. Yep, that goes for the turbo as well. My Maranello gets no love and, when I do take time to drive it, I never cease to be disappointed at the lack of throttle response, all the noise and, most of all, all the smell. MS simply spoils you.
     
  16. trils0n

    trils0n 2013 P85

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    I've had my car for about 16 months and 15k miles. No reliability issues. Only issues I've had have been some squeaks and rattles, which were fixed promptly by Tesla. My car was a fairly early build, vin 68xx, and had the pano roof creak. It is my understanding that this issue has been fixed with new builds.
     
  17. Seven7

    Seven7 Member

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    My mobile charger went bad, no big deal - called Tesla service and they fed ex'd me a new one less than 24 hours later.
     
  18. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    @OP Based on your previous cars I would recommend you look at a P85+ as the improved handling might be more valuable to you. I've heard that there is a quite noticeable difference in handling for the experienced driver. Lola et al can probably speak with more authority on the subject.
     
  19. G-F

    G-F Member

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    Thanks everyone! That's a whole lot of replies in a short time. This is a great community. :)

    Yes I test drove one. I tested the 85 but will probably get a lightly used P85 (can be bought for the same price).

    And yes I'm in trouble as no other car on the road excites me. I'll see if I get tired of the Turbo, but I'm a gear head. And I am not buying it to save on fuel (I have a company credit card that pays for my fuel) nor for the environmental aspect. I'm buying a Tesla because it is a great car. That's how impressed I was when I drove the car. The Turbo is modified and very powerful. Throttle response is nowhere near the Tesla's, but overall performance of the Turbo is stunning. But if I get tired of it, that's great. It means more money in my pockets. :)
     
  20. Pilot_51

    Pilot_51 Member

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    I just passed 1000 miles today. So, I haven't really given it the test of time or distance, but I'm extremely happy with it.

    The only issue I've had so far was on delivery day, when I noticed Bluetooth and wi-fi weren't working and the air suspension would go up but not down. I tried rebooting to fix it and the touchscreen got stuck on the bootup Tesla logo, repeated reboots didn't help. After about an hour on the phone with the very friendly owner support across the span of 2-3 hours around midnight, Tesla was able to remotely reboot it and the Bluetooth and wi-fi were fixed. For the air suspension, I was instructed to power down the car from the touchscreen and power back up by touching the brake, which resolved it. Since I live 235 miles from the nearest service center and I wanted to spend my staycation enjoying the car, having everything resolved remotely was a huge relief. If that were to happen in any other car, you're almost guaranteed a trip to the dealer. Despite the stress prior to getting it resolved, Tesla support was a very pleasant experience, I might say even worth having the issues to get my first taste of it.
     

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