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Long Term Roadster Ownership Jitters

I'm coming up on the last month of my 2010's extended warranty, so I took my car up to Fremont for them to look into the last few niggles and for them to give the car a once-over. The conversation I had with my advisor really worried me though:



  • They won't sell me another service warranty extension. To me, this means the $5000/3yrs (or even the $2000/yr) they charge isn't covering their costs.
  • I asked about a service manual, and he said they never had one. He went on to say that the Roadster service team was down to a experts that consulted with the original engineers when they had to. What happens when these guys quit (this is Silicon Valley, everyone quits at some point)?
  • Oh, and that I was lucky to be a Roadster owner near Fremont.
  • He mentioned the way they were looking into one of the problems I mentioned was driving other Roadsters and comparing. Wut?
  • They had to order a part, so I'm stuck in a loaner (a very nice P85+, so I ain't complaining), but I thought Fremont was the Center of the Tesla Universe. They don't have spare parts on hand?

That loaner got me thinking - the used Model S glut has brought down P85 prices to the point where I could contemplate doing a straight swap. I much prefer driving the Roadster (it really is a jet fighter to the P85's jet liner), and the feeling of exclusiveness it entails (people still take pictures of the Roadster when I drive by, vs. being stuck in traffic with a Model S in front of me and another a couple of cars behind me). On the other hand, a Model S would bring more peace of mind over the long term, and I could use it in situations where the Roadster would be a challenge, like driving down the coast.

So, folks, talk me out of selling my Roadster, please :)
 

DrComputer

TeslaClubLA President
Jan 29, 2009
1,206
694
Sherman Oaks, CA
My 2010 Roadster has been out of warranty for over three years and it hasn't cost me any more to maintain than the normal $600 yearly service and replacement tires. If the Roadster is your daily driver then maybe selling it and getting a Model S is the safe alternative. But if the Roadster is your "fun" car then I'd say keep it until something better comes along (new Tesla Roadster?) That's what I plan on doing.
 

augkuo

Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2011
1,033
3,013
Berkeley
I'm coming up on the last month of my 2010's extended warranty, so I took my car up to Fremont for them to look into the last few niggles and for them to give the car a once-over. The conversation I had with my advisor really worried me though:



  • They won't sell me another service warranty extension. To me, this means the $5000/3yrs (or even the $2000/yr) they charge isn't covering their costs.
  • I asked about a service manual, and he said they never had one. He went on to say that the Roadster service team was down to a experts that consulted with the original engineers when they had to. What happens when these guys quit (this is Silicon Valley, everyone quits at some point)? The service manual can be downloaded here - Welcome | Tesla Service

  • Oh, and that I was lucky to be a Roadster owner near Fremont. I think Burlingame is better since Johnny Chan is the manager there and has been through a lot of roadster problems
  • He mentioned the way they were looking into one of the problems I mentioned was driving other Roadsters and comparing. Wut? Yes what??? Typos/grammar or the service guy's poor english?
  • They had to order a part, so I'm stuck in a loaner (a very nice P85+, so I ain't complaining), but I thought Fremont was the Center of the Tesla Universe. They don't have spare parts on hand? Fremont is the Model S center, Roadster spare parts are probably at their Sunnyvale/Palo Alto SC

That loaner got me thinking - the used Model S glut has brought down P85 prices to the point where I could contemplate doing a straight swap. I much prefer driving the Roadster (it really is a jet fighter to the P85's jet liner), and the feeling of exclusiveness it entails (people still take pictures of the Roadster when I drive by, vs. being stuck in traffic with a Model S in front of me and another a couple of cars behind me). On the other hand, a Model S would bring more peace of mind over the long term, and I could use it in situations where the Roadster would be a challenge, like driving down the coast.

So, folks, talk me out of selling my Roadster, please :)

Model S prices will most likely keep coming down but your roadster will most likely go up in value - the scarcity of Roadsters and brand value will make it worth some coin one day ;)
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,434
2,879
Redmond, WA
My Roadster went out of warranty over 3 years ago. I worried about it at first (just like I worry every time I have a car go out of warranty), but I don't anymore. I suspect if you just keep driving it you, too, will be fine.

My wife's Model S is a great car, but there is no doubt the Roadster is, as you say, far more fun to drive. There are practical reasons (i.e. elderly parents) I am thinking I should switch to a 4-door EV; but so far I don't have to and I'm going to try to drag it out as long as possible.

I'm not so sure the Roadster's value will go up; but I am pretty sure it's at least going to depreciate more slowly. I don't like paying for repair costs; but I don't like paying for depreciation either. Let's call it a wash.

There are clearly pros and cons to both keeping the Roadster and switching to a Model S. Either way you're driving a Tesla, so things will be OK!
 
Great info - keep talking me down :)

Some questions/clarifications:

Regarding the service manual: has anyone looked into it? Is there information in there that can be leveraged by enthusiasts (I do almost all the work on my ICE cars once they're out of warranty)?

Regarding Burlingame: will do.

Regarding the 'poor english': I assume you're referring to the "Wut", which is a internetism for "what the hell?" - all the cool kids use it :). Seriously, though, If I complain about a clunk, or a weird throttle behavior, especially at the end of my warranty and facing extravagant service costs in the future, there should be a mode objective way to decide if the behavior is normal or not. The actual service guy's explanation was that the technicians were waiting for track time to determine if their other Roadsters do it. And by the way, if by 'their other Roadsters' they mean the couple of beaters they keep around as occasional loaners, I'm even less comforted.

Regarding the part: I was told about the need for a new part Monday, and the earliest I'm getting my car back is Friday, so I don't think 'shipping' is a matter of getting it across the Dumbarton.

I buy the argument that the Roadster will keep its value: even with all the new EV sports cars coming up, not the least being whatever Tesla is dreaming up, I'm certain nothing will ever quite match the Roadster, because it's designed to please such a narrow market, much like the Elise is before it (and you still can't buy anything like the Elise/Evora, although the alfa 4c comes close).

I guess it comes down to my tolerance for risk (which is basically a financial, not emotional, decision). I worry that the Roadster will follow the path of old Ferraris, which cost more to maintain than the typical (non-CA) mortgage, rather than of old Elises, for which you can drop in an entire new engine for $4000.
 

hcsharp

Active Member
Jun 7, 2011
3,452
1,557
Vermont
I'm coming up on the last month of my 2010's extended warranty, so I took my car up to Fremont for them to look into the last few niggles and for them to give the car a once-over. The conversation I had with my advisor really worried me though:



  • They won't sell me another service warranty extension. To me, this means the $5000/3yrs (or even the $2000/yr) they charge isn't covering their costs.
  • I asked about a service manual, and he said they never had one. He went on to say that the Roadster service team was down to a experts that consulted with the original engineers when they had to. What happens when these guys quit (this is Silicon Valley, everyone quits at some point)?
  • Oh, and that I was lucky to be a Roadster owner near Fremont.
  • He mentioned the way they were looking into one of the problems I mentioned was driving other Roadsters and comparing. Wut?
  • They had to order a part, so I'm stuck in a loaner (a very nice P85+, so I ain't complaining), but I thought Fremont was the Center of the Tesla Universe. They don't have spare parts on hand?

I think you were given some wrong information and might have also made some incorrect assumptions. I firmly believe they made good money on the extended warranties. Tesla had all the data they needed to make sure of that and margins are typically very high on those.

There is most definitely a service manual. You can buy it if you live in a state that requires they make it available to you like Massachusetts. Some people have moved there for a day in order to buy it.:wink:

Tesla has trained a lot of new techs to service Roadsters. They obviously don't have the same experience as the old guard but they are generally very good. There's plenty of people still at Tesla for them to consult with if necessary. The engineers did a good job of documenting what they did so if somebody leaves it's not the end of the world.

Depending on the problem, it's not necessarily a bad idea to drive another car in order to compare it to yours. Personally I wouldn't worry about that but again, it depends on the problem.

Usually they get parts right away but some things might take more time than others. I've never heard of a case of "We won't ever be able to get that particular part so you're SOL."

I've seen enough evidence that Tesla is strongly committed to supporting Roadster owners going forward that I'm not worried about it.
 

gregd

Active Member
Dec 31, 2014
2,622
1,849
CM98
I've seen enough evidence that Tesla is strongly committed to supporting Roadster owners going forward that I'm not worried about it.

This has been my experience also. When I had my PEM cooling issues earlier this year, the local SC had to go to the engineering dept back in the Bay Area for help, as the problem was not being solved by the known remedies. This, at a Service Center with some of the more senior Techs from the early days. And they did eventually come up with a solution, and the cost to me was mostly just the incremental labor involved, not all the troubleshooting and such they did along the way.

This is still a development platform, and Tesla is still learning (and we as a commuinity are still contributing) to the making of a great car. But the experience that I had confirms that they understand this, and are supportive of our community and the cars we drive.

My only regret in buying the car is that I didn't do it earlier.
 
They won't sell me another service warranty extension. To me, this means the $5000/3yrs (or even the $2000/yr) they charge isn't covering their costs.

My CPO 2010 roadster warranty just expired and I purchased the extended warranty for 3 yrs ($5K) a few months ago. I find it very interesting that now they won't sell you an extension.

My roadster is my daily driver and I'm getting close to about 50K miles on it. I did purchase the extension for peace of mind, but I plan to keep driving my car regardless of warranty until I can't get any appreciable mileage out of the battery (and then hopefully replacement battery packs will be cheaper).
 

bobinfla

S-Vin 4086 Rdstr-Vin 0019
Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2012
363
1,561
Land O'Lakes
My two cents. Two and a half years ago, I sent a very large check to a man I'd never met, so he could ship me a car that I'd never seen, so I guess I don't qualify as being very risk-adverse. And had I been, I would have gotten my sense of humor back, or had a complete emotional breakdown when it crapped out in less than 2 miles the first time I drove it and had to be towed away.

My Roadster has not had a warranty since I got it, and it has been somewhat troublesome. Part of it I attribute to the changes the car went through in going from being little used (23k miles in 5 years) to a daily driver (32k miles in 2 1/2 years), and also moving from Oakland where there is apparently no weather to Florida WHERE IT IS HOT. AND WET. AND HOTTER.

I have replaced the 9 Volt controller, Air Conditioner, windshield wiper motor, trunk release, and the battery. Actually replaced battery twice since the first replacement ran into problems within a month, so got swapped again. Also had some weird buggy electrical things happening when I had a seal allow moisture into the wiring, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting some things. That's quite a few trips to the shop, and a bunch of time waiting for parts, and yes, some of it was pricey. Funny story, but someone posted a picture of my car in the "Random Roadster Sightings" thread, and before I got online an claimed it, someone else local had posted that they thought it was one of Tesla's loaners since they'd seen it around the service center quite a lot.

Anyway, though some have been fortunate, there's no guarantees that an older Roadster will be trouble-free, and once it's out of warranty repairs can be a bit pricey, so there is some financial risk. However, parts have not been a problem (may take some time, but they've always come up with them). And the local Service Technicians have been great in taking care of my Roadsters, and seem to have all the support they need back in California.

So now that I've had the thrill of driving one, I couldn't imagine getting rid of my Roadster and I have faith that Tesla will keep it running for me.
 

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