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Long term service considerations

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by smorgasbord, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    There's what I believe some myth around Roadster servicing The Hong Kong video posted recently has a Tesla employee (I assume) talking about servicing windshield wipers, tires, and brake pads "That's it."

    I don't think that's true.

    I can count at least 5 fluids:
    a) Battery Coolant
    b) Brake Fluid
    c) A/C coolant (OK, so it's a gas, but it's a fluid at some temp ;^)
    d) Final gear oil (maybe not replaceable without dismantling, which would be big $$)
    e) Rack and pinion steering oil

    What else can go wrong?

    A/C systems break, I don't know much about the heater in the Roadster. And, the electric fans that run when charging, etc. - what kind of motor is in those and what's the expected life? Suspensions are pretty robust, but shocks do wear.

    A car is a tough environment. How many PEM failures have been reported?

    What else?

    I love my Roadster. I'm just concerned that while servicing is way better than ICEVs, it's not as low maintenance as is sometimes being touted.
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    The motor cooling fan (and the one for the PEM on newer models) has been a weak point from what I can tell.
    You can find many threads of those being replaced, particularly if the car is driven in a dirty environment.

    Probably the number one maintenance item is tires. But this is a very high performance car and that basically "comes with the territory."
     
  3. Also the maintenance costs are higher than normal, I think tesla charges ~$110/hr labor rate. This coupled with the expensive yearly maintenance makes it on par with an ICE car...
     
  4. Nik

    Nik Dreaming no more :-(

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    A gas is a form of fluid, so don't worry on that score.

    I can't comment on the others, but IME re-gassing an aircon system tends to cost around £30/$50, and needs doing every 2 or 3 years from when a car is about 6 years old. The relatively temperate climate around here is supposed to be a disadvantage, as the seals on the a/c dry out if left unused for long periods.
     
  5. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    While I agree with you I think that the fine print "he says", is "Maintenance" as in regular maintenance, or, every time you bring it in. All your mentioned fluids are pretty far apart in time or mileage before exchanging. By the time an ICE car gets there it has seen a lot of oil changes, filters and engine adjustments (and gas tanks filied) by then, so it's relative. As for breakage, they do not say things do not break. That would be a big fat lie.
     
  6. S-2000 Roadster

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    I believe that Tesla uses synthetic gear oil. This should mean that you can drive a lot of miles before that needs to be replaced. It also should mean that you're getting better performance from the gear as well as an increased life span compared to dino-oil.
     
  7. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    Yeah, I'm just real sensitive to that right now, as the transmission in my X5 developed a slight leak. But, since there's no dip stick no-one can check the level nor add fluid without removing the whole bottom pan. So $800 I have a new $35 bottom pan gasket. And new fluid. And all the labor. To me "lifetime fluid" means "really expensive to replace" fluid.
     
  8. dwegmull

    dwegmull 2013 Model S 85

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    The yearly service in the US, at a store is $600. For that price they check the AC (which is a critical component as it is used to cool the battery pack), run an overnight, in depth battery test. They also pull logs from the car and send them to the engineering department. They remove the PEM to clean out any dust and debris that might hinder air cooling. They also update the firmware, check all the fluids and clean the car inside and out. Every time a car is in for any kind of minor service (for example, my windshield wiper washer quit working), they will run an hour long battery diagnostic "for R&D purposes". The last time I was in, I got a phone call a couple of days later to inform me that one of the boards in my battery pack was showing some abnormal reading and might fail prematurely. I brought the car back in and they swapped the board at no extra cost, even though it had not yet failed!
    The point I'm trying to get across here is that Tesla service is thorough and very professional. I don't mind spending $600 a year for it.
     
  9. Doesn't the yearly maintenance fee (regardless of mileage driven) make the maintenance costs of the Roadster very similar to an ICE car? Don't get me wrong I also got the checklist of things they checked when I brought my Roadster (and thought that it was pretty thorough) in for service, but I do not see how this is any different than bringing in a Mercedes or BMW in for an "A" service. At least on an ICE car its based on the mileage etc driven and not just based on a rigid yearly time frame.
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yes, the cost isn't much different. On the other hand they expect me to bring in my ICE car four times a year, which is annoying.
     
  11. tennis_trs

    tennis_trs 2010 2.0 Roadster Sport

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    I believe that the regular maintenance for the BMWs and Porsche I've owned were all every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first, just like for the Tesla.

    I expect that EVs will cost less in maintenance for cheaper, higher volume models. I didn't expect anything to be cheap about owning a $100++k, very new type of car.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    So would you have changed oil at every 3K miles? How much in that ICE 12K maintenance visit?
     
  13. tennis_trs

    tennis_trs 2010 2.0 Roadster Sport

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    My BMWs and Porsche would indicate when to change the oil, and it ended up being about 11-13K miles between oil changes (synthetic and of course expensive). I don't remember what was done at the ICE 12/12 visits; I think it cost a little more than the Tesla $600, but not much more; I mentioned that fixed maintenance due to the previous post that I had quoted that had indicated that ICEs didn't have maintenance based on the calendar (maybe cheaper ICEs don't? Maybe cheaper EVs won't?).
     
  14. S-2000 Roadster

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    I've used Amsoil synthetic on all of my vehicles. Service interval is 12 months or 25,000 miles for gas engines, 6 months or 12,500 miles for diesel (due to the sooting, I imagine). That's with their air and oil filters to keep the oil as clean as possible. You can install a bypass filter in addition, and this allows you to run the oil indefinitely, but you need to periodically test the oil via analysis to determine when to change - and also to see if the engine is wearing out and leaving particles in the oil.

    One thing is that oils do deteriorate over time. Just as someone mentioned earlier in this thread, brake fluid absorbs moisture over time and should be replaced even if you don't drive the vehicle. Same is true of oil, although the reasons and time frame vary.

    Bottom line: The synthetic oil in the Roadster transmission should last quite a while, and I presume the schedule is somewhere in the manual. At least the computer will tell you when.
     
  15. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    Indeed the 12/12 routine maintennce is about $600. I'm about to go in for my 2nd one. I made a reservation to do so next week, but in the mean time, the "Routine Maintenance Alert" pings me each time I start up the car. I asked if they could remotely shut that off and they said no, but that I could stop by to have it overridden until I come in next week (not possible). Any other ideas before I pull out my hair? (OK, not much hair left to pull out and it doesn't bother me that much either)
     
  16. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    #16 dhrivnak, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
    They would not give out the code to reset the "Routine Maintenance Alert", I know as I asked several times. I hope that changes in the future as I am 400 miles from the nearest service center so my annual maintenance is much higher than $600. But I do not plan to push the issue for another two years as I did have a plesant experience with the Ranger that come out to service the car.

    Now that said I have found with the annual "mandatory" servicing and a new set of rear tires that needed replaced after only 4500 miles. I can say I have spent more on Tesla maintenance in the last year than I have for for my 2004 Avalanche over 85,000 miles. I am used to doing all my car mainenance and I have never had a repair bill that exceeded $500 and I have kept all my ICE cars 90,000+ miles. Doing one's own maintenance is not really an option for an owner at this point.
     
  17. S-2000 Roadster

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    I have asked several times for a Service Manual from Tesla Motors for the Roadster, including on their web forum. So far, no response yet except other owners who somehow believe that I will electrocute myself if I try to repair the driver's window a decade from now.

    For a Tesla Roadster under warranty, I think it might be justifiable for Tesla Motors to say that owners are not allowed to perform their own maintenance. I'm not saying I would agree, or even like it, but they might have an argument. That said, unless they expect the Roadster to be completely useless after the warranty expires, I see no good reason why they do not have a publicly-available Service Manual like every other production car on the planet. If Tesla Motors wants to be taken seriously in the world of the big auto makers, then they need to make a Service Manual available. Looking at the presentations where Lotus Cars forced Tesla Motors to follow their NVI (New Vehicle Introduction) procedures, I'm actually quite surprised that they do not have anything (besides electronic files marked Proprietary and only available to staff).

    As a point of reference, I have a 21-year-old vehicle with parts that are no longer manufactured and a 12-year-old vehicle that is no longer manufactured at all. My newest vehicle besides the Tesla is 11 years old. I purchased the official Service Manuals for all of these vehicles the year that I purchased them (because you probably won't find a Service Manual for a vehicle after the warranty expires), in one case spending as much as $600 for bound shop books with a CD-ROM update subscription. Considering how many times these Service Manuals have saved the day, I'm actually feeling quite insecure about the long-term future of my Roadster.
     
  18. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I really do hope they provide or allow us to buy the manual or DVD at some point. Maybe if enough of us keep asking they will relent after the warranties are up. Like you I have built and repaired many things including designing and building my house and even doing the electrical. So I am confident that many of the Tesla owners can and would even want to do their own servicing. We seem to have some very smart, hands on types in this forum.

    Allow us to buy a service manual in no way dimishes the need for service centers, it just give owners other options and opportunities.
     
  19. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    If you search the forums long enough (or know the right people on here) you'll know the "code" to reset the messages yourself.
     
  20. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    Or you could point us in the right direction... Amigo!
     

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