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Model 3 annual/25k miles maintenance

Electroman

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Aug 18, 2012
6,396
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TX
At 12 months I called Tesla Service to fix an appt for maintenance, and I was told there is really nothing like an annual service, and I was asked to call back after 2 years or 25k miles. So here I am at 25k miles in about 19 months and so fixed an appt for service through the Tesla app. In the notes I wrote, "No issues, car runs like new".


So below is the work order and "Service Estimate charges" document I was sent, for me to accept ahead of the service date.

Three items: Wheel alignment, Tire Rotation and Windshield washer fluid top off - $282.75

Really is that it? I am sure there should be some more checks right..? What about battery coolant check? other fluids? Brakes? no need to check anything on the brakes?

I would rather go to Discount Tire and do the alignment for less $100. Rotation is free.


upload_2019-11-10_1-7-1.png
 
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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
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Vernon, BC, Canada
They changed from recommending changing the coolant every so often (2 years I think?) to never needing replacement. I doubt that myself. IMO it should at least be checked.

Not saying this is what Tesla does, but your brakes should also be checked and serviced. Even if there isn't much wear on the pads, other things can go wrong and it's good to refresh the necessary lubrication there. Related, likely is fine for a while yet but don't forget to replace brake fluid at some point.

You can either ask Tesla service to check the above things instead of pretending they never need so much as a quick check, or you can take your business to another mechanic that is comfortable with doing an actual yearly checkup/maintenance. The only unique thing about the Tesla in this case is the rear caliper is tricky with the parking brake timeout.
 

Electroman

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Aug 18, 2012
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TX
i would like them to check if the car is mechanically sound. The wheels, whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV, the brakes, the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels, and every other mechanical component that would have had some wear over the 25k miles of driving.

To say, everything will be fine, don't worry, call back if you have an issue - doesn't seem right to me.
 
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destructure00

Active Member
Mar 2, 2019
1,476
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Scottsdale, AZ
i would like them to check if the car is mechanically sound. The wheels, whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV, the brakes, the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels, and every other mechanical component that would have had some wear over the 25k miles of driving.

To say, everything will be fine, don't worry, call back if you have an issue - doesn't seem right to me.

Not necessary, but it's your money...
 

ewoodrick

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2018
5,285
4,270
Buford, GA
i would like them to check if the car is mechanically sound. The wheels, whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV, the brakes, the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels, and every other mechanical component that would have had some wear over the 25k miles of driving.

To say, everything will be fine, don't worry, call back if you have an issue - doesn't seem right to me.

So if you aren't sure that the car is going to be mechanically sound, why not check it every month, or week, or even day.

Tesla has reviewed the service records and the fluids and everything that was required on a service check and found that historically, they've not found any issues. Initially in the Model 3 it was every two years, but that got dropped. It's just not needed.

It also starts to fall inline with their desire to design the semi to be able to run maintenance free for a million miles.
 
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M3FNATIK

Recovering BMW Addict
Nov 9, 2019
256
167
SoCal
i would like them to check if the car is mechanically sound. The wheels, whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV, the brakes, the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels, and every other mechanical component that would have had some wear over the 25k miles of driving.

To say, everything will be fine, don't worry, call back if you have an issue - doesn't seem right to me.

Usually this would be the owner's responsibility if they aren't currently experiencing problems. I know you just want peace of mind, but unless you have a problem, the car manufacture won't pay their techs to inspect your car so you can feel good about it or for them to find something wrong so that they have to fix it. Its just how the industry works. But if you want peace of mind, I would ask them if you could pay them to inspect your car for issues, sorta like a pre-purchase inspection would work when buying a used car. Not sure if that is how Tesla does things, but maybe an independent Tesla shop (if there are any) could do that for you.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
Usually this would be the owner's responsibility if they aren't currently experiencing problems. I know you just want peace of mind, but unless you have a problem, the car manufacture won't pay their techs to inspect your car so you can feel good about it or for them to find something wrong so that they have to fix it. Its just how the industry works. But if you want peace of mind, I would ask them if you could pay them to inspect your car for issues, sorta like a pre-purchase inspection would work when buying a used car. Not sure if that is how Tesla does things, but maybe an independent Tesla shop (if there are any) could do that for you.

I get what you're saying, but what I outlined is definitely part of standard procedure for "annual service", especially for a higher tier manufacturer. The owner, responsibly as you say, asked to have this service/checkup done by someone who should know how to look after their car. Teslas still have four wheels and brakes and suspension and a frame and coolant and all sorts of things that can and do go "randomly" wrong on all vehicles.

Checking up on things is preventative maintenance to avoid a much more costly or dangerous failure. This is in the best interest of the manufacturer (cost and optics) and the customer (less headaches, also peace of mind as you said).

Yes, a lot of those 572 point inspections are a load of feces, but they do some checks especially if they're not the budget brand of service.

Let's not give Tesla a pass on eschewing preventative maintenance and checks when a customer is specifically looking for it. If they're going to charge nearly $10 to top off washer fluid (what?!), they can darn well spend a few minutes checking the basics.

EDIT: I should note that in this quote, they'd have the tires off and the car in the air anyways. Perfect time for brake service and other checks, which is why many tire shops offer this (for better or worse).
 
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1.21GW

Member
Jul 23, 2018
771
1,269
Michigan
I think you have been brainwashed by years of dealership monetization of fear. "We performed your free annual inspection and saw that your muffler bearings are loose, it would be $765.36 for a replacement or you could risk it"

Essentially, engineering should design the car to last and also the vehicle should have sensors or alerts for any critical malfunctions.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
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Vernon, BC, Canada
I think you have been brainwashed by years of dealership monetization of fear. "We performed your free annual inspection and saw that your muffler bearings are loose, it would be $765.36 for a replacement or you could risk it"

Essentially, engineering should design the car to last and also the vehicle should have sensors or alerts for any critical malfunctions.

Not at all. My father is a mechanic and has been for his entire career. We either maintain vehicles together or I service my own where I have picked up enough knowledge. The only time my own vehicles hit the shop is for warranty work. Friends go to mechanics that either my dad recommends or they trust, and not because they're being sold blinker fluid. There are honest people out there just trying to maintain your car so you don't run into issues, and they make a few bucks in doing so.

I've helped my dad fix and service vehicles for years. The dumbest things can fail just as easily as the important bits. If you're actively checking things, you can address issues before they happen or cause other issues. Not to mention things like brakes (which a Tesla still has!!) require a lot more attention than people generally give them, especially if you're in an area that uses salt in winter. And again, you still have steering components, suspension, etc.

Engineering isn't attempting universal perfection. For large scale manufacturing, they're optimising profits for a bathtub curve. This isn't a 100 year lifetime vehicle. Parts wear. Things break. Stuff comes loose. Pieces have defects.

Tesla has a couple service bulletins at least for improper fastening alone. These are the types of things an annual check could find and prevent further wear/breakage.

It sure is going to be interesting when 10-15 year old Teslas become common if everyone keeps thinking they're maintenance-free.
 
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1.21GW

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Jul 23, 2018
771
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Michigan
The wear out portion of the bathtub curve is very different than the annual inspection of a new car. I understand what you mean, but this thread is about inspections at relatively low mileage with no signs of issues.
 
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destructure00

Active Member
Mar 2, 2019
1,476
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Scottsdale, AZ
The wear out portion of the bathtub curve is very different than the annual inspection of a new car. I understand what you mean, but this thread is about inspections at relatively low mileage with no signs of issues.

Plus OP is talking about things like "whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV...the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels"...things that are not part of any recommended service interval.
 
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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
The wear out portion of the bathtub curve is very different than the annual inspection of a new car. I understand what you mean, but this thread is about inspections at relatively low mileage with no signs of issues.

If you're specifically referring to the yellow line in the linked page (the "wear out portion"), you're missing the early failures (what makes it a bathtub curve). Early failures don't necessarily happen within the first year.

Additionally, something can start to fail (or fail entirely) without the customer noticing, especially since they are not mechanical experts. A friend had a new car delivered that "felt funny" over bumps but he didn't get anyone to look at it. A tire shop eventually noticed he had something very broken with his suspension/steering in the front end (I honestly can't remember exactly what it was anymore, but the point was a simple look would have caught it). Darn well could have saved him and others from a serious accident and/or further damage.

Plus OP is talking about things like "whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV...the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels"...things that are not part of any recommended service interval.

OP initially asked about...

What about battery coolant check? other fluids? Brakes? no need to check anything on the brakes?

... and then followed up with...

i would like them to check if the car is mechanically sound. The wheels, whatever the equivalent of the transmission for an EV, the brakes, the Autopilot mechanism that drives the steering wheels, and every other mechanical component that would have had some wear over the 25k miles of driving.

To say, everything will be fine, don't worry, call back if you have an issue - doesn't seem right to me.

First, you're right. They don't appear to be on a recommended service interval. Neither of my Hondas says "make sure your suspension and steering components are in good order" in their service intervals, however of course that's something you check once in a while. They don't even mention servicing brakes (other than replacement) or checking on various fluids, however again you of course should have those checked once in a while. What Tesla recommends for service intervals is neither exhaustive nor universally true, they're just recommendations for major components. This is true for all manufacturers. You don't drive a car without oil because of a leak just because you haven't hit the service interval for it yet (however, yes, I'm aware that does happen -- usually at the cost of an engine rebuild).

Battery coolant check is a reasonable ask since they used to recommend replacement every 4 years or 50k miles (finally found the numbers), so at least a check that their now "lifetime coolant" is actually holding up would be fantastic. They say even in the manual that it shouldn't need replacement "under most circumstances", which means you should still be checking it. Brakes should absolutely be checked and serviced. OP does not seem mechanically inclined (sorry if I'm wrong!) and yet is asking for the right things. In fact, straight from the owner's manual: "Clean and lubricate brake calipers every year or 12,500 miles (if in an area where roads are salted during the Winter)". I don't know if Texas uses salt, but putting this out to every 2 years or 25k miles is certainly reasonable as well (I would personally do it every year anyways, but I live in an area where salt is used).

Their later asks may be a bit more trivial, sure. Wheels, wheel bearings, spinny bits, splines, shafts, etc. can be checked by any shop, but would be nice to have checked while the vehicle is already up in the air for tire rotation. The transmission is indeed a more or less sealed unit with a filter, shouldn't need to check anything and doing so might actually be detrimental. As far as I understand the system that actually moves the steering wheel is the same as the electric power steering, there's not much interesting for service there. As for "every other mechanical component" that could have wear, I absolutely agree. Check those joints. Make sure the battery has all the bolts it needs still. Ensure everything under the car is still fastened. Make sure any seals are still fine, at least via fluid levels (e.g. for coolant, brakes). Make sure everything is in spec for the front end. Etc.

Finally, the fact the service center is essentially saying "call back if you have an issue", I agree with the OP. This is not right. This is not how you look after vehicles, Tesla or otherwise.

The only service items that should be absent on a Tesla are those related to a traditional gas engine/transmission, everything else is still present and important.

Why take a negligent stance on basic preventative maintenance and checks on a $40,000+ car?

@Electroman do you have a trusted mechanic that would be willing to start servicing Teslas? Since Tesla themselves doesn't seem to care about the maintenance of your vehicle, I would highly recommend going with a third party.
 
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Electroman

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,396
7,532
TX
My appt was yesterday:

So the guy takes one look at my tires and tells me that it has worn evenly and doesn't need rotation, and given that it has only another few thousand miles life in it and that would be a good time to do the alignment when i replace them, unless I feel it needs alignment now. I insisted that they atleast jack it up and look at the brakes and other fluids, which they did.

15 minutes and $0 later I was on my way.
 

jipvk

P3D+ | 2020 | FSD | White Interior | White
Nov 16, 2019
35
29
Zürich, Switzerland
So I take it there was nothing wrong... I do hope they check brake and coolant liquid properly, and not just
'fake check' under the car and say "all is good".
 

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