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Model S Drive Motor Replacement

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by mespindler, May 27, 2016.

  1. mespindler

    mespindler Member

    Dec 19, 2014
    Union City, CA
    Well, the other shoe has dropped.....for me at least. I just had my 2014 MS P85 (with 42k miles) drive motor replaced. It was beginning to make the dreaded milling noise so I decided to do a preemptive strike and ask for a replacement before it failed. The Fremont Service Center acknowledged the noise and was very helpful. HOWEVER, when I picked up the car today I asked the question; Do I now get a full 8 year/unlimited mileage warranty on the just replaced drive unit. The answer was NO. I was told that the replacement unit (a remanufactured motor BTW....) would fall under the remaining 8 year/unlimited mileage and that they would not prorate the motor warranty to add back the nearly two years I have owned the car. I think this is a problem. First, it is apparent that the drive motor is a weakness in the Model S design. The statements by Tesla when this issue first started to occur was that they had fixed the issue and that the motor was designed to last for 500k miles. I question both these claims. So what happens when I am at 100k miles and this new (remanufactured) unit fails? I can guarantee you if that occurs I am going to demand a new (really "new" not a reman) motor, and even then, is this an inherent weakness in the car's design. What this also causes me to question is whether Tesla cars are really just disposable cars not designed to be durable. As a former Porsche owner, I experience the same issue with their 96L engine on my 2002 996. They, however, DID provide a prorated extended warranty on the replacement engine. I am not feeling the love so much for my Tesla given these recent events.
  2. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    McKinney, TX
    I don't understand. What has changed? Tesla guarantees that for eight years you'll have a proper functioning drive unit, whether they give you one drive unit during that time or more than one. I can see some point where an inordinate number of repairs truly becomes problematic but one drive unit thus far during the warranty period hardly seems to be approaching that point.
  3. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

    Nov 10, 2014
    The Americas
    Expect to replace the drive unit every 30,000 miles. It's not a big deal, really - if you can put up with the noise (noise #14) until your next annual service, it'll add 1-2 days and they should provide a loaner. My first one started getting noisy at 25,000 miles or so. Had it replaced at 31,000 I think it was.

    My expectation when I bought the car was for 8 years coverage for the motor, inverter, and main battery. It would not have occurred to me to expect 8 years from the date of replacement for any of those.

    Do let us know if you are successful in securing a new unit rather than remanufactured when the time comes. Frankly, I prefer a remanufactured/refurbished unit as those actually get tested, whereas with new you're back to taking your chances. I do hold out hope that the refurbished unit I now have will last more than 30,000 miles, but I know multiple owners who have experienced drive unit replacement at the 30,000 mile interval. That said, it's got to get better eventually. The only reason they replaced the drive unit in my case was due to a worn brush of some sort - it wasn't the dreaded clunk or a more serious noise. Just the milling sound.
  4. UberEV1

    UberEV1 Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I believe most warranty replacements, across most industries and products, adhere to original warranty terms. If the warranty were reset each time a component was replaced, folks would find very clever ways of ensuring those components kept failing in the 11th hour.
    • Like x 1
  5. P85ATL

    P85ATL Member

    Sep 1, 2017
    Our 2013 Model S P85 has 40,000 miles and the motor and batteries are doing just fine. BTW AC motors don't have brushes.
  6. docherf

    docherf Member

    Feb 1, 2016
    What would a replacement motor cost after the 8 years (outside of the warranty)?
  7. u00mem9

    u00mem9 Member

    Jun 8, 2016
    A brush was added to a bearing to provide a conductive path because bearings were failing. There is a good video showing the solution on evtv
  8. tomas

    tomas Only partially psycho

    Oct 22, 2012
    While there are (rare) incidences of drivetrains FAILING (i.e., driving impacted), there is no evidence that the milling noise leads to failure. It is annoying when you are used to a completely quiet drivetrain, but not indicative of failure.

    Tesla made a decision - and I think a good one - to centralize repair of drivetrains. Had they made another decision, your car could have sat at the service center for a week while technicians who do NOT do a high volume of drive unit rebuilds rebuilt it. Or, it could have been sent to factory to be rebuilt, and you could have waited for weeks to get it back and reinstalled. Or, it could have been sent to the factory to be rebuilt, they could have installed a "loaner", and you would have had to go back for another service call to swap your original, now serviced, drivetrain back in (which is what they do with battery issues). All in all, I think that the approach made by Tesla was in your best interests. You got an equivalent unit remanufactured by experts. No waiting - I'll bet it took half a day to swap in.

    IMO, sending back in to fix "milling" is equivalent to an internal combustion engine making valve noise. It is an adjustment. I'm personally glad that they do it back at the factory.

    Your warranty is 8 years, from original manufacturing of car, no mileage limit. Tesla decided, voluntarily, after realizing there was service required to many drivetrains, to extend the drivetrain warranty to 8 years. No mileage limit. Can you get any other car with 8 year, unlimited mileage drivetrain warranty?

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