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Ouch! First huge repair bill.

kbeckley

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2010
213
1,793
Toronto(ish)
Bit of a warning to early model S owners and others. I have owned a model S since Dec 22, 2012 and I bought the extended care package. It has gone through 4 winters, 2 hard ones and 2 warmer ones. The car has 104,000km on the odometer.

Last year I started hearing a rattling noise in the right rear and it turned out to be a loose parking brake pad. That got fixed and this year the other side started rattling. As well the breaks seemed to be a little soft but in no way concerning. After 3 weeks waiting for the appointment I dropped the car off and got a call saying that all 4 break pistons has seized and it would cost $8500 to repair! Wow. That is the most expensive repair I have ever had on a car. By a long shot. I was told that because the breaks are not used that much the pistons can seize. So one of the benefits of regen might not be so much of a benefit at all. Apparently Tesla is recommending a break servicing for cars in the northeast every year. I was also told that there was lots of wear left on the rotors and brake pads but they wanted to change them all out as the rotors were heavily pitted. They also mentioned that I should break hard a couple of times a week but I'm not sure if that is official Tesla policy.

Here are some of the part costs costs:
Break caliper assembly with piston (each): $745.00
Rear rotor (each): $331.00
Front Rotor (each): $290.00
Parking break caliper with pads: $1,235.00

They also replaced a the upper control arm on the driver's side: $261.00

Tesla managed to salvage one of the pistons but they had to change out 3 of them agreed to not charge for labour on the job so my final bill was $5,824.75. I was not expecting that when I dropped the car off.

I asked Jay (who is as helpful as ever) what other 'surprises' I might be in for and he could not think of any but I am nervous.

So Tesla may have an issue with this or is might just be my car but I certainly recommend everyone in the east (and especially Sig owners) have their breaks looked at right away. I would have one of the earliest cars to go through 4 winters but a near $6K repair bill does not make this the cheapest car I have ever owned.

It is hard to swallow getting a complete brake replacement when the rotors or pads were not worn down.

Tesla service people were great as usual.
 

RiverBrick

Active Member
Mar 23, 2014
2,536
1,802
Mount Washington Valley
Sorry for such an unpleasant surprise.

When you say extended care package, are you referring to the yearly service or to the extended service contract which covers some repairs, less a $200 deductible? Just cendering if brake repair is excluded from the extended contract.
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,094
1,882
NJ
*jaw drop*
If all 4 brakes were seized how were you stopping or even holding the car on a hill?
Also those prices are like 50% higher than dealer prices for a 5-series rotor.
 
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Johan

Ex got M3 in the divorce, waiting for EU Model Y!
Feb 9, 2012
7,496
9,893
Drammen, Norway
*jaw drop*
If all 4 brakes were seized how were you stopping or even holding the car on a hill?
Also those prices are like 50% higher than dealer prices for a 5-series rotor.

Regen and Hill hold could probably do almost all the work in everyday driving. I'm guessing not all four brakes were 100% frozen as that would, as you say, make it impossible to come to a full stop.
 

Camera-Cruiser

Fully Charged
Dec 4, 2015
773
808
Fullerton, CA
Hmmmm. I'd still fish around for more of a break, nicely. Although you do live in a harsher environment than some, it seems that you were given a Steve Jobs answer "you're holding, I mean driving it wrong." Which is what he famously told users and reporters about iPhones with poor call reception.

Sure, we have regen, but brakes are still used daily. Don't you ever have to stomp all over them at moose crossingso_O.

Also, the control arm speaks to other threads about this part wearing prematurely, and not being up to snuff with other industry standards.

It never hurts to ask again nicely, and escalate nicely too.
 
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anthony

Member
May 3, 2013
185
31
New Hampshire
Also in the north east, been through two winters, have had the break pads and rotors replaced under the yearly service package. I have had some problems, but only with the front, and I was told at one point that I received an upgraded version of brakes, which might be different than what was on your vehicle.

I did just purchase the extended warranty though for another reason. Battery cooling louvers and coolant pumps that would have cost me $2500.
 

Bishop

Member
Mar 30, 2016
407
132
Sc
I remember before i got rid of my M6 they said the brake job was like 10k a wheel the trick then was to make sure it was still under the extended warranty when it went out
 

kbeckley

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2010
213
1,793
Toronto(ish)
*jaw drop*
If all 4 brakes were seized how were you stopping or even holding the car on a hill?
Also those prices are like 50% higher than dealer prices for a 5-series rotor.

Yes this is what I never quite understood despite asking. The breaks (rattle aside) seemed to be working just fine before I took it in. So 'seized' seems to be the wrong word - yet that is the word that was used. I don't think seized pistons is really a wear and tear item like pads and rotors are.
 

kbeckley

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2010
213
1,793
Toronto(ish)
Sorry for such an unpleasant surprise.

When you say extended care package, are you referring to the yearly service or to the extended service contract which covers some repairs, less a $200 deductible? Just cendering if brake repair is excluded from the extended contract.

I got the $5,000 (Canadian) service extended package.
 

tdjvfr

Member
Mar 16, 2016
78
58
NC
Sorry, but I find the cost of repair to be way way out of line. And frankly, given a bill like that would make me dump my Tesla and probably wouldn't purchase again. If Tesla wants to be successful they must have reasonable repair costs. Otherwise, there will be no used market for their cars. Which will drop prices pretty quickly.
 

cwave1

Member
Oct 26, 2013
317
130
Mississauga, ON, CANADA
I'm lucky since I'm still under full warranty but I've had my 2.5 year old car's brakes replaced twice now. After about a year, the rotors vibrated and when I asked Tesla about it, they had a new design to deal with the fact that we rarely brake.

After about 2 years the rotors started vibrating again. I was told that in cold climates like ours that use a lot of salt on the roads, the current rotors become pitted and vibrate. I had to wait almost 6 months for the "cold weather brake package" parts to come in but it was finally completed a few weeks ago.

As you can see, Tesla knew about both of these problems before I ever brought them to their attention. With this knowledge, I would cause a stink with Tesla corporate and try to get at least some of the expense compensated.
 

TaoJones

Beyond Driven
Nov 10, 2014
3,064
3,028
The Americas
As another datapoint here in non-cold wx country I'm on my 3rd set of pads and 6th set of front rotors.

If you feel undue vibration, and your alignment is fine and your tires wear evenly, have the rotors checked, the pads checked for irregularity, and from there the list grows - could be a mistorqued control arm or a prematurely worn bushing or, and it gets worse from there.

Then there's weather - see above - yikes.

Yeah, owning one of these cars without a warranty and even with the ESA as written seems more and more like an expensive roll of the dice.

Not what I signed up for, but evidently that's what it has become. Rather puts a premium upon driving the safest car on the planet. In the end, it appears I bought 2 years too early. I shall endeavor to have more fun road trips to make up for it :).
 
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Scannerman

Member
Apr 10, 2016
97
43
San Diego
Bit of a warning to early model S owners and others. I have owned a model S since Dec 22, 2012 and I bought the extended care package. It has gone through 4 winters, 2 hard ones and 2 warmer ones. The car has 104,000km on the odometer.

Last year I started hearing a rattling noise in the right rear and it turned out to be a loose parking brake pad. That got fixed and this year the other side started rattling. As well the breaks seemed to be a little soft but in no way concerning. After 3 weeks waiting for the appointment I dropped the car off and got a call saying that all 4 break pistons has seized and it would cost $8500 to repair! Wow. That is the most expensive repair I have ever had on a car. By a long shot. I was told that because the breaks are not used that much the pistons can seize. So one of the benefits of regen might not be so much of a benefit at all. Apparently Tesla is recommending a break servicing for cars in the northeast every year. I was also told that there was lots of wear left on the rotors and brake pads but they wanted to change them all out as the rotors were heavily pitted. They also mentioned that I should break hard a couple of times a week but I'm not sure if that is official Tesla policy.

Here are some of the part costs costs:
Break caliper assembly with piston (each): $745.00
Rear rotor (each): $331.00
Front Rotor (each): $290.00
Parking break caliper with pads: $1,235.00

They also replaced a the upper control arm on the driver's side: $261.00

Tesla managed to salvage one of the pistons but they had to change out 3 of them agreed to not charge for labour on the job so my final bill was $5,824.75. I was not expecting that when I dropped the car off.

I asked Jay (who is as helpful as ever) what other 'surprises' I might be in for and he could not think of any but I am nervous.

So Tesla may have an issue with this or is might just be my car but I certainly recommend everyone in the east (and especially Sig owners) have their breaks looked at right away. I would have one of the earliest cars to go through 4 winters but a near $6K repair bill does not make this the cheapest car I have ever owned.

It is hard to swallow getting a complete brake replacement when the rotors or pads were not worn down.

Tesla service people were great as usual.

You seem remarkably well adjusted to this development. I can't help but think that Tesla might make a considerable adjustment, if you pursue this with Corporate. Most car companies have a 'Slush' fund ear marked for unusual events like yours. (I assume this would be considered unusual-I certainly hope so). I personally received some help from Cadillac on at least one occasion back around the year 2000.

I would be interested in learning of any subsequent reimbursement you may receive. Your anecdote is making me a little nervous about anything beyond a three year lease.

Scannerman
 

davidc18

Active Member
Apr 25, 2015
1,834
1,281
Ft. Lauderdale
Sorry, but I find the cost of repair to be way way out of line. And frankly, given a bill like that would make me dump my Tesla and probably wouldn't purchase again. If Tesla wants to be successful they must have reasonable repair costs. Otherwise, there will be no used market for their cars. Which will drop prices pretty quickly.

+1 - have to agree.
 

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