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Tesla Changes Service Requirements - 3rd and 4th Year No Longer Needed?

Brought my 2015 85D in this morning for a couple of service items. Prices were slightly lower than the service price list posted on this thread.
  • A/C refrigerant recharge & desiccant bag replacement: $131.60 ($11.60 in parts, $120 in labor)
  • Brake fluid bleed/flush: $127.50 (all labor according to the receipt)
They also did a "liftgate drain plug retrofit" covered under warranty. I didn't mention anything about this so I guess it's something they just did on their own. I asked for them to inspect the suspension control arms/forelinks as well but no issues were noted. Took about an hour for everything.

I did notice there's a chemical smell from the A/C for the first 5 minutes or so after the car has been sitting for a bit. I'm assuming this is the new desiccant bag and that it will eventually go away.
 
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My understanding it's just based on the individual items listed on the Tesla support page and your Model S owner's manual. The things I've noted are:
  • Cabin air filter every 2 years. Really this just comes down to the environment and usage. It's something you can easily replace yourself.
  • HEPA filter every 3 years. N/A for me since I don't have a HEPA filter.
  • Tire rotation, balance and wheel alignment every 10-12k miles. Owner's manual recommends rotating tires every 6,250 miles.
  • Brake fluid test and replacement (as required) every 2 years.
  • Air conditioning service every 2 years.
  • Clean and lubricate brake calipers every or 12,500 miles for cars in cold regions.
  • Battery coolant flush every 8 years or 100k miles (this one is in the owner's manual).
 
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dark cloud

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My understanding it's just based on the individual items listed on the Tesla support page and your Model S owner's manual. The things I've noted are
  • Battery coolant flush every 8 years or 100k miles (this one is in the owner's manual).

If you have a pre-refresh model S they suggest changing the coolant at 4 years, and then every 8 years. Mine is due.
 

dark cloud

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Apr 14, 2018
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Brought my 2015 85D in this morning for a couple of service items. Prices were slightly lower than the service price list posted on this thread.
  • A/C refrigerant recharge & desiccant bag replacement: $131.60 ($11.60 in parts, $120 in labor)
  • Brake fluid bleed/flush: $127.50 (all labor according to the receipt)
If I took my CRV to the Honda dealer I am pretty sure it would cost more than this. Very reasonable and money well spent.
 
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My understanding it's just based on the individual items listed on the Tesla support page and your Model S owner's manual. The things I've noted are:
  • Cabin air filter every 2 years. Really this just comes down to the environment and usage. It's something you can easily replace yourself.
  • HEPA filter every 3 years. N/A for me since I don't have a HEPA filter.
  • Tire rotation, balance and wheel alignment every 10-12k miles. Owner's manual recommends rotating tires every 6,250 miles.
  • Brake fluid test and replacement (as required) every 2 years.
  • Air conditioning service every 2 years.
  • Clean and lubricate brake calipers every or 12,500 miles for cars in cold regions.
  • Battery coolant flush every 8 years or 100k miles (this one is in the owner's manual).

Seems like service every 2 years is the way to go and have the wheels rotated every year/12K miles.
 

Mark_T

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Nov 1, 2017
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Seems like service every 2 years is the way to go and have the wheels rotated every year/12K miles.

If you want to stay within their recommendations you'll need this one as well:

'Clean and lubricate brake calipers every or 12,500 miles for cars in cold regions.'

... but you can get the rotation done at the same time at no extra cost.

Their definition of 'cold regions' is anywhere that salts the roads in winter...
 

dark cloud

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The amount of braking has nothing to do with it; It just gets old and takes on water. No different than an ice car that requires an oil change annually even if it got zero miles the previous year. I will probably get mine changed every 3 years or so. I dont see the point in checking it with a moisture stick, as every time you take the cap off it is exposed to the atmosphere and will absorb small amounts of water; I’ll just keep the cap on for 3 years then change it.
 
If you want to stay within their recommendations you'll need this one as well:

'Clean and lubricate brake calipers every or 12,500 miles for cars in cold regions.'

... but you can get the rotation done at the same time at no extra cost.

Their definition of 'cold regions' is anywhere that salts the roads in winter...

How come this service item was not previously listed and none of my previous cars have needed this?

is this if you live in Norway and nor Maryland, that gets occasional snow? Is there something else to do to maintain the brake calipers so it doesn't get so bad?
 

smilepak

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May 11, 2015
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SoCal, CA
Brought my 2015 85D in this morning for a couple of service items. Prices were slightly lower than the service price list posted on this thread.
  • A/C refrigerant recharge & desiccant bag replacement: $131.60 ($11.60 in parts, $120 in labor)
  • Brake fluid bleed/flush: $127.50 (all labor according to the receipt)
I did the same a couple months ago. The service advisor told me they don’t do ala cart. So I insisted that many have done it so. They ended gave me the 4th year service maintenance with the AC and Brake flush. But charged me only for the two items. It came out under 400
 

Mark_T

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Nov 1, 2017
1,306
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UK
How come this service item was not previously listed and none of my previous cars have needed this?

is this if you live in Norway and nor Maryland, that gets occasional snow? Is there something else to do to maintain the brake calipers so it doesn't get so bad?

No, not just Norway etc. But anywhere that uses salt in a typical winter.

I get the impression that they have been seeing premature corrosion of the disks in such areas, hence the service item.
 

dark cloud

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I recently had 4 year service and brake fluid wasn't replaced. they inspected it and said it was fine.

I read this a few days ago and had some thoughts, but thought I would do a little research and reading to back up my 2 cents, so here it is.

So what happens now? I don't even know if they are testing moisture in the system or copper ions. Assuming they tested the moisture reading and it came back as 2% or less. Let's say the next time you go in they check it and it is now at 4%, and they recommend it needs changing, and they try to bleed the system and one of the bleeder screws, which have never been opened (in 6 years? in 8 years? don't know when you are planning to get it rechecked), seized up, and another caliper the pistons didn't retract smoothly and Tesla then says you need to get 2 new calipers. That is on you; not them; they will not cover that cost in light of their recommendation that you don't change the brake fluid for 8 years.

Many talk about the problem of having water in the brake fluid and the reduction of the boiling point of the brake fluid which has the potential safety issue of you under a panic stop having a brake pedal that is trying to compress a gas instead of an incompressible fluid and getting in an accident due to a lack of stopping power because the brake pedal hits the firewall. (is it still called a firewall in a Tesla? o_O) I have never heard of this happening (although I am sure that it has). The real reason to change the brake fluid regularly is that the brake fluid once it takes on water (absorbed through the seals, connections, rubber lines, and of course in the 10-20 or so cubic centimetres of air present in the master cylinder) the water attacks and destroys the anti-corrosion additives in the brake fluid. Not good.

Reminds me of: Similar to changing the coolant in an ice: some will test it and say it is still good to -20 degrees Celsius, no reason to change it, yet they don't understand the real reason is to protect the metals the coolant comes in contact with from galvanic corrosion, and they wonder why their engine overheated, their water pump failed, and their radiator rusted out and developed leaks.

So who am I and where am I coming from: I am not a brake engineer, a licensed mechanic, and I don't have a leg to stand on arguing with an intelligent technician who does this for a living. Yet I have done everything there is to do on a motorcycle: changed tires and balanced wheels by hand, rebuilt and re-valved suspensions, adjusted valves, and replaced pistons/rings, as well as basics on many ice's. I have performed over a hundred oil changes and yes, bled brake systems old school method with someone pumping the pedal and using a vacuum pump. Mechanical inclination runs in my family, grandpa was a millwright, my brother is a heavy duty mechanic, and I think I am pretty good with this stuff, but I went a different path occupation wise and earned a physics degree and a teacher certificate. While I am talking about my motorcycle I used to bleed the brakes on my road racebike every weekend; and every time the first few cm's of fluid that came out contained black sediment. My point of this paragraph is there are many who would side with the opinion of a Tesla technician over some rambling from some unknown forum poster, and rightly so.

I know a lifelong mechanic with several red seal tickets who still changes his ice oil every 5000 km on his Honda. I think this is unnecessary and a waste of oil, when the manufacturer has a maintenance minder suggesting changing it with intervals at least twice this distance, as there are sensors used to gather this information on oil change intervals which present this confidence. We have arguments about it all the time. But he is old school and it is his money. But there are no sensors in the brake system to suggest when to change it; maybe that will change in the future? There is evidence to lengthen oil change intervals on an ice, but I don't see any evidence to lengthen brake fluid changes: Tesla's service manual suggests a DOT 3 brake fluid, but DOT 4 is supposed to take on less water, and a DOT 5 or 5.1 doesn't absorb any water, why doesn't Tesla do this? (don't put in DOT 5; it is not compatible...)

Take everything you read with a grain of salt. But knowing what I know I don't care what any licenced mechanic tells me about the latest brake fluid testing technique. On one level they are doing what they are told, and I believe they are being sold from some manufacturer on using their brake fluid tester. (?) Do we test the engine oil before changing it? no, we just change it. Some still at 3000 miles (5000 km) and some extend that based on manufacturer recommendations which are more like 10000-15000 km.

By the time a 4% moisture content has happened it is too late; the brake internals have started corroding and the damage is done. All the steel brake lines start rusting internally, (if these are nickel copper alloy the release of copper ions float through the system which is why some regard the better method of testing the brake fluid health is using test strips to test this rather than moisture level), the caliper pistons begin to pit, the abs components are compromised. So why wait until you get a reading that tells you corrosion is happening: doesn't it make sense to change the fluid before this happens?

My opinion is that a $100-150 brake fluid change is cheap money and I will gladly pay it to keep my brake system healthy as I plan to keep this car for many years. If I get really ambitious I might do it myself next time, but I just hate collecting the old fluid and driving it down to the recycler. I don't care if at 3 years old brake fluid it is still at 1% moisture; I'll be changing it.

Apologies for the excessive rambling.
 

dark cloud

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After witnessing my seized rear calipers in my used model S and knowing how hard it was to remove the inner pads it is good for them to include this point though:

Winter Care
Tesla recommends cleaning and lubricating all brake calipers every 12 months or 12,500 mi for cars in cold weather regions.


I strongly concur. Again, not just to reduce brake drag and improve pad life (and the rotor) but also for the sake of lower energy usage.

And to quote my own post: I decided to inspect my parking brake(s) for the first time yesterday. ( I have serviced all of the braking callipers but not the parking ones.) It was working fine, and I always thought it was probably less susceptible to road grime being at the top of the rotor as the dirt has no place to collect but fall downwards, but I thought why not? I might as well practice what I preach and I'll remove and clean the pads and sliders and reassemble to reduce some possible drag.

And I could not punch out the pad sliders on the left caliper. It is a little harder as you have to hit them from the inside of the car outwards; opposite to the regular brake calipers where you punch out the sliders by hitting them towards the centre of the car. I removed the caliper, put it on the bench to get a better more forceful hit, and I bent my punch. Seized solid. Applied some AD2000 and let it sit and still no go.

Now they still work fine as a parking brake, I removed some rust and build up grime from the area where the pads contact the sliders and the inside pads moves freely enough for the pad to contact the rotor, not loose enough for a proper working braking caliper but good enough as a handbrake, holding the car as it is supposed to, and the wheel rotates by hand freely when it is disengaged, but when the pads wear out (which won't be for a long time, I know....) I will need a new caliper. Would I have saved the caliper if I had serviced them a year ago when I got the car? Don't know, maybe, but too late now. :(

I ordered a good used replacement set from eBay. Once installed I will service them annually just like the other callipers. Never thought I would ever own a car with 6 brake callipers :eek:
 

dark cloud

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I remember it use to mention that on the support page but I’m not seeing it broken out by pre or post refresh. Is this something the service centers are still recommending?

This is what you and I are referring to:

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 3.11.08 PM.png


Just got off the phone with a long term service advisor. That is they have been at Tesla for at least a year. (yes, they are working on Easter Monday!) I stand corrected: they are now stating that even the pre-refresh cars coolant doesn't need changing for 8 years from its production date. It would not surprise me if a different service centre gave a different answer. Anyone else interested in confirming?
 
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