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Tesla experience living far from a Service Center

Joshilling

New Member
Nov 1, 2020
1
0
Richland, WA
I’d like to get feedback on the Tesla experience if you live far from a service center.

I would love to buy a M3 long range. I’ve probably configured what I want 100+ times on the website, gotten a trade appraisal, talked to a sales advisor, and test driven a friends M3p. The one thing that holds me back is that I live in eastern WA 200+ miles from the nearest SC and this would be my family’s only car. In doing research on this site, I noticed a lot of complaints about the SC experience. Any service not done by the mobile rangers would consume at least a full day of my time and most likely would require an overnight stay in Portland or Seattle. That would be fine if it is once a year (or less) and service only takes a day or two. BUT, If car wasn’t done promptly, staying extra days would get expensive quickly and interfere with work, I’d have to find a dog sitter, etc.

Am I worrying too much? Can people in similar situations comment on how ownership has gone for them? Are the SCs really that bad, or is this a small, but vocal, minority of people’s experiences?

Thanks.
 

run-the-joules

Turgid Member
Aug 13, 2017
3,785
6,867
SF Bay
I personally wouldn't own a daily driver that I can't get officially-supported service on within an hour of me, from any brand. My Tesla has never stranded me, but it hasn't been trouble-free either.
 
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chrstna4

Member
Sep 3, 2020
205
267
Seattle
There’s a SC in Spokane. Eastern WA is a large area so maybe Seattle or Portland are closer. You may be able to get a loaner car if the repair would take more than a few hours. It still means a drive both ways twice but you probably wouldn’t have to be staying close to the SC for an undetermined amount of time. Since Teslas don’t have a lot of regular service needs, you may only have to go to a SC every two years.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,496
15,503
New Mexico
My nearest service center is 250 miles away. I have never used it and I may never because our Ranger service has been exceptional.

Not just adequate -- exceptional.

It has turned me into a Ranger fanboi, so much so that I think a much better question is 'how is the Ranger service in your area ?'
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,127
2,098
San Jose, CA
@Joshilling I am definitely NOT in the same boat as you are when it comes to the distance to a service center living in San Jose, CA. There's a couple within a half-hour drive of me. I have only had a few times where I needed to take the car in for servicing and was able to wait for the work to be done (TPMS reset, rear window adjustment, tire puncture repair, two new tires installed). I've had a mobile ranger come out to my house to do the HW3 swap (took 90 minutes) and had a problem with the car not accepting OTA updates which was fixed OTA.

All this is to say that your experience with Tesla service will be your own if you buy your car. Very, very few people sign into a forum and then post about their NOT having a single problem with their car or having excellent service center visits all the time. So take the complaints about servicing with a grain of salt. Yes some people have been stuck with lemons or have had incompetent service techs. Then again, I'm sure that there's many owners who have never seen the insides of a SC, nor their cars, or have had satisfactory service events.
 

rbob

Member
Jul 22, 2020
8
8
Courtenay, BC, Canada
I bought a second hand Model 3 LR last June from a local Chrysler dealer on Vancouver Island, Canada. There might be a service center in Vancouver- 150 kilometers and a two hour ferry ride away. I haven't had occasion to do any dealings with them yet. I don't even know if they have a mobile service available for me. I just charge the car and drive. I had a small windshield rock chip repaired. The glass shop warned me that if the repair failed, that they couldn't replace the windshield. Worked out good. A small fender bender was repaired by the local body shop satisfactorily. I bought after market wheels and tires and replaced them myself. I may check the windshield washer this winter. Other wise just drive the darn thing and let others do the griping
 

SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,327
Greenville Wisconsin
Over 3 years ago I bought an already 3 year old S near Green Bay with the nearest service centers being Minneapolis and Chicago at that time, Chigago being the closer at 170miles.

It is hassle to get service but not unbearable, and my car is up over 100k now not new.
 

EnrgyNDpndnce

Member
Sep 12, 2016
652
1,096
Charleston, SC
I have owned my Model 3 for 93k miles and have been to a Service Center exactly 1 time. Ranger service is quite good if you need it but one of the greatest things about this car is that you don’t need a lot of service. If you are at all a DIY guy consider buying a low profile jack and a torque wrench so you can rotate your tires at home. Other than tire rotation there really isn’t any routine maintenance. This is the best car I have ever owned, full stop.
 

Mmackinnon

Member
Oct 19, 2020
35
19
Arizona
Hey

I have had my model y for only a couple of weeks. I am 190 miles from the nearest service center.

I went through this same concern. However after talking to many others in the same situation i decided it was worth it.

so far so good
 
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EnrgyNDpndnce

Member
Sep 12, 2016
652
1,096
Charleston, SC
Ah, maybe you forgot brake fluid/pad checks and the replacement of the cabin air filters (off the top of my head).

Depends on your definition of “routine.” The items you mentioned are definitely part of the maintenance schedule, but occur about once a year so IMO not routine. It’s a vague term, so you can disagree and you wouldn’t be wrong. Just telling you what my rationale was for leaving those items off the list.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,127
2,098
San Jose, CA
They're more of a "every two years" type of service, but I'd still consider that "routine". I guess if there's a published, specified time interval between looking at some service item then I'd say that's my definition. And while I consider rotating tires to be a routine maintenance item, I've very rarely done so on my recent cars, unless I was also having some service done related to the suspension (i.e., an alignment or replacing shocks/struts). I think the last time I rotated my own tires was with my 1980 RX-7. Had a set of snow tires I would use when going up to Tahoe but then that got old so I became a fair-weather skier.

I've purchased my tires from a local Wheel Works over the last 30 years and I can't remember a time when I brought the car in just to have the tires rotated and no other work on the car performed. I do keep an eye on the wear, checking maybe twice a year, and for the BMW that preceded the 3, my wear was pretty even front-to-back. This might change with the Tesla since I replaced both rear tires about a year and a half and 5,000 miles ago.
 
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ArcticStation

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2018
181
270
Maine
My nearest service center is a four hour drive. I often travel to places where the nearest service center is over 700 miles away. I was concerned about the distance when I bought my car in 2018. However:

Although it’s my daily driver, it isn’t my only car. I have a ten year old reliable hybrid “beater” that I can fall back on.

Under the four year warranty, Tesla will tow the car up to 500 miles to the service center and return it at no cost if it is undrivable. Early on, I had one serious failure and this service worked very well. They also offered me a rental car, but I just used my second car for the week my Tesla was being repaired.

My insurance company will reimburse towing charges for breakdowns beyond 500 miles (I have not had to use this, but it is nice to know it is available).

Mobile “Ranger” service gets great reviews. I have used it and it is outstanding.

Simple routine maintenance (tires, alignment, etc.) can easily be done by the shop down the street.

I am retired, so taking a day to drive to and from the service center for problems the Ranger can’t fix would be an inconvenience but not a deal breaker.

One of my sons lives a few minutes away from a service center located about five hours away from where I live. Although I have not had to visit a service center for maintenance, I visit my son and his family on a regular basis and could easily visit them and have my car serviced at the same time.

So, living away from a service center has not been a deal breaker for me. The car has been reliable--I have had only one major issue and it was resolved quickly. Routine maintenance has been done locally or by a Ranger. Once my warranty ends two years from now I may have a different perspective, but for now it is working. However, if it is going to be your only car and you don't have a practical fall back, if you work the sixty hour weeks that I used to work and you need to schedule your time off weeks in advance or if you are a type A and are driven crazy by small inconveniences that often take some time to get fixed, then perhaps you should consider a reliable brand with an extensive dealership network.
 

CharleyBC

Active Member
Jun 28, 2019
1,438
1,628
Talent, OR
Our 3 is our only car. We live in Talent, OR. We can go about 215 miles to Chico or 280 miles to Portland. We've never done either. Our single service visit was to install our HW3, and they came to us. For our life style the distance is okay. Though if they opened one in, say, Medford, I'd find that comforting!
 

qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,409
2,429
VB
My nearest service center is 250 miles away. I have never used it and I may never because our Ranger service has been exceptional.

Not just adequate -- exceptional.

It has turned me into a Ranger fanboi, so much so that I think a much better question is 'how is the Ranger service in your area ?'

I’m a little surprised that Tesla will drive 250 miles. Especially since you seem to be in the boondoggles with no supercharger....
 

Wnuk

Member
Jul 9, 2017
344
1,061
PA
M3 is my daily driver. Nearest service center is 2.5 hours drive for me. The only time I used it thus far is for the HW 3 replacement. They warned up front the car would be with them for 10 days, really shocking! The day before service appointment I was finally able to contact someone to inquire about a loaner. They hooked me up with Enterprise Rental (only vehicle left when I got there was an F-150 :eek:). They had the car for 8 total days, the center is overwhelmed since they are the only one within close distance from a lot of people. Issue was resolved but they ended up paying for a detail on the car after parking it under a tree that dripped sap on it and about $800 for the loaner.

I know Elon said service centers aren't profit centers, but they certainly paid a hefty price to have my car for 8 days. Opening more service centers would be more efficient in the long run, hope that gets addressed in the near term.
 

Trips

"Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?"
Sep 22, 2015
1,223
1,407
Omaha, NE
M3 is my daily driver. Nearest service center is 2.5 hours drive for me. The only time I used it thus far is for the HW 3 replacement. They warned up front the car would be with them for 10 days, really shocking! The day before service appointment I was finally able to contact someone to inquire about a loaner. They hooked me up with Enterprise Rental (only vehicle left when I got there was an F-150 :eek:). They had the car for 8 total days, the center is overwhelmed since they are the only one within close distance from a lot of people. Issue was resolved but they ended up paying for a detail on the car after parking it under a tree that dripped sap on it and about $800 for the loaner.

I know Elon said service centers aren't profit centers, but they certainly paid a hefty price to have my car for 8 days. Opening more service centers would be more efficient in the long run, hope that gets addressed in the near term.

I'm 3 hours from a major service center and the rangers are great. They were just out a couple weeks ago for a HW3 upgrade that only took about 90 minutes. They also replaced a window for me in the parking lot of my work. That alone saved me half a day that I didn't have to take off work.
 

Wnuk

Member
Jul 9, 2017
344
1,061
PA
I'm 3 hours from a major service center and the rangers are great. They were just out a couple weeks ago for a HW3 upgrade that only took about 90 minutes. They also replaced a window for me in the parking lot of my work. That alone saved me half a day that I didn't have to take off work.

Yes, I agree they can be great. Only I was told directly by the ranger they couldn't do the replacement via mobile.

I am having an issue with a loose drivers seat and am hoping they offer mobile service for that issue.
 

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