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Warranty and maintenance

Discussion in 'Tesla' started by KarenRei, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. KarenRei

    KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei

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    Hi all. I had been planning to wait ~4 years to get a used Model 3, but after finding out that my country is planning to eliminate VAT on electric cars (equivalent to a ~$10k USD incentive on a Model 3), I'm thinking about switching to a new or "nearly new" car. But to make the decision I'm going to need to go over the numbers carefully.

    A big question mark is maintenance. Tesla pushes their maintenance package for the Model S and X, but so do most luxury car manufacturers. How much of the maintenance is actually essential? Also, I read somewhere that it doesn't void the warranty if you don't do the maintenance - is this correct?

    It makes a bigger difference for me because it'll cost something like $1000 USD to get the car to a service center and back each time (2x ferry trips to Denmark), as Tesla thusfar thinks Iceland doesn't exist ;) I need to figure out roughly how much financial cost and risk I'd be taking on each year.
     
  2. KarenRei

    KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei

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    #2 KarenRei, Jul 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
    Hmm, found an old copy of the warranty (from before the unlimited mileage / powertrain changes):

    https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/blog_attachments/model_s_new_vehicle_limited_warranty_2.1.pdf

    I don't see anything in there that would suggest that maintenance is required - only that if you discover a problem and then ignore it and damage occurs as a result, they won't warranty the damage. Likewise, you can have work done by non-authorized individuals, but any damage that occurs as a result is not covered. Neither appear to void the warranty itself, however.

    This person hit 100k miles with $3,8k in maintenance:

    How I Used & Abused My Tesla — What a Tesla looks like after 100,000 Miles, a 48 State Road trip…

    In there was one "annual" service and two major warrantied repairs, so that would be at least $7k on my end (assuming that Tesla didn't decide that Iceland exists by then). But at least that's one datapoint.

    I found this thread:

    Calling high mileage, long term owners

    But most people aren't listing their costs or whether they did annual service / what they did at a service center vs. elsewhere.

    I'd be replacing a first-generation Insight that's been hitting me with a couple thousand dollars in maintenance issues every year... but I honestly don't know that I'd be saving on maintenance if I have to ship the Tesla off to Denmark every year.

    Looking at the maintenance list from the annual service of the S, most of the things on the list are stupid things that anyone can do. AC dessicant replacement would require a company experienced in working with ACs, which do exist here, but not that I'd actually be using air conditioning in Iceland ;) The AC on my insight has been broken for years and I didn't even notice until someone pointed out a noise that I hadn't noticed, and discovered that it was due to a defect on the AC system ;) Drive unit fluid and battery coolant are the ones that look like "experts only". Weird that drive unit fluid change is only first year, and then not again. Why would that be? Would a owner get a notification if there was a problem with the drive unit fluid or battery coolant? The latter is listed as a four-year item, that's pretty far down the road and not a big deal.

    Oh yeah - does Tesla sell genuine Tesla parts to individuals or non-Tesla service centers? Even "experts only" type parts (such as ones related to the battery pack or drivetrain)? I understand that they don't release service guides for their cars, which if correct is rather annoying.
     
  3. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    The answer is on its website:

    "If I choose not to service my Tesla vehicle, will this void my warranty or Resale Value Guarantee?
    It is highly recommended that you service your Tesla vehicle every 12 months or every 12,500 miles, whichever occurs first. If you do not follow this recommendation, your New Vehicle Limited Warranty or Pre-Owned Vehicle Limited Warranty will not be affected. During the agreement period of the Extended Service Agreement, your coverage may be affected if recommended service is not performed. See the Tesla Extended Service Plan Terms and Conditions for further details. If you are financing your Tesla vehicle through Tesla Financing, you will only be eligible for the full Resale Value Guarantee if your Tesla vehicle is brought in for service per the above recommended timeline."


    That means: maintenance or not does not affect the first 4 years or 50,000 miles (whatever first) warranty.

    However, if you plan to keep your car more than 4 years or 50,000 miles (whatever first) and you want to buy an extended warranty, it can cite lack of maintenance for declining your purchase (or its enforcement in case you already bought the extended warranty without maintenance fulfillment: Like $3,000 heater repair)
     
  4. KarenRei

    KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei

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    I would not be buying an extended warranty. I would have basic maintenance done locally - the only things that really look like concerns to me are the two fluid changes (and I'm wondering how essential they are... and also why they'd have the drivetrain one in the first year, and then nothing)
     
  5. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    So now you got your answer: No effect in your case.

    Of course, fluid replacement is important.

    I don't know why first year for drive unit(s)? I don't know but most likely for prevention and inspection. 12,500 miles is good enough to predict whether your drive unit(s) will be worn out or last forever.

    Please make sure to use the term "drive unit" not "drivetrain".

    Drivetrain is too generic which covers driveshafts, axles, joints, differentials, wheels...
     
  6. KarenRei

    KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei

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    Yes, an answer to one of the questions/issues raised ;) Others including:

    "A big question mark is maintenance." (aka, how much has maintenance cost in your experience / expect it to cost for the Model 3?)
    "How much of the maintenance is actually essential?"
    "I need to figure out roughly how much financial cost and risk I'd be taking on each year."
    "Would a owner get a notification if there was a problem with the drive unit fluid or battery coolant?"
    "Oh yeah - does Tesla sell genuine Tesla parts to individuals or non-Tesla service centers? Even "experts only" type parts (such as ones related to the battery pack or drivetrain)?"
    " I understand that they don't release service guides for their cars, which if correct is rather annoying."

    Any feedback on these would be quite welcome! :)

    That just sounds so weird to me. It's like they're asking owners to QC test their parts for them because they haven't gotten manufacturing reliability right.

    Would there be any sort of notification of a problem if there was one? How common are these problems exactly? Because shipping plus the service itself would cost something like 4% of the cost of the entire vehicle. Not to mention a week without the car while it's in transit.

    If it was really essential to do at some point, might it be reasonable to do at 3 or 4 years, simultaneous with a battery coolant swap? That would reduce the number of trips, and also, being several years down the road, Tesla might have a service center in Iceland by then. If they discover us on a map ;)

    If regular Tesla owners don't know these sorts of things, should I try to find a Tesla salesperson to chat with online maybe?
     
  7. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    In the very early days, there was a big controversy about Tesla drive unit reliability.

    I don't think there was a lot of drive unit failures where owners left stranded in the middle of the road.

    But there were a number of drive unit replacements as a prevention during annual inspection and other occasions.

    It is a wear and tear problem. Gears are in contact with each other and they grind with each other days in and days out.

    The early sign is increasing grinding noise or hum. The noise would escalate to the level as if there's a drone flying near you. Once the gears are worn out, you can hear your motor running but your wheels just don't turn.

    My guess is after 1 year, you can see whether the gears are still intact or they have worn out prematurely.

    When they are worn out they should produce dust as an evidence to be picked up as well.

    Tesla then put it to rest with 8 year infinite mile warranty (same as main battery pack).

    So it now costs nothing for drive unit problems for the first 8 years of your car.

    After initial early controversy, drive unit problem has not been a major issue discussed.
     
  8. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    I have bought Tesla Maintenance Plan and extended warranty for my past 2012 88,000 mile Model S and current 2017 Model X.

    That's essentially the total cost for my maintenance (except for tires which costed me $1,000 for 4 tire replacement.)

    If you have to pay for Tesla service, it's expensive. There is no question about it.

    See above post for drive unit.

    I guess when battery coolant effectiveness is worn out, the thermoregulation system would be affected and your car would refuse to charge or drive and would give out a generic message "see service center"


    Tesla does not sell body-shop parts to unauthorized centers. They have to be trained by Tesla to buy parts from Tesla.

    I think Tesla does sell certain parts to un-authorized parties such as light-bulbs, 12V battery... but I don't know about major items like drive unit or main battery pack.

    I think Tesla only allows 1 place to buy its service manual online: state of Massachusetts, USA.


    I bring mine in every year and they performed Service Bulletins (not required by recalls).

    That is helpful to me to perform prevention rather than to get stuck in the road.

    So, actually, they are not essential because mine didn't break down on the road yet.

    But in your case, you just have to decide.

    ----

    In conclusion, if I understand your situation, during your warranty, your cost will be fine even if you don't pay for maintenance plan.

    However, you will have to pay for shipping your car to Tesla if there's a problem or if you want to pay for preventive annual inspection.
     
  9. KarenRei

    KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei KarenRei

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    Thanks Tam, you've been a great help :) In that case, I'll budget for pushing off the drive unit work until the vehicle has to go to a service center anyway, and work all of the other data you gave me into the equation (including an odds - 30%? - of needing a service center visit every year). Since the Model 3 is lower end, I'll budget $700 for 4 tires since I assume they'd use a cheaper tire (I understand they wear out quickly, so every 2 years?), $20 change for windshield wiper fluid and the like, $300 for a 12V every 3 years, and $500 of miscellaneous maintenance non-warrantied repair every four years. Also adding in a 20% increase in maintenance for the earliest vehicles, tapering off as production kicks up and bugs get ironed out. Now just need to have a model for how maintenance increases with age (including when the warranty runs out), and that should do it. :)
     
  10. MIT_S60

    MIT_S60 Member

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    Is there any way to see what service bulletins have been released in order to find out if there is anything to be updated?
     
  11. Tam

    Tam Active Member

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    I am not sure. Since they are voluntary and internal Service Bulletins and not public Recalls, I don't think the public has an easy way to get it (similarly to filing a Freedom of Information Act).

    But for my 2012 Model S, they did apply lots at each annual inspection: nuts, bolts, washers, 12V replacement (preventively), seals, trims, free upgraded car mats, free upgraded bigger sunvisors...

    Also you might have heard some vocal complaints about suspension problem. There's a service bulletin about suspension system too. If that owner would take his in for annual inspection, I don't think there would be a controversy about it.
     
  12. animorph

    animorph Member

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    Back when we actually had to worry about breaking-in ICE engines, you used to have to come in at about 3 months for the first oil change. My understanding was that the engine wear was pretty high during that time as all the moving parts were bedding in. Can't say I ever had to do that for a transmission, but the one year DU fluid change may be flushing any early wear metal pieces. They might even change the type of fluid. Or maybe they just want data at one year...
     

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