Are Teslas Truly Expensive to Maintain For Travel: Breaking Down the Numbers

It’s no secret that Tesla is one of the most popular and fast-growing electric car brands out there. 

From its pioneering position as a luxury electric vehicle retailer to its wide range of technological features, Tesla has caught the world by storm with its innovative and marvelous offerings.

But don’t be fooled: Tesla’s prestige isn’t faultless. Not only are Tesla cars way too expensive for the average person, but Tesla car owners also often complain about their cars’ exorbitant maintenance fees.

To add some context, on average, electric vehicles are typically cheaper to maintain than gas guzzlers thanks to their lower amount of moving parts. 

Less oil, fewer valves, an absence of a combustible engine—all these factors make an EV owner very happy. In fact, EV car owners can save as much as $330 per year because of their car selection.

Tesla, strangely enough, doesn’t follow this trend. The average annual maintenance cost for your standard Tesla car is $832 per year. This is $180 more per year in annual maintenance fees than other cars (on average), including gas-powered vehicles.

This begs the question: what makes Tesla so expensive for the average consumer? Is there a valid reason for its high maintenance fee? Or is it the company’s cunning marketing attempts to squeeze more value from its customers?

Let’s break down the numbers and uncover why Tesla cars are as expensive as they are.

Average Cost of Repairing Tesla Parts

Here’s a list of Tesla benchmark costs (in USD) that owners can expect when they go to the repair shop:

Aircon service: $50-100, repaired every 2 years.

Aero shield replacement: $430

Brake system flush: $100–110, repaired every 2 years.

Superbottle replacement: $675.

Wiper blade replacement: $50, repaired when broken.

Cabin air filter replacement: $200, repaired every 3 years.

Tyre balancing, rotation, or alignment: $100, repaired every 10,000 km.

Tyre replacement: $800

PTC/Cabin heater: $1,150

Generally speaking, the more expensive the Tesla model, the pricier it is to repair it throughout its lifetime. To paint an example, the Tesla Model X has an average maintenance cost of $572 per year, whereas the Tesla Model 3’s annual cost is just $359 per year.

Furthermore, a normal Tesla car needs to be maintained once every 3 years, but this can shift up or down depending on your driving habits and the current effectiveness of your car parts.

What Makes Tesla Repairs Expensive?

What Makes Tesla Repairs Expensive?

Several possible reasons can underscore Tesla’s pricier repair fees compared to both electric vehicles and gas-powered vehicles.

So what makes repair so expensive? Quite a number of factors, particularly the step-by-step procedures to repair the broken vehicle, Tesla-made parts, Tesla-specific tools, and the labour used to conduct the repair.

Let’s look into these factors in more detail:

1. Expensive Car Parts

Tesla ranks among the world’s most expensive car manufacturers. And this isn’t just for show—Tesla also produces a lot of its car parts in-house to uphold its level of quality.

This can be a good and a bad thing. It’s good because its unique designs and prototypes pave the way for new technological advancements to be added to their various electric vehicle models. 

It’s bad, on the other hand, because it’s near-impossible to find a generic car part that can fit Tesla’s build when the time comes for you to repair it. 

Many Tesla drivers have reported that the repair process for Tesla is both time-consuming and expensive. A minor scratch or dent can set owners back tens of thousands of dollars and half a year of processing. One person reported that it set her back $14,000.

In contrast, repairs for other electric vehicles are equal to or as low as their gas-powered counterparts. In fact, the difference between Tesla repairs and gas-powered car repairs is as high as $950.

Furthermore, the cost of a Tesla battery is also more expensive on average than a standard EV battery by over $1,000. This can translate to more expensive repair bills.

Having said that, it should be noted that Tesla cars are among the least likely to get into a collision, even during self-driving operations. 

Regardless, it’s essential to get the right insurance for your Tesla and ROLLiN’ Insurance for Teslas can do just the trick.

2. Specialised Repair Centres

Tesla maintains a network of repair centres equipped with tools and technicians who are equipped with the skills to repair Tesla vehicles. And it doesn’t need to be said that running these centres with both the labour and overhead in mind is costly.

In the US, there are over 191 Tesla repair centres, with about 25% of them being in the state of California. In Australia, on the other hand, there are about 15 of these repair centres—5 in Queensland, 4 in New South Wales, 2 in Victoria, and the other 4 in other territories.

Depending on the level of repair needed, you may or may not need to get specialised care from these centres. Cosmetic scratches and replacements may be fixable with the right non-Tesla car mechanic; however, for more specific repair work, you’d need to go to these certified centres for a fix.

Whether you go to these Tesla centres or not, the markup of repairing a Tesla is usually expensive due to the technical skill and, in some cases, specific car parts needed to carry out the maintenance.

3. Tesla Offers Warranties

Another reason why Tesla is expensive is because it guarantees protection for your car in case there are defects in your vehicle that you’ve detected during or before use.

Tesla offers bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage for 4 years/50,000 miles under the basic vehicle limited warranty.

Furthermore, battery coverage for all Teslas is 8 years and can range from 100,000 miles to 150,000 miles depending on the model. 

If you purchased your Tesla second-hand, Tesla also offers used car warranty coverage that begins on the first day of ownership transfer. This can be transferred to subsequent owners.

4. Advanced Software and Electronics

If there’s one thing that sets Tesla apart from its competition, then it’s its sophisticated software. From bespoke infotainment systems to autonomous driving features, Tesla’s functional complexity is unparalleled.

That said, when problems occur on the software side, it will need specialist repairmen to diagnose and treat the problem. The level of complexity of the job naturally necessitates a higher price for Tesla owners to pay out, which can further increase the annual maintenance expense.

Labour hours can be quite steep, ranging from $150 to $200 an hour in some places. It can take a while too. This is why it’s important to take care of your Tesla to ensure that it remains durable for years to come.

Ways to Keep Tesla Safe

Are Teslas Truly Expensive to Maintain For Travel: Breaking Down the Numbers

Owning a Tesla is expensive, through and through. While there are ways to minimise the cost, such as insurance for repairs and grants for purchases, it’s best to take proactive measures to keep your electric vehicle in top condition as well.

Here are ways you can do just that:

1. Install a dashcam: Added surveillance helps protect you in case of collisions made by another party.

2. Download software updates: Keep your vehicle’s software up to date to prevent cyber hackers from tinkering with your car’s settings.

3. Familiarise yourself with autopilot: Know the capabilities of Tesla’s autopilot system before leaving it on its own.

4. Use regenerative braking: Avoid braking suddenly and allow the Tesla to stop smoothly.

5. Be a defensive driver: Apply safe driving practices on motorways, highways, busy roads, and narrow roads.

By adopting these practices, you can minimise your Tesla’s downtime in repair shops and maximise its time on the road.

Good luck driving!

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