Buying a Tesla is no small investment, but how much do they cost to maintain? In this analysis, we’ll look at the average Tesla maintenance cost, Tesla reliability, and how unforeseen repairs factor into the true price of Tesla ownership.
To make your Tesla maintenance cost more affordable, you may consider getting an extended warranty from the manufacturer or a third-party company—which can mitigate having to pay for mechanical repairs out of pocket.
Because Teslas are high-tech, not all providers offer Tesla coverage. But we’ll introduce you to one of the best extended car warranty companies on the market that does provide Tesla coverage: CarShield. Get a free quote from CarShield below to go ahead and see how much you would pay for a Tesla extended warranty.
Our research found this provider to be the most affordable. Plus, it offers monthly plans.
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Average Tesla Maintenance Cost
Teslas aren’t as common as other vehicle makes, so it can be difficult to estimate the cost of ownership. Based on customer reviews collected from forums, we were able to determine that the average Tesla maintenance cost can range from about $300 to $500 per year. Pricing will depend on your car’s model, age, and mileage.
Typically, our review team turns to RepairPal for reliability ratings and average vehicle maintenance costs. However, there is not much data online regarding Tesla costs. Here are a few estimates based on the first-person customer reports we found:
|Tesla Maintenance Service||Tesla Maintenance Cost|
|Cabin air filter replacement||$60 to $200|
|Wiper blade replacement||$20 to $50|
|Tire rotation||$35 to $100|
|Brake system flush||$100 to $110|
|Air conditioning service||$50|
|Full-service maintenance, which includes an inspection as well as the services listed above||$475 or higher|
While these prices aren’t outrageous, and will almost certainly cost less than maintenance for a gasoline-powered vehicle, investing in an extended car warranty could still help make your Tesla maintenance cost more affordable.
Is Tesla a Reliable Car Brand?
Tesla vehicles are not known for their reliability. In fact, the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM rated Tesla dead last in quality out of 30 car brands tested.
The study, which measures the number of problems new vehicle owners experience during the first 90 days of ownership, found 250 problems per 100 Tesla vehicles, which was the highest number of problems found among individual car brands.
What Goes Into Tesla Maintenance Cost?
Interestingly, Teslas do not have a required or recommended maintenance schedule. Tesla stopped recommending yearly maintenance check-ups in 2019, which makes Tesla maintenance unlike any other car brand. Instead, Tesla recommends customers seek certain services on an as-needed basis.
Some items that the Tesla website recommends customers change periodically include:
- Cabin air filter: Replace every two years.
- High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter: Replace every three years.
- Tire rotation, balance, and wheel alignment: Have tires serviced every 6,250 miles.
- Brake fluid test: Test brake fluid for contamination every two years.
- Air conditioning service: Get air conditioning serviced every two years for the Model S, every four years for the Model X and Model Y, and every six years for the Model 3.
- Winter care: Clean and lubricate all brake calipers each year or every 12,500 miles for cars in cold-weather regions.
You can schedule a maintenance appointment using the Tesla app. This app will also keep track of parts and let drivers know when car parts could use service.
Vehicle Protection Plans and Tesla Maintenance Cost
Vehicle protection plans, also called extended car warranties or vehicle service contracts, protect your wallet against the costly repairs of a mechanical breakdown. Not all extended car warranty providers cover Tesla cars because of their non-traditional high-tech systems and expensive components, but you do have a few options.
Tesla Factory Warranty and Maintenance Cost
Before diving into Tesla extended warranty options, let’s talk about the coverage automatically included with every new Tesla. Like many cars, new Teslas come with two protection plans.
The first is the Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty, which comes standard for all Tesla models. This bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. This warranty promises to repair damages caused by defective materials or faulty workmanship during the coverage term.
The second is less comprehensive, protecting just the battery and drive unit. The length of coverage differs depending on the model of Tesla you own: Model S and Model X vehicles are covered for 8 years/150,000 miles, and all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles are covered for 8 years/120,000 miles.
These warranty coverage terms are relatively standard. They’re slightly shorter than some of the best new car warranties, but because Teslas have different parts than gas cars, they also have different coverage needs.
Tesla Extended Service Agreement
If you plan to keep your Tesla longer than 4 years/50,000 miles, you may want to consider a Tesla extended warranty. An extended service plan from Tesla can extend the factory warranty of Model S and Model X vehicles for an additional 2 years/25,000 miles or 4 years/50,000 miles.
Tesla extended warranties must be purchased within 30 days or 1,000 miles of the factory warranty expiration date, and if you purchase coverage within your first 180 days of vehicle ownership, you can save $500 on your warranty.
Here’s how pricing breaks down for each model:
|Tesla Model||Coverage Term||Purchased Within 180 Days||Purchased After 180 Days|
|Model S||2 years/25,000 miles||$2,100||$2,600|
|Model S||4 years/50,000 miles||$4,250||$4,750|
|Model X||2 years/25,000 miles||$2,400||$2,900|
|Model X||4 years/50,000 miles||$4,800||$5,300|
These prices are quite high compared to extended warranties for typical cars, but as electric vehicles, Teslas are much more expensive to repair, so it makes sense for coverage to be costlier.
Third-Party Tesla Extended Warranty Providers
You may be able to find a lower-priced Tesla extended warranty from a third-party provider. Third-party providers often have more flexible coverage and repair options. Here are some pros and cons of an extended Tesla warranty from a third-party provider:
|Plans are more customizable.||Not every extended warranty provider covers Teslas.|
|Third-party companies offer more flexible payment plans than manufacturers.||Plans are written for all car brands, not specifically for Teslas.|
If Tesla maintenance costs have you worried about your personal finances, you’re not alone. Many drivers purchase extended warranties because they provide ultimate peace of mind on the road to know you’re protected against hefty repair bills in the event of a breakdown.
Our Top Recommendation for a Tesla Extended Warranty
If you’re interested in an extended car warranty for your Tesla, you may have trouble finding coverage for such a high-tech, expensive vehicle. The Tesla extended warranty could be worth it. Or, you can go with a third-party provider like CarShield.
CarShield: Best Value
CarShield is one of the only top extended car warranty providers that currently covers Tesla vehicles. The company sells contracts for all models that may help lower your repair bills and Tesla maintenance cost.
CarShield offers drivers five plans:
- Diamond: Bumper-to-bumper coverage that’s best for new cars
- Platinum: Stated-component coverage that’s best for high-mileage vehicles
- Gold: Powertrain plus coverage that’s best for drivers of unreliable vehicles
- Silver: Powertrain coverage that’s best for drivers on a budget
- Aluminum: Specialty plan that’s best for cars with high-tech components
CarShield is also one of the only providers that has protection plans for motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. Some benefits that come with all CarShield extended warranties include:
- Rental car reimbursement
- Courtesy towing
- 24/7 roadside assistance
Our review team prides itself on sharing accurate and unbiased information with consumers. We have accumulated data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate our rankings of the industry’s best providers. Companies receive a score out of 5.0 overall, as well as a rating in each of the following categories:
- Price: Comparing providers can be difficult due to the many factors that influence cost. To determine this score, we employ a secret shopper analysis using different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations.
- Coverage: A wide variety of coverage is essential to support the differing needs of customers. We take into account the number of extended car warranty plans available, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
- Customer Service: The level of customer service and care provided by an extended warranty company is an important consideration. Our review team sifts through customer reviews and complaints from reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. We also consider the responsiveness of each company’s customer service team based on our secret shopper analysis.
- Reputation: Good extended warranty providers consistently provide quality experiences. Our team takes into account BBB ratings and the company’s history of reliable service when giving this score.
- Transparency: Customers value a commitment to open and honest communication when it comes to vehicle service contracts. Our team of experts takes into account the availability of money-back guarantees and sample contracts.