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Are Teslas Maintenance-Free?

Manufacturers  ·  August 6, 2022

Are Teslas Maintenance-Free?

Teslas are all the rage among new car buyers, and they’re only becoming more popular by the day. Still, while people are busy focusing on the benefits of all-electric Teslas, car buyers must understand the maintenance involved with these vehicles.

Despite all the benefits that Tesla vehicles offer, they are not maintenance-free. Yes, they are simpler to maintain since they don’t need oil changes or the many services a combustion engine car requires. Still, you need to maintain the tyres, wheels, brakes, and many more.

Don’t worry. Car maintenance as a Tesla owner isn’t too complicated. Still, this guide will show you everything you need to know about Tesla maintenance and how it differs from servicing a combustion-engine car.

Is a Tesla Hard to Maintain?

No, a Tesla car isn’t hard to maintain. Tesla models are relatively easier to maintain than traditional combustion-engine vehicles because they have fewer parts that require attention.

Remember: A Tesla is an all-electric vehicle. So, Teslas don’t have a combustion engine vehicle that requires regular oil changes or the occasional gasket replacement.

Despite being all-electric, Teslas share many of the same components a conventional car has, including air conditioning systems, brakes, wheels and tyres, and so on.

As you might expect, those parts require regular maintenance, just like non-EVs.

So, before you invest in one of those cars, you'll still have to consider the Tesla maintenance cost. In addition, you’ll still need to set aside money every year to keep a Tesla up and running.

On top of that, Teslas also rely on a lot of computing power to function optimally. 

And what kind of maintenance do computers need? 

That’s right! Your Tesla will require regular software updates. Thankfully, those updates can happen over WiFi in the comfort of your own home.

On the plus side, Teslas are also easier to maintain because they have remote diagnostics features. That means you can have a technician check your vehicle for problems remotely without driving it to a service centre.

If, for whatever reason, you can't get to a service centre, you can also call a mobile service technician to come to you. Many parts of the world offer this service, and Tesla is continuously expanding their reach.

Does Tesla Have to Be Plugged in for Software Update?

No, Tesla software updates happen ‘over-the-air’, which means they’ll download over WiFi and install in the vehicle whenever possible.

Unlike regular cars, a Tesla will require the occasional software update to continue functioning optimally. These updates are similar to any other kind of software update you might download on your computer or smartphone.

Phases of Software Update for a Tesla Vehicle

When it comes to Teslas, the software update happens through two phases, which are:

  1. The Download phase: Like any other software update, the first step is downloading the new software. This phase happens 'over-the-air', which means that Tesla delivers the update to the vehicle from a cloud-based server. The car then receives the update over a WiFi connection, which means the whole process happens remotely. At this phase, the vehicle downloads the update but does not install it just yet.
  2. The Install phase: When the time is right, the car will move to the next phase to Install the update. For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot be driven or charged during installation. So even if you plug the Tesla into its charger, the charging process won’t begin until the software update installation is complete.

Tesla software updates are a crucial part of their regular maintenance. Downloading and installing those updates is arguably just as important as other maintenance tasks involving the vehicle’s automotive components.

How Often Does a Tesla Need Servicing?

Despite being easier to maintain than a combustion-engine vehicle, you still must take your car in for regularly scheduled Tesla maintenance. That will happen at a Tesla service centre unless it's for software updates or you decide to call a mobile service technician to your location.

Each Tesla model has a different recommendation for service inspection intervals, i.e., when you should take your Tesla to a service centre to get checked. That information will be in the vehicle’s user manual.

Servicing Schedule or Interval for Tesla Vehicles

Tesla does have clearly defined service intervals for specific components, such as:

Aside from the items mentioned above and a few other maintenance tasks, servicing a Tesla is generally done whenever necessary. For example, you'd take the car to the service centre if there's a problem requiring a technician's attention. 

Don’t worry, your Tesla will inform you of any impending issue—for instance, it will warn you that your tyres need air long before they approach the critical limits.  

How Often Do Tesla Updates Come Out?

Tesla software updates usually don’t happen on a fixed schedule. Instead, there might be a significant update that comes out monthly, plus a few minor updates that occur from time to time.

As mentioned before, these updates happen in two phases. So, the update will download to the car over WiFi whenever it’s available. 

Then, the car will install the update when it’s not being driven. The Tesla will also pause charging during the installation process if the vehicle is plugged in.

What Are the Common Problems of Tesla Cars?

As you read above, regular maintenance tasks for a Tesla are pretty minor (e.g. checking tyres, wipers, and brakes). Any major maintenance or repairs will only happen as needed when problems pop up.

So, aside from those regular maintenance tasks, here are common problems of Teslas that will cause you to bring a Tesla to a service centre:

These problems are known to happen in Teslas even today. While diagnostics can happen remotely, you’ll have to bring the car into a service centre to be fixed by technicians, unless you have access to mobile technicians who can visit your location.

What Does a Tesla Servicing Include?

Tesla servicing focuses on parts like:

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Tesla?

When you buy a Tesla in Australia, you can buy a 3-year (or 60,000 km) or 4-year (or 80,000 km) maintenance plan.

Depending on the specific Tesla model you purchase, those maintenance plans can cost anywhere from $2,025 to $3,675 each.

Each plan you buy includes annual service inspections once every year or per 20,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. Those inspections cover the basics mentioned earlier, like cabin air filter replacements, wheel alignment, tire balancing, and more.

Tesla has separate charges for individual repairs based on the specific part being fixed or replaced.


By Ray Hasbollah

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