A Toronto-based owner of a 2012 Tesla Model S recently publicly revealed that he was quoted a price of $8,500 for the repair of his car’s brakes. This was after taking his Model S in for repairs at a service center, following concerns about a “rattle and softness” in the brake pedal.
It should be stated upfront, though, that the Tesla service center in question ended up waiving the labor costs — bringing the total that the customer actually paid down to $5,824.75. (A side note: the Model S had only slightly over 60,000 miles on it at the time.)
Still, that’s quite a lot of money, isn’t it? Even for a place that’s relatively rough on cars, like Toronto (tons of salt on the roads during the winter).
So, why exactly were the repair costs so high? Our sister site Gas 2 provides more info:
Here’s a list of the items the service center said needed replacing:
Brake caliper assembly with piston (each): $745.00
Rear rotor (each): $331.00
Front rotor (each): $290.00
Parking brake caliper with pads: $1,235.00
While the car was in for service, the upper control arm on the driver’s side was also replaced at a cost of $261.00.
The customer was told that all 4 brake pistons had seized due to a combination of several factors. First, with regenerative braking being normal on an electric car like the Tesla, the mechanical brakes don’t get used nearly as much as they do in a conventional car. The service adviser suggested he treat the car to several hard brake applications each week to keep the braking system in good working order.
Second, salt on the roads leads to corrosion on the brake rotors. Apparently, it can also affect the calipers themselves. Third, the brakes should be serviced by Tesla every year in harsh climates.
While those prices seem quite steep, costs for similar repair jobs on other high-priced luxury cars are often similarly high — despite the presence of third-party repair options for those other brands. While Tesla currently has (and likely will maintain) a monopoly on the repair of its vehicles, the repair costs in question don’t seem substantially higher than those for any other $100,000 car. It should also be noted that Elon Musk has said in the past that he doesn’t want Tesla service to be a profit center — just to cover its costs.
Here’s a bit more from Gas 2:
How Teslas perform as they age will become more of a factor in coming years. Decades ago, Toyota and Honda were able to crack the American market because they made cars that lasted much longer than domestic brands. Some of you may remember when a car with 50,000 miles on the odometer was thought of as ready for the crusher. If Teslas get a reputation for being money pits after the warranty runs out, that is going to put a crimp in the company’s plans to sell millions and millions of cars.
A final note here: it should be mentioned that the owner had to wait 3 weeks for his service visit. That’s quite a while to wait for a potentially dangerous issue. That’s an area that Tesla will really need to improve on if there really are going to be millions of Teslas on the roads in well under a decade like CEO Elon Musk predicts.
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