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Published on September 7th, 2019 | by Paul Fosse

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My One Year Service For My Tesla Model 3

September 7th, 2019 by  


I got my Tesla Model 3 in June 2018 and have about 18,000 miles on it, so it was recently time to have my one year service.

Last week, I wrote about my maintenance, repairs and fuel expenses for 7 different cars over the last 15 years. The summary of that is that maintenance and repairs were about $1,000 a year per car for me — less when the cars were new and more as they aged. I’ve also written about Model 3 maintenance here, where I predicted the costs would be about $1,000 over 5 years, or $200 a year, including tires. But I also state in this article on total cost of ownership that there should be about $1,103 in repairs over 5 years.

Done At Home

1. Rotate Tires. I used the coin trick to measure my tire depth and found I didn’t get as accurate a measurement as I would have had I used a tire gauge as pictured above. This was in part because it was a little dark and I couldn’t see the coin very well. I thought my rear tires were at 4/32 and my front tires were at 6/32, so figured I needed a rotation. My first rotation was free at the service center about 8 months ago, so this one would be the first I’d be paying for.

I scheduled service through my Tesla app and asked to be converted to mobile service. The coordinator told me that the price for a rotation had been recently increased from $75 plus fees to $100 plus fees, or $117. I didn’t want to take time to drive to a shop for two reasons. One, they might damage the battery. Two, it would take a few hours to drive there, wait for a rotation, and drive back. I remembered that an ex-Tesla employee, Mike McGinnis, offered to do rotations at my home or work for $50. I scheduled for him to come out.

When Mike more accurately measured my tread depth at 5.5/32 in the back and 6/32 in the front, it was clear I really didn’t need a rotation. Well, I had brought him to my home, so I got one anyway since that is the right thing to do.

Mike rotating my tires. He has the same color Model 3 and it is about the same age.

My suggestion is to get a gauge and rotate if the tires are wearing unevenly. Be sure to check the tread depth 3 times for each tire — inner, middle, and outer. If they are wearing a little more in the back but evenly otherwise, simply rotate the tires. If they are wearing in a strange way, you should have someone look at the car and you probably need an alignment and/or your wheels balanced.

Screenshot from Amazon.com

2. Windshield Wipers. I replaced those in June, as I mentioned in this article, for $62 for blades that claim to last 2 years. I should mention that Tesla Service mentioned that several people have broken their windshields when replacing their wipers. Put a towel on the windshield while you change them (if you do it yourself), so that if the arms without blades slap your windshield, the towel absorbs the shock.

Tesla Mobile Service

How they organize the back of the Model S to use it for Mobile Service.

Side note: The mobile service technician used to work at Mercedes, and he said Teslas are much simpler to work on.

3. Cabin Air Filters. These shouldn’t have to be replaced till your car is 2 years old, but living in VERY humid Florida, my Model 3 came down with a slight case of the musty smell each time you first turned it on. Service verified that I already had the software fix for this, which runs the fans for a bit after the car is turned off so that water doesn’t accumulate in the system and get funky, but they recommended I also replace the cabin air filter early and have the evaporator cleaned.

Copy of a section of my invoice from Tesla.

Comparison of my new air filter on the left and old on the right.

Comparison of my new filter on the left and old on the right. This is the clean side, so not much difference.

I have not been able to find compatible filters available from anyone but Tesla. They cost $35 for 2 from the service center and are in short supply, so you cannot buy extra filters from them right now.

If you live in a humid climate and have this issue and want to save money instead of pay the full $147 I spent, you could just do these things on your own. The cheaper way to go would be to just buy the filters from Tesla for $35 and the refresher from Amazon for $6.

Screenshot from Amazon.com

I wanted to get the full service to see what it entailed, but the $78 for evaporator cleaning was just spraying some stuff into the evaporator. After I did the refresher a month ago, neither my wife nor I have smelled the funky smell, so I probably didn’t need the evaporator cleaning, but YMMV (your mileage may vary).

4. Charge Pot Insulator Pins. I didn’t know I needed this, but they said they were replacing these on all cars as they did the service. Maybe the old pins weren’t strong enough and sometimes break.

Copy of a section of my invoice from Tesla

You cannot really see the pins, but they are in there.

5. Brake Clips. I noticed brake squealing when using Summon that I didn’t notice while driving the car. The sound was more audible at low speeds (Summon goes like 2 miles an hour), and I noticed squealing from the rear brakes one day. In the Tesla forums, some early owners said they had their brake clips replaced for this issue. Tesla checked it out and found I had the same problem, so they replaced all 8 of my rear brake clips (they hold the brake pads), even though only 2 were broken. They said the other 6 were weaker than the new parts and would cause trouble if not replaced. See picture below.

Copy of a section of my invoice from Tesla

The clip on the left is new, the clip on the right is old and broken. Notice the difference?

Clips go here. I forgot to take a picture when he had it taken further apart.

This technician does not use the hockey pucks to lift the car. He said it is just to ensure you are lifting in the correct place and he knows the lift points.

Conclusion

You can see I probably spent more than I needed to. I could have just run my tires more miles without rotating, done the refresher myself, and replaced the filters myself. Even so, I spent about $160 (including tax) with Tesla Mobile Service, $50 for a tire rotation, and $62 for wipers — that’s $272 for maintenance and repairs for 18,000 miles. Not great, but not bad either. I’ll be getting tires in the next year and will write about how I selected them.

Use my Tesla referral link to get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 (you can’t use it on the Model Y yet), here’s the link: https://ts.la/paul92237 (but if someone else helped you, please use their link). 
 
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About the Author

A Software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237



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