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Tesla Model 3 Maintenance Costs — Two Years of Driving (Tires, Locked Trunk, 12V Battery)

We’ve had our Tesla Model 3 SR+ for a bit more than 2 years now. I recently had a service visit for a couple of things, but rather than write only about them, I figured it would be useful for people to see our full service history with the car. I’m going to go backward from most recent to least recent, since the recent stuff is more interesting. Here we go….

Opening Trunk

A few months ago, I went to open the trunk and it wouldn’t open. After a day of not getting it to open, and needing to get some tennis equipment out of it for my daughters, I realized I might be able to go through the back seat and open it from the inside. Indeed, that worked, since there’s a manual latch in the trunk door. The trunk then worked, so I figured it was just a temporary glitch.

At around the same time, the backup camera didn’t work a few times. But then it came back and worked like normal.

We were going to Europe for a month and a half to spend time with my wife’s family, so I didn’t want to mess with service appointments at the time, and everything seemed to be back to normal.

After we returned, though, within a couple of days, the trunk wouldn’t open again. And the camera acted up a few times just like before. I opened the trunk manually several times, but it wouldn’t start working correctly again, so I knew it needed service. I scheduled a mobile service visit and a few days later the ranger came and checked it out. He hadn’t seen this problem before but talked to a colleague who had seen it a few times in Texas. Here’s what it turned out the issue was:

There’s a wiring harness in the trunk door that carries wires from various things back there to the front (including from the cameras and trunk latch). If a wire or two gets damaged, things stop working. In such a case, the whole harness has to be replaced. Here’s a short video of me just showing that the trunk won’t open trying from either the touchscreen or the trunk itself:

This is not a mobile service task, and Tesla had to order a part before providing the service. Eventually, though, 3 weeks after I put in the initial service request, I had an appointment at the local Tesla service center and brought the car in for the harness to be replaced. It was all done under warranty, so at no cost to me, aside from the time.

Replacing Tires

New tires at nearly 17,000 miles and two years of ownership. Photo by Zach Shahan/CleanTechnica.

When the mobile service technician visited to look at the trunk, and also at a previous service visit when he came to replace the 12V battery (see below), he checked the tire treads and some other things and told me the tread level was low and should be replaced soon. Not wanting to bother with taking the car to a separate place for tires, and trusting that Tesla would give me a good deal since Tesla’s aim is to not make a profit on service and to treat customers well, I decided to just go with Tesla’s recommendations and not stress. I have since been told by another Tesla owner to just buy tires through Tire Kingdom and that I paid way too much. Next time I will shop around a bit more and have more faith in local tire shops….

In any case, after two years and fewer than 17,000 miles, I replaced all four tires at a cost of almost $1,700 ($1,671.64 to be exact). Yikes. More than I expected.

It seems I’m on the worse end of tire wear and tear. I was told that the normal range is between 15,000 and 25,000 miles. I hardly ever drive on the Interstate and I drive quite calmly (see my Safety Score below), so I was surprised to be on the low end of this window. Though, I have been known to enjoy a good blast-off at almost every chance (red light) that I get. I’ll also admit that I’m almost 40 but do still often feel like a kid (when I’m not thinking about my bum knee or growing belly). Perhaps I am having too much fun. I have committed to trying to be a bit more calm at traffic lights. Sort of.

My Tesla Safety Score a week ago.

12V Battery Replacement

As I reported a few months ago, I had to have my 12V battery replaced just after 15,000 miles and nearly two years of ownership. The cost was $0 since it’s included under warranty, but once you’re out of warranty you may want to keep the cost of a 12V battery in your long-term Tesla Model 3 maintenance budget. You can read more about all of that here.

Tesla Model 3 SR+ about to get 12V battery replaced. Photo by Zach Shahan/CleanTechnica.

Tire Rotation

After a few months more than one year of ownership, and 8 months before replacing the tires, I had the tires rotated by Tesla. That came at a cost of $35.00.

Cabin Air Filter Replacements

At the same time as the above-mentioned tire rotation, I had the cabin air filter replaced. The specific description from Tesla on the invoice is “A/C Odor Removal (Using Evaporator Foam Cleaner, Replace Cabin Filters).” The cost was $50.50 for parts and $39.75 for labor, so $90.25 in total.

That was the second time I had the cabin air filter replaced. The first time was a year before, and just a few months after buying the car. We bought the car right around the time Tesla implemented a software update to better lengthen the life of the air filter since in humid climates (like Florida), it was getting stinky too quickly. As a result of all of that, Tesla replace the filter as a complimentary service (no charge).

Tesla Model 3 Maintenance Summary

So, in summary (and going from oldest to newest this time), in two years of ownership and 17,000 miles (actually, two years, two months, and 18,728 miles as I write this), I’ve had the air filter replaced twice ($0 goodwill service the first time, $90.25 the second), the tires rotated once ($35), the 12V battery replaced once ($0 under warranty), and all 4 tires replaced once ($1671.64). That comes to a total cost of $1796.89 for just over two years of Tesla Model 3 maintenance — which compares pretty favorably to other premium brands.

During the various service visits above, I also had them check out a few things that ended up being nothing or unidentifiable matters that went away (truly little things). Additionally, they refilled my windshield wiper fluid during service center visits and I’m yet to buy any myself.

I also spent $0 charging for almost two years of ownership, but a few months ago moved into a home with a garage and have spent some amount of money (I haven’t kept track) charging at home.

The focus of this article was Tesla Model 3 maintenance, service visits, and total cost of ownership. For more of a “long-term review,” see the full archives for that and see this article in particular: “16 Months With Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (Video Summary).”

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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