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If you’ve heard of electric vehicles or EVs as we’ve come to know them, you probably know that Tesla is a big player in the EV arena. Of course, owning a Tesla saves money at the gas pump, but is a Tesla maintenance-free? Is going to a Tesla service center expensive? Does a Tesla cost more or less to own than a comparable gasoline-powered car?

Do Teslas need a lot of maintenance? 

Tesla automotive car service being performed by a maintenance technician in Ningo, Zhejiang, China
Tesla car service | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Compared to gasoline-powered vehicles that require routine engine oil and oil filter changes, periodic fuel and air intake filter replacement, and expensive spark plug and emissions control equipment replacement, a Tesla does not require significant maintenance. However, Teslas require routine maintenance tasks similar to any vehicle and some particular maintenance tasks due to the unique systems present in an EV, like regenerative braking.

How often is Tesla maintenance service needed? 

Like any new vehicle, Tesla includes a maintenance schedule with each new EV it sells. Simple tasks like changing the cabin air filter every two or three years, depending on which Tesla model you own, are easy for nearly anyone to complete. 

A task like rotating tires every 6,250 miles is easy enough with the proper readily available tools and specifications, but at the same time, you should have your Tesla wheels aligned. Unfortunately, a wheel alignment takes special equipment requiring a trip to a Tesla maintenance center. Using non-Tesla service centers may affect your warranty, making rotating your tires on your own questionable. 

Presumably, the most expensive maintenance task is “Clean and Lubricate Brake Calipers” annually or every 12,500 miles if you drive in areas that apply salt to roadways during winter weather. 

Are Tesla’s expensive to fix? 

Tesla cars are more expensive to maintain and fix whenever they require repairs than the most common gasoline-powered cars in their class. The requirement for using specially trained Tesla technicians inflates the cost for even the most straightforward maintenance task. Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that your local automotive repair shop has anyone on staff trained to repair EVs or with access to Tesla’s service manual specifications. 

Is buying a Tesla worth it?

Kelly Blue Book found that maintaining a Tesla Model 3 for five years costs about $300 more than maintaining a “similarly sized Acura” over the same period. However, the savings at the fuel pump over five years offset the higher maintenance cost. 

Perhaps a more significant consideration before buying a Tesla is convenience. While Tesla experiences surging demand for its vehicles, available service centers become overwhelmed. Mobile service technicians that come to your Tesla provide another option for essential maintenance services, but some tasks require special equipment only found at authorized Tesla service centers. 

Recharging your Tesla EV is another consideration. If you have a short commute to school, work, or other places you frequently travel, you may never need to charge your Tesla anywhere except at your home. However, if you live in an apartment that doesn’t have the correct EV charging facilities or if you exceed your Tesla’s range, you’ll have to find a compatible charging station. 


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