Tesla updates maintenance plans; higher fees now include hardware updates


2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

Electric cars may require significantly less maintenance than internal-combustion cars, but even they will break down eventually.

So the Silicon Valley automaker offers maintenance plans, which allow owners to prepay for annual inspections and other routine work.

Early in the life of the Model S, owners criticized the company for appearing to tie warranty coverage to purchase of a $600 annual maintenance plan—and Tesla backed down.

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Tesla recently tweaked its maintenance plans, raising the fees after more than four years, but also adding more services.

The new services include hardware upgrades similar in nature to Tesla's periodic over-the-air software updates, according to Electrek.

Tesla routinely pushes software and feature updates when they are ready, rather than following to the more traditional scheduled of mid-cycle refreshes and periodic redesigns used by other automakers.

2017 Tesla Model S

2017 Tesla Model S

Enlarge Photo

Hardware changes are obviously more involved than over-the-air software updates, since they require owners to bring their cars to service centers.

The maintenance plans also cover things like wheel alignments and tire rotations, checks of coolant and brake-fluid-levels, as well as replacement of items like the key-fob battery, windshield wipers, and cabin air filter.

Tesla recommends vehicle inspections every year or 12,500 miles, which owners can pay for on an individual basis without opting for a maintenance plan.

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The maintenance plans cover either three or four of these annual inspections, as well as the services discussed above. Tesla has made it slightly more cost-effective to buy all four up front.

Four years of service for owners who choose the three-year plans will cost $2,400 for a rear-wheel drive Model S, $2,475 for an all-wheel drive Model S, and $2,825 for a Model X.

The same four years under the four-year plans cost $2,325 for a rear-wheel drive Model S, $2,400 for an all-wheel drive Model S, and $2,750 for a Model X.

2017 Tesla Model X

2017 Tesla Model X

Enlarge Photo

In all cases, Tesla says, the maintenance plans are less expensive than paying for annual inspections individually over the same period.

Owners previously had 60 days after delivery to purchase a maintenance plan, but the company now extends the option until the date of the first recommended inspection—1year or 12,500 miles.

The Silicon Valley automaker has also added roadside assistance to its Extended Service Agreement (essentially an extended warranty).

The regular Tesla new-car warranty still remains in effect for 4 years or 50,000 miles, with an 8-year, unlimited-mile battery warranty.

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