You may have had your Tesla for some time and feel you understand it's gremlins and what needs to be fixed before the general car warranty ends, but we know of a few issues that owners do not spot until it is too late. There are also sometimes conditions where extended warranty can only be taken our while the car is still under an existing warranty. We've produced a checklist to help.
Tesla say cars do not require routine servicing and recommend a small number of maintenance activities. If you only take the car to a garage when you detect a problem then you are unlikely to uncover emerging faults which may become more expensive to fix at a later date, or could leave you stranded when they fail. An example could be the wiring loom rubbing against a component which will eventually short, or the universal joint on the MS and MX steering which can stick.
Aside from the out of warranty inspection, we believe a general service/inspection is worth doing to keep the car in good health. There are an increasing number of independent garages capable of performing this work at much better rates than Tesla. We would recommend every 2 years/25k miles as a sensible interval which would also correspond to just before the car goes out of warranty.
If you do follow such a servicing regime, then asking the asking the garage to perform an end of warranty inspection should be a relatively small increment on the work they are already planning to do.
Regular wheel alignment is worth doing as this can reduce tyre wear as Tesla’s are prone to the inner edges wearing excessively which is difficult to spot. While the alignment needing correction is not in itself a warranty issue, it may highlight a more significant issue with the suspension which may be.
The warranty on a car is split into two parts:
Many makes of car offer a formal end of warranty inspection. This is largely because they operate a franchise model and they will be paid by the manufacturer for any issues they find that require attention. Tesla don't operate a franchise model, and while offering various service items, and offering a quick inspection, we don't feel this is sufficient to really uncover all the potential looming issues.
If you don't normally opt for a regular service, then we would suggest you do just before the end of warranty and ask for an end of warranty inspection using an independent garage. We think spending a few hundred on your car once in 4 years is money well spent as it still has suspension, brakes, cooling, air con, lights, wiring of all types, door seals, hinges, filters etc and making sure they're all in good health seems a small price to pay.
In many countries, cars require a regular formal inspection for roadworthiness and safety. In the UK there is an MOT which happens annually from the cars 3rd birthday (or more often if a taxi). In the US this is determined at State level and can be very from none, light touch (Delaware for instance require no safety inspection for 7 years if with the first owner) through to routine such as New York requiring an annual safety inspection.
These inspections can pick up significant safety issues and depending on the testing standard can also provide advisories. While this can be a back stop on the most significant issues, we don't feel these tests are good enough for an out of warranty inspection.
In our buyers guides for each model we include a list of the common warranty issues. These also provide a guide on what to look for as the most common developing faults.
The common things you can look for yourself, and you can do this at any time, include:
Tesla may resist some of these issues being warranty matters and say they are ‘wear and tear’. Depending on the nature of the issue they may be correct, but it is worth getting them addressed early. Water ingress can lead to rust and wearing suspension can lead to excessive tyre wear or failure, so it is worth taking advice.
If you're considering an extended warranty, it is worth taking these out before the existing warranty expires and is often a requirement, especially when extending the Tesla warranty. The reason for this is simple, if the car is under constant warranty cover it is unlikely an owner is only taking out the warranty because they know of a defect they want fixing and it will be cheaper to do this by taking out the warranty.