Do Teslas Break Down Less Or More? (We Checked)

Being one of the leading brands in the automotive industry, potential buyers often raise questions about Tesla’s reliability.

We know Tesla produces some of the best electric vehicles in the market, but what’s the breakdown rate of those vehicles?

Here’s what you need to know.

Are Tesla’s cheaper to maintain than other cars?

According to a recent study, electric vehicles such as Tesla definitely have higher upfront costs than conventional gas-powered vehicles but their running costs are lower in comparison.

There are more details on why Teslas are so expensive to repair.

Maintaining a Tesla is cheaper than maintaining a modern-day gas-powered vehicle, mainly because ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles comprise multiple smaller parts within the engine bay that require regular maintenance.

Tesla vehicles might be expensive, but their maintenance costs are the lowest in the automotive industry. The automaker recommends a maintenance schedule for all users. Tesla repair costs are low if the vehicle is maintained, but they can be very expensive otherwise.

Unlike gas-powered vehicles, Tesla vehicles only have a few moving parts.

For instance, regular battery checks keep the battery of your Tesla in optimum condition.

Unlike gas vehicles which need engine control unit upgrades, Tesla vehicles have over-the-air software updates which fix any bugs or issues in their automated systems.

Tesla vehicles do not need any fuel refills or engine maintenance like gas-powered vehicles.

Moreover, charging a Tesla costs less than refueling a conventional gas-powered vehicle. With the option of installing an electric vehicle charger at home, the costs are reduced further.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain in states with low electricity prices such as Hawaii.

In addition, the average ICE vehicle costs the owner around $1,120 annually, while maintaining an electric vehicle such as a Tesla can cost less than $500 a year.

On the contrary, buying a Tesla is more expensive than buying a modern conventional vehicle (gas, petrol, or diesel-powered vehicles) which is why many potential buyers argue whether the initial costs of a Tesla EV can account for the money saved on fuel prices.

However, Teslas are cheaper than other supercars.

Do Teslas break down more or less than other electric cars?

Tesla only produces electric vehicles, which means consumers don’t have to worry about fuel prices or high-end repair costs because a Tesla EV would rarely ever break down.

Owners who do not keep their vehicles well-maintained face more issues with their Teslas than the ones who provide specialized care for their vehicles.

You can also read our article here about how often Teslas crash.

Tesla vehicles might have high initial costs, but their repairs and maintenance are relatively much cheaper than the most expensive electric vehicle brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, etc.

For instance, repairing a Mercedes-Benz E250 would cost you more than $700, while a Tesla Model S repair would cost less than $200.

According to J.D Power and Consumer Reports, Tesla vehicles have more problems than other electric vehicle brands in the market, but that doesn’t mean that they break down more often than other EVs.

Consider it this way, electric vehicles rarely have any drivetrain issues, which means the possibility of them breaking down is far less than conventional vehicles.

EVs such as Tesla commonly get most of their fixes through software updates which keeps them in optimal condition.

According to Tesla owners, the vehicles rarely break down unless they haven’t been properly maintained and can last well over 500,000 miles, which is more than most new electric vehicles on the market.

Most owners say that the battery pack can go over 300,000 miles before they have to get a replacement.

However, Tesla battery packs either come with a 4-year or 8-year warranty or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first, which means you can get the battery pack replaced for free under the warranty.

What is typically the first thing to break on a Tesla?

Tesla vehicles don’t break down a lot in comparison to other EVs and gas-powered vehicles, but they do have some common issues in the recent models.

Multiple, Tesla vehicles have issues with automated systems such as autopilot. Many users report that the cruise control system malfunctions and cannot avoid stationary objects at high speeds.

We have written extensively about how reliable Tesla’s self-driving autopilot is.

The autopilot feature is prone to lane incursions, meaning that it would hit any vehicle or object that suddenly narrows the lane because the system does not yet encompass features on how to drive in narrow lanes or avoid colliding against objects such as vehicles that suddenly cut and enter the lane.

Users also complain that frequent usage of the automated system can lead to sudden power loss and it impacts the battery lifespan; draining the battery at a quicker speed.

However, these issues are not found in all Tesla models.

For instance, it doesn’t have acceleration or Autopilot feature features such as the Tesla Model X.

Instead, very few Model 3 vehicles have a slight lock system malfunction which can be repaired under the warranty.

The Tesla Model S has the most complaints regarding transmission issues, with drivers stating that sometimes the entire transmission has to be replaced.

The Tesla Model Y has no user complaints, since it’s a relatively recent model and improved than the previous three models.

Hence, there is no single component that breaks down in all Tesla vehicles. Each Tesla model might have its own set of problems, but it’s unclear in the majority of cases whether the problem lies at the manufacturer’s side or the users.

What are the biggest problems with Tesla cars?

The most common problem found in all new Tesla vehicles is the vehicle’s incapability to avoid a forward collision.

The problem is found in more than a thousand Tesla vehicles in the U.S, being the biggest problem in all Tesla models with this feature.

Tesla owners allegedly claim the Autopilot feature does not alert the driver when there’s a potential risk of collision and the emergency braking system fails to respond at the time of the collision, which results in excessive damage and sometimes total loss of the battery.

The automaker claims to provide software updates to all its existing models every month which fix the major or minor issues in its automated systems.

Recently, Tesla has issued a statement insisting that the autopilot isn’t the cause of the reported accidents and that the full self-driving system and autopilot feature aren’t automated to provide 100% assistance, which is why drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times and be ready to take control.

What the forward collision avoidance feature does is send both visual and audio alerts to the driver when the Tesla, such as the Model Y vehicle sensors, detects a risk of collision.

The system also records and saves footage of the entire incident using the cameras installed in at least 8 different places of Tesla vehicles.

Many Tesla owners report that the footage recorded by the Sentry System connected to the Autopilot, helped them plead their story of the accident to the authorities.

Multiple users reported a problem with the electrical system of some Tesla models, which makes the electrical system malfunction the second most common problem in Tesla vehicles.

Despite the user complaints and highest upfront costs, potential buyers still flock toward Tesla vehicles due to their:

  • reliability,
  • exceptional warranty,
  • and cheaper running costs.

How many miles can a Tesla go without breaking down?

The battery and drive unit warranty on Tesla vehicles differs per model.

For instance, both Model S and X are very similar and have the same warranty of 150,000 miles or 8 years with a 70% battery retention.

This gives the user more than 18 thousand miles of annual driving for eight solid years before the battery or drive unit needs to be replaced.

The Tesla Model 3 has a warranty of 100,000 miles with the same battery retention percentage as the previous two models, whereas the Model Y has a warranty of 120,000 miles before the driving unit has to be replaced.

The basic warranty Tesla offers for users is 50,000 miles for the entire vehicle before the vehicle faces any technical problems. 

Unlike gas-powered conventional vehicles, Tesla electric vehicles do not break down due to a limited number of mechanical components and fewer maintenance requirements.

Still, Tesla vehicles can cover a lot of miles before they start developing any problems with the vehicle or the drive units. Users report that if they keep their Tesla vehicle well-maintained, it can cover more than 300,000 miles on the same battery.

Owners of the original Model S (Model S P85) say that their vehicles have been running well for over a decade.

Are Teslas more expensive to fix than other cars?

As Compared to Electric Vehicles

The Tesla Model X has the lowest cost of repair and maintenance among all Tesla models. 

Even though electric vehicles do not comprise many moving parts, they are relatively new and yet to become a norm, which means any repair could be significant.

If we compare the maintenance costs between Tesla and some high-end brands, we can see the average annual repair cost of the oldest Tesla model; the Model S is less than $300 dollars, while a BMW i8 has an annual repair cost of almost $1000.

The costs can vary depending on how well the users take care of the vehicles.

In the long term, it’s evident that Tesla vehicle repairs are cheaper and more affordable than other electric vehicle repairs in the automotive market.

Moreover, the Porsche 911 has the most exorbitant repair costs, starting at $1,100 per year.

As Compared to Gas-Powered Vehicles

It’s true that gas prices are sky high these days, which gives electric vehicle brands such as Tesla an edge, but consumers wonder whether purchasing an expensive electric vehicle is profitable and economical in the long run.

Tesla vehicles do not need maintenance as often as gas-powered vehicles due to the difference in the making of both drivetrains.

But if you compare the annual maintenance costs, Tesla’s repair and maintenance still costs more than the average conventional vehicle’s maintenance.

For instance, Tesla vehicle maintenance costs are around $832 a year, which is 27% more than gas-powered vehicle maintenance and repair costs (less than $700 dollars a year), according to RepairPal.

How often do Teslas need to be serviced?

Tesla recommends its consumers to get their vehicle serviced when they complete a certain interval; after every 6,000 miles or 1 year.

Here is the maintenance schedule provided by the automaker.

  • As a Tesla owner, you must get a full-service inspection every year.
  • Tire balancing, rotation, and alignment must be checked every 6,250 miles or after every replacement.
  • The cabin air filter installed in a Tesla must be replaced every two years of driving.
  • Brakes must be inspected every two years and the caliper can be replaced after a year for winter care.

In addition, each model has its specific interval for air conditioning service.


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