How Often Do Teslas Have Problems? (We Checked)

Being the leading electric vehicle brand in the entire automotive market, Tesla vehicles are unmatched in technological advancements, but are they not inclined to any problems?

On this page, you’ll find all of the information regarding issues with Tesla models.

How often do Teslas have problems?

According to research, the average number of reported problems per year for Tesla vehicles was 69 in 2012 and is now more than 1,000 per year

The highest number of problems were recorded in all 2021 Tesla models that were sold. An increasing number of problems occurred after the models with Autopilot were sold recently.

Users complained that the forward collision avoidance feature was dysfunctional and caused accidents in some cases.

Read Also: How reliable are Teslas really?

In November 2021, approximately 500 users reported the same issue- there was a malfunction with the phone app which is used to unlock the Tesla vehicles.

The issue was resolved in the first 5 hours, leaving only below 60 reports of a recurring error in the Tesla application.

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, tweeted regarding the issue, stating that the tech team will ensure no such malfunction occurs again.

Tesla vehicles are relatively new to the market in comparison to other brand electric vehicles, which means the data accumulated regarding vehicle problems cannot be very accurate. A lot of times, the lack of maintenance or a driver’s mistake causes a Tesla to malfunction.

For instance, if the seatbelts are disengaged during the drive, the vehicle shuts down mid-driving. This leads to questions regarding how reliable Tesla’s self-driving autopilot system is.

Some users of the 2021 Tesla Model S reported that the touchscreen would shut down, disabling the entire system such as navigation, Bluetooth, etc. You can check all the main problems with Tesla Model S here.

There was no manufacturing defect found and Tesla repaired most touchscreens under the warranty.

The most common problem in Tesla vehicles these days is the Autopilot system, which disengages the automated braking system in a collision.

However, the automaker has denied all claims of there being an underlying issue with the Full Self Driving System. The forward collision avoidance system has 1-840 reported problems so far, mainly found in Tesla 2020-2022 models.

Tesla has issued 42 recalls for the Model S over the last couple of years and it is the only Tesla model with the most recorded user complaints so far.

Tesla provides monthly updates to the software system of all existing models. 2016 Tesla Model S vehicles had the most issues.

What Tesla models have the most problems?

The Tesla Model S has had the highest number of vehicles sold by the automaker ever since it was launched. Technological advances and innovation were gradual in Tesla electric vehicles but they still ranked top in the entire industry.

Model S logo on a black Tesla

The Tesla Model S, being the oldest EV model, has more issues recorded than other models by the automaker, including the new Roadster.

If we look at the accumulated data of user complaints and vehicle problems from 2012 to 2019, we can see that the Model S alone has 2667 registered problems, whereas the relatively new Roadster 2 has only two registered issues. That is why the Tesla Model S had the highest number of recalls with 19 recalls in the year 2016.

According to the 43 user complaints, on CarComplaints, the Tesla Model S vehicles from the years 2013, 2014, and 2016, have the most issues.

Experts say that the Tesla Model S is the least reliable model by the automaker.

Customer reports suggest that the Tesla Model S from the early years had body integrity and hardware problems.

There were additional issues with the electronic and automated systems such as the climate control feature and the automatic steering would mostly malfunction.

According to former Model S users, the Tesla Model S vehicles manufactured from 2000 to 2020 had more than 10 potential dysfunctional areas which would sooner or later give out during usage.

Most users reported the driving unit in the Tesla Model S would fail at less than 15,000 miles despite the automaker providing a 50,000 miles standard warranty.

There was no recall regarding the drive unit, but Tesla did issue a power steering recall back in 2018 due to corrosive steering bolts.

The Tesla Model X comes second to the Model S in most recorded user complaints and problems with more than 700 issues in the last 10 years.

The Model X vehicles have had 17 recalls so far due to more than 2,538 user complaints from 2012 to 2022.

Here’s a full rundown of problems with Tesla Model X.

The leading issue in Tesla Model X vehicles was suspension failure. The Model X was released back in 2017 and had approximately 235 recorded problems the same year. Over the years, the automaker has made multiple improvements to the vehicles with no more than 19 issues reported by users of 2022 vehicles.

Users also complain that the vehicle is harder to repair due to its design.

According to Consumer Reports, users give the Tesla Model X a reliability score of 5.

When should you expect the first issues to occur?

According to the standard 4-year or 50,000 miles standard bumper-to-bumper warranty and an 8-year (150,000 miles) battery warranty offered by the automaker, if you keep your Tesla vehicle well-maintained, minor issues may occur after the vehicle has outlived its battery pack warranty.

Many owners of older Tesla models, who have maintained their vehicles for almost a decade, state that the Tesla vehicles can go well over 5,00,000 miles if they are provided with specialized care recommended by the manufacturer.

By deducing the problems found in older models. Tesla is improving its vehicle’s build quality.

Any machine is inclined to have a few issues but there’s no apparent way to tell when you should expect a Tesla vehicle to start having problems unless the vehicle is driven in poor conditions.

Tesla is the most popular electric vehicle brand in the market but potential consumers still have major concerns such as build quality, charging options and methods, and where they can find a Tesla-approved mechanic to repair and inspect minor issues not included in the warranty.

Even with the Tesla warranty, experts suggest that there are multiple 3rd party checks and additional inspections that should be completed before the warranty of the vehicle expires.

For instance, checking all vehicle compartments for rust (more on Rust on Teslas), lighting efficiency, and chrome alignment of the Tesla.

Take the vehicle to qualified mechanics who can check for suspension issues, problems with the power steering, etc. Tesla offers various checks and repairs under the provided warranty.

If the automaker has a recall that includes the Tesla model you’re operating, that will be fixed regardless of the warranty being expired.

Multiple Tesla owners often extend the warranty to spare themselves any potential repairs in the future.

Do Teslas cost more or less in maintenance than other cars?

EVs generally have fewer maintenance concerns as compared to gas-powered conventional vehicles with a lot of moving parts.

Tesla vehicles have less than $200 worth of maintenance costs in the first few years of running which is even less if the owners can handle the minor issues themselves.

If you compare Tesla Model S maintenance costs to the BMW i8’s maintenance cost, the BMW i8 costs around $1,100 per year whereas a Model S maintenance only costs $100-$250.

Similarly, in comparison to all leading EV brands in the automotive industry such as Chevrolet, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz, Tesla has the least costly maintenance and repairs.

Tesla provides a schedule for maintenance of vehicles which includes tire rotation after every 6,000 miles covered by the vehicle and a filter replacement every 3 years of running.

In the first year of owning a Tesla vehicle, the inspection only costs around $150.

The factory warranty of Tesla vehicles does not cover maintenance repairs and checks unless there’s a 3rd party maintenance plan purchased by the owner beforehand.

Are people generally satisfied with the warranty from Tesla?

According to Consumer Reports conducted in 2019, Tesla owners are satisfied with the warranty and performance offered by the vehicles.

In addition, Tesla is the only electric vehicle brand in the entire industry with the highest ratio of consumer satisfaction, according to surveys conducted in recent years.

Tesla Model 3 is the leading model with the highest score on customer satisfaction. We have very few issues with the Tesla model 3.

Many users have reported on popular online forums that the repairs are handled nicely under the warranty and the service is exceptional. Tesla is the leading brand with the most satisfied owners regarding vehicle reliability.

The Model Y is kinda similar to Model 3 in some regards. Many materials and details are the same.

Check our list of problems with Model Y here.

Do Teslas break down more often than other cars?

Unlike ICE vehicles, electric vehicles such as Tesla vehicles do not break down or require high maintenance.

According to consumers, Tesla vehicles are the least likely to break down.

Tesla vehicles do not have mechanical problems such as gas-powered vehicles due to drivetrain differences.

Tesla batteries can cover well over 150,000 miles which is the warranty provided by the automaker.

The brand provides regular improvements to all its vehicles, further reducing the chances of a vehicle breaking down during driving. Tesla vehicles are more reliable than other expensive EV brands in the market and less prone to excessive damage.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.