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Tesla eliminates service schedules, moves to an 'as-needed' model

Roadshow logo Roadshow 3/22/2019 Kyle Hyatt
a red car parked on the side of a road: The Model S has been around for seven years now, so Tesla has a pretty good idea of what breaks and what doesn't.© Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

The Model S has been around for seven years now, so Tesla has a pretty good idea of what breaks and what doesn't.

One of the fringe benefits of having an electric car is that for the most part, they require much less maintenance than a comparable vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

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Tesla is taking advantage of this after crunching the data on the last few years of service and vehicle data by moving away from a recommended yearly service program to one that only requires vehicles to come in when parts need to be replaced.

This probably sounds crazy if you've never spent a significant amount of time with an electric vehicle, but think about it like this: What are the most common service items on your ICE-powered car? Oil changes, brakes and tires. Add in things like accessory belts and timing belts that degrade with use and heat and all of a sudden you have a pretty full maintenance schedule.

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An EV doesn't have engine oil to change, nor do the motors produce the same kind of heat that gasoline or diesel-powered engines do. Parts aren't subjected to the same kind of temperature extremes.

With brakes, many EV drivers use their vehicles with high levels of regenerative braking. This uses the drivetrain to slow the car and recharge the battery and saves significant wear on the vehicle's braking components. Brake fluid, however, will still be checked every two years for water contamination.

Add in the fact that Teslas are internet-connected and have robust remote diagnostic capabilities and a yearly check-up seems even less necessary. Tesla representatives are quick to point out that this shift in service methodology has nothing to do with a Tesla's warranty, and vehicles that need service can get it.

Tesla will stop pushing its prepaid maintenance plans for customers, but will still honor the plans that have been sold. It seems likely that the "as-necessary" service system will end up being cheaper than a prepaid plan for customers anyway.

Tesla's Model 3 Performance subtly adds the power

a car parked on the side of a road: This is the Model 3 Performance!

This is the Model 3 Performance!
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This was originally published on Roadshow.

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