How to service a Tesla [Video]

As electric vehicle adoption is increasing by the day, it's important for Tesla (and other EV) owners to know what's involved in servicing and maintaining an electric car. Compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs have a low cost of maintenance and require less visits to the service center for routine maintenance.

Above: A look inside a Tesla Service Center (Image: Tesla)

The reason for less maintenance is primarily due to the absence of an internal combustion engine (ICE) which requires frequent oil changes, air filter replacement, spark plug replacement, etc. Electric vehicles also use 'regenerative braking' to return energy back to the batteries resulting in less wear of the brake pads and discs.

Tesla vehicle maintenance mostly includes wheel alignment monitoring, tire condition inspection, replacement of key fob batteries, windshield wipers and cabin air filter. Recommended time to visit a Tesla Service Center for your vehicle maintenance is 12,500 miles or one year — whichever comes first. 

Above: A look at Tesla maintenance plans (Note: details vary over time so be sure to consult Tesla for the most up-to-date information)

Tesla has prepaid maintenance plans for Model S/X that you can buy for up to 4 years/50,000 miles that include all the serviceable parts (inspection and replacement) including brake fluid replacement (2 years / 25,000 miles) and battery pack coolant fluid replacement at 4 years / 50,000 miles (see the full chart above, check Tesla's support for more info).

Although it's not recommended, if you have the time and resources to manage your own Tesla maintenance, you can watch the following step-by-step video by James and Kate to guide you on how to check and service your Tesla.

Above: The Youtube team of James and Kate take you through the process for servicing your Tesla Model S (Youtube: James and Kate)

An advantage of servicing any EV is that your hands won't get too dirty because EVs lack multiple oils and a complex drivetrain setup. First thing to check on your Tesla S/3/X would be that all of the lights are working properly — they should be — these cars are equipped with LED lights with a longer life compared to regular bulbs.

Next are tires. Tires are one of the most important parts when it comes to your safety on the road. Tesla recommends checking your tires every 6,250 miles (10,000 km) if they need to be rotated. Be sure to check the tread depth and tire pressure as well.

Above: The tire pressure and loading information label can be found at the center door pillar and is visible when the driver’s door is open; Note: Tesla recommends following the instructions on the label even if it differs from the ratings stamped on the tire.

Next, when checking and cleaning the windshield wipers on your Tesla vehicle, you should put the wipers in 'Service Mode' from the touchscreen by going to 'Settings > Service & Reset' (see below) for easy maintenance of the wipers.

Above: Where to activate the Service Mode to check your windshield wipers (Image: James and Kate)

From the same interface you can put your vehicle in 'Tow Mode' to release the Parking Brake of your Tesla for checking the tires.

If you have the capability to lift-up your vehicle, you can perform a thorough check on body parts like the drive unit, suspension, and reduction gear which can be accessed from under the vehicle (see above video on how to change reduction gear oil).

Tesla's Model 3 Owner's Manual recommends the following checklist of daily and monthly checkups you can perform on your vehicle for longevity and optimal performance (these can also be applied to any Tesla).

Daily Checks

  • Check the Battery’s charge level, displayed on the touchscreen or mobile app.
  • Check the condition and pressure of each tire.
  • Check the operation of the brakes, including the parking brake.
  • Check the operation of the seat belts.
  • Look for abnormal fluid deposits underneath Model 3 that might indicate a leak. It is normal for a small pool of water to form (caused by the air conditioning system’s dehumidifying process).

Monthly Checks

  • Check the mileage to determine if the tires need to be rotated (every 6,250 miles (10,000 km)), and check the condition and pressure of each tire.
  • Check windshield washer fluid level and top up if necessary.
  • Check that the air conditioning system is operating correctly.
  • Important: Contact Tesla immediately if you notice any significant or sudden drop in fluid levels or uneven tire wear.


Editor's Note: Please welcome Iqtidar Ali who'll be contributing to the EVANNEX Blog. Ali is also editor and lead writer for X Auto — an automotive site with emphasis on news surrounding electric vehicles and Tesla.