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Surprise - Tesla's Model Y Has A Twice-Annual Service Requirement

Tesla's Model Y is an amazing vehicle that has the potential to be a very low cost to own green crossover. However, rumors that the vehicle requires "No maintenance" are wrong according to the manual. Here's where the pesky twice-annual service need comes from.

The all-new Tesla Model Y has been out-selling entire brands of crossovers. No longer new to the market, it is headed toward its first anniversary of having gone on sale soon. This exciting new green crossover features a battery-electric drivetrain. One of the best things about battery-electric vehicles is that they promise a reduced cost of maintenance compared to older designs, and perhaps equally important, they don't require the hassle of taking your vehicle in for service twice per year. Except the Model Y does actually require that you take it in for service twice per year if you drive a typical amount of miles.

No, you won't be changing the oil in your Model Y. Instead, every 6,250 miles you will have the tires rotated. If you are a fan of Tesla vehicles and follow the brand on any forum, you already know that these high-performance vehicles have a reputation for requiring more frequent tire changes than most conventional vehicles. The Model Y uses asymmetric, low-profile tires, and they are pricey to replace. The Performance trim has 21" diameter wheels, which are big by any standard.

Related: Don't Call Tesla For Tire Service - Here's A Better Idea

In order to ensure that an owner gets the most life possible out of its tires, and to ensure proper steering and tracking, Tesla has a required tire rotation interval of just 6,250 miles. If you drive aggressively and the tire tread depth begins to vary more than 2/32 in (1.5 mm) you will be doing this service even more frequently. So, if you drive a low 13,000 miles per year, about 2,000 less than the EPA considers average, you will be in for service twice per year, or doing it yourself. If you plan to do it yourself, you better invest in some jack stands. There is no spare tire to act as the space-holder when you swap the tires from position to position.

Related: Toyota Hybrids Can Go 100,000 miles Before needing Brakes

If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line or anywhere where snow falls, you will have a second service requirement every 12,500 miles. Tesla includes a brake caliper clean and lubricate service at that interval anywhere that salt is used on roadways. Like hybrid vehicles that regenerate power when braking with an electric motor-generator, Tesla's use their friction brakes less than a conventional vehicle. Perhaps this service is a result of that lower use rate. Frozen calipers can be expensive. A frozen caliper is usually replaced at a cost of many hundreds of dollars and the result of a caliper that does not retract is a full replacement of the caliper, rotor, and pads. That repair can easily top $1,000, even in a conventional vehicle.

Related: Consumer Reports: PHEVs Like RAV4 Prime Have Lower Maintenance & Repair Costs Than BEVs Like Tesla Model Y

You can see the remainder of the service in the owner's manual on page 162. We've shown it above here for your convenience. Every two years there are additional minor services, and every four an AC service. That is a lot less than most conventional vehicles require. However, it's not "zero maintenance." If only it were.

Related: Toyota’s RAV4 Prime PHEV Rivals Battery-Electric Vehicles Like Tesla Model Y For Reduced Repair And Maintenance Needs

If you were an early adopter of the Tesla Model Y back in early to mid-2000, please tell us what you were charged by Tesla for these required services. We have seen posts online saying the first one was free and subsequent rotations were between $75 and $95. Tell us what you were charged and where.

Resource Guide:
Tesla Model Y Service Manual

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin


Mark Day (not verified)    January 16, 2021 - 2:34PM

On battery propelled vehicles it seems part of the maintenance schedule should include battery replacement - like a flashlight, which will always need the batteries replaced at some point. Rather than the common 12v vehicle battery the EV battery costs some serious change.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    January 17, 2021 - 1:10AM

It is essentially no maintenance service required then? Every nearby tire reseller can do tire rotation cheaply and quickly. You can easily see why Tesla decided to not go with the traditional car dealer model, because most car dealerships make the majority of their money off of vehicle service. And they would be out of business with Tesla. Regular gas car maintenance requirements are already much lower than in the past, but EVs would put the nail in the coffin for dealerships. Which is why dealerships lobbied to prevent sales of Teslas in many states.

John Goreham    January 17, 2021 - 9:58AM

In reply to by DeanMcManis (not verified)

It is lower in maintenance than any traditional ICE car. More than the BMW X3 we owned, which did not require tire rotations and could go more than a year before it needed oil service. And there was no charge for the 4 years that we had it. Also, the way I look at it, if you are in a service bay twice per year anyway, the hassle factor is the same as a modern PHEV, or even a modern hybrid. Here in Mass, Tesla has the traditional dealer model in Dedham. They do everything a "traditional" dealer does. No restrictions. They take trade-ins, they perform service, sell new and used Teslas, and they offer discounts and special deals. The only difference is that it is owned by Tesla. I didn't know that until I went there to shop for a Model 3 SR about 20 months ago. I'd love to see the PHEVs from Toyota, Hyundai, and other brands with included maintenance adopt the BMW oil change model that lasts over 10K miles and more than a year. Toyota could pay off the dealers. They already do that I suppose for the 2 or 3 years they already include.Jaguar's is 5. I care less about the money than having to have the car in a bay more than once per year. We have to get inspection stickers annually in my state anyway, so I can live with a single appointment per year.

Steve (not verified)    February 7, 2021 - 11:26PM

It seems like you’re just writing about Tesla’s because it’s a hot topic. Tire rotations? Seriously?

John Goreham    February 8, 2021 - 9:39AM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

Writing about a hot topic? Guilty as charged. Visit any Tesla forum and in the search bar type in Tire Wear. Is that a topic often discussed by owners or not? Are tires among the most expensive categories for maintenance in any vehicle?

John Goreham    March 9, 2021 - 11:19AM

In reply to by Mike (not verified)

Hey, Mike! Thanks for checking in again. Woodward and Bernstein! You're a regular Jackie Gleason. We appreciate you taking time out of posting "All cars require maintenance!" under every EV post that claims otherwise. And, hey, thanks too for not using all caps this time. Be well,

Mike (not verified)    March 10, 2021 - 12:19AM

Hey John Goreham! You REALLY need to work on your investigative journalism! (Pun intended with the capped "really" if you didn't get that...) You apparently have me confused with someone else. But hey, great job fact checking on your own site! LOL.

JIM BOB (not verified)    January 16, 2022 - 10:29AM

this guy is a fool in many areas of this bologna. Performance vehicles with staggered tires don't even get tires rotated because they tires are different sizes front to back.

John Goreham    January 17, 2022 - 9:31AM

In reply to by JIM BOB (not verified)

Thanks for commenting Jim Bob. Most manufacturers who use staggered tire sizes opt for tires that are not directional. That enables them to be "rotated" side to side. And it is why Tesla's owner's manual has a tire rotation requirement. Which is shown in the story.

Ren (not verified)    August 8, 2022 - 4:11PM

I think the issue though is mainly with the Model Y Performance Model. The Back tires (275/35R21) are a different size from the front tires (255/35R21). How does one even get these rotated? I have never gotten a tire rotation because of this, and my tires currently have 20k miles on them.

Derek Gore (not verified)    November 29, 2022 - 6:18PM

Good article and exactly what I was looking for. I just had a flat and Tesla recommended I replace the tire and boy are they expensive. It did not blow out so I asked them to bag it and return it and will find an expert tire place on Tesla tires and see if it can be repaired in case I need another tire or one does blow out at speed with tread and belt damage. Totally new to all these specialty tire maintenance and since I only have less than 4500 miles on it decided to rotate anyway. I asked them to bag the tire and return it and I noticed a $5 "tire disposal" fee and asked them why. They charged me $65 for my first tire rotation here at the Colorado Springs Tesla showroom and repair facility.

I cannot understand the know it all ego comments attacking you here. It must be tough writing today. I for one appreciate your article. Must be my Engineering background! LOL