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