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A Tesla Model 3 After Nearly 50,000 Miles - What Was Learned

We have some findings of a 2 year old Tesla Model 3 that was driven to nearly 50,000 miles. What kinds of things were found - and what was the good and bad? We'll go over what Car and Driver found now.

A Tesla Model 3 After Nearly 50,000 Miles - What Was Learned

We now have a Tesla Model 3 with 45,000 miles on it. A driver of this Tesla Model 3 from Car and Driver is doing a long term review of this car. Here's what it is likes after this many miles and to live with the car on a daily basis.

There is a fantastic driving experience with this two year old Model 3. Driving and handling is amazing, along with handling and performance. This is a long range Model 3. This is a long range Model 3 and is on part with the best BMW car.

The car got more powerful as it was owned. An over the air update improved it by 5%. And that netted a 10th of a second increase in 0-60 mph and a 3/10 of a second improvement in the quarter mile time. That was really cool.

The Tesla ownership experience is as unique as the driving experience. The Tesla changes over time thanks to a constant stream of over the air updates. In total, 43 over the air updates modified the car. Many of these were minor updates to address issues, and there were a few major updates.

Constant Change

Like a mobile phone with different updates, a Tesla's software gets constant updates. One of the most common complaints is that the main center screen is how the car is controlled. There are a ton of great features using this screen from video games to karaoke, to video games.

On the other hand, there is quite a learning curve to using the center screen. It feels like what your grandparents might go through when learning how to use an iPad. You also have to relearn things when the software and UI changes. Controlling the air vents and windshield wipers also requires using parts of the screen that are harder than a standard car.

Tesla requires a Wi-Fi connection to download the software. This means if you live in a condo or apartment, you are going to have to have an extra adapter for your Wi-Fi network in order to charge you Tesla from afar. There is also subscription services for premium connectivity for the Tesla...

This 2 year old Model 3 is better than the first Model 3 and has some panel gap issues, but these issues haven't gotten worse. The car left the user stranded on Christmas day, leaving the car parked and the car suffered a failure and would no longer drive. At least the car notified the user.

Tesla roadside assistance got a tow truck to come get the car, even on Christmas day. A couple hours after this issue happened, the service center got much more responsive, due to the press of the issue. A loaner and rental car was offered. There was a short in the rear inverter that stopped working in order to not damage the battery. Thankfully the cost of repair was covered under warranty.

There have been no other significant issues with the vehicle. Maintenance costs totaled $233 per service for tire rotations and other services. The savings works out to about $6.15 over two years, which is barely noticeable over a gas car. The front windshield also needed to be replaced from rock chips for $1,200. There were fewer options for those repairs.

In 30,000 miles, the Michelin tires were worn and needed to be replaced. There are 20% less tread on the tires that come with the car... Cold weather affected range by at least 20 miles - more if it was colder. Cost to charge is about 5.7 cents per mile...

Battery degradation over 2 years and nearly 50,000 miles is about 7%... Buying a Model 3 is great with a car that drives well. The rest of the car may be difficult with constant updates and having to learn the UI. Service is also unique because you are reliant on Tesla service centers...

Would you buy a Tesla Model 3? Are the issues with it too much for using the car?

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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, Car and Driver, Screenshot


David Fritzinger (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 6:28PM

I had a shortest drive in a Model 3 LR, and have put in my order for one. I am now anxiously waiting for my new Model 3.

Alan Wilson (not verified)    May 1, 2022 - 8:26AM

My game enthusiast 14 year old son prefers cars that retain physical controls for climate control and other basic features. I wonder if putting EVERYTHING on a screen isn't an old person thing in a reverse way? That is, it makes the older people who buys Teslas feel tech savvy even though it's a pointless innovation that reduces ease of use?

Kids, who are used to game controllers, don't prefer even only functionally. For good reason. Buttons and switches are much faster.

Bill Taylor (not verified)    May 1, 2022 - 3:38PM

Only about 30,000 miles on Michelin tires before having to replace tires? What’s wrong with the tires and/or maintaining proper wheel alignment? I’ve driven numerous different vehicles over the last twenty years and never replaced tires, except for road hazard damage on two tires, with less than 60,000 miles on the tires.