Tesla Cars and Oil – What Maintenance Is Required for Your Car?


Tesla cars are one of the bestselling electric vehicles and perhaps some of the easiest to maintain vehicles on the market today. While they often come with a hefty price tag, this lowered maintenance cost can help justify the overall price of the vehicle. So, exactly what maintenance does a Tesla car need?

Tesla cars do not need the same oil changes that a traditional car will need. Electric motors use grease which does not degrade at the same rate as oil will. However, Tesla vehicles do still have some maintenance needs that owners must keep in mind.

Those who are interested in purchasing a Tesla vehicle should know about the routine maintenance that these cars require and the costs behind these repairs. To learn more about the maintenance of these vehicles, keep reading.

Why are Oil Changes Not Needed for Tesla Cars?

Before we jump into exactly what a Tesla vehicle does need, it is interesting to note why oil changes are not required. As most know, Tesla’s are electric, which means they do not use the traditional internal combustion engine that other vehicles do. In these traditional vehicles, the oil must be changed regularly to avoid malfunctioning as this oil degrades or becomes dirty over time.

Electric cars are powered by electric motors, which do not have the pistons that a traditional engine does. Due to this lowered movement, the electric engine only needs a bit of grease to remain functioning properly. This grease will very slowly degrade over time, but at a rate that means you will never have to change it.

Are Tesla’s Expensive to Maintain?

As mentioned, the standard maintenance costs do not apply to Teslas because they simply do not need the same maintenance as traditional vehicles. You will never need an oil change with these vehicles and the maintenance costs are relatively quite low. The Tesla company has a list of recommended maintenance needs on their website that you should refer to.

Most Tesla owners have maintenance completed on an as needed basis, but you can also get yearly care if you would like to ensure the vehicle remains working properly. However, comparative to other vehicles, there are no fluids or belts that need addressed.

Of course, maintenance costs will vary by location, but some common maintenance needs and costs are:

  • Full-Service Inspections – around $500
  • Cabin Air Filter – under $200
  • Tire Rotation – under $100
  • Brake System Flush – around $100
  • Wiper Blades – under $50
  • Air Conditioning Service – around $50

Tesla Maintenance Schedule

As mentioned, Tesla vehicles do require a certain level of maintenance that you will want to keep in mind when purchasing the car. You can refer to the previous list to learn more about these maintenance costs, but we will further break down what you can expect from the maintenance needs of your vehicle.

In the past, the Tesla company recommended you receive routine maintenance each year, but now they recommend these services as needed.

When it comes to your exact maintenance needs, always refer to the user manual of your specific Tesla vehicle. However, some commonly maintained Tesla parts are:

  • Replace the Cabin Air Filter – It is important that your air filter is changed every two to three years. These HEPA and Carbon filters will become clogged with dust and pollen over time and it will make them less effective. You will want to visit a location that can replace these filters as needed.

  • Have Tires Checked and Rotated – Unlike other components of the vehicle, the tires of a Tesla are the same as those in a regular vehicle and are made out of traditional rubber. Of course, this means that your tires will wear down over time and will need replaced.

    Full tire replacement is recommended every 6 years or as needed, but tire rotation will be needed every 10,000 and 12,000 miles or if you notice it is needed.

  • Have Brake Fluid Checked – It is recommended by Tesla that you have the brake fluid checked every two years by a professional. This brake fluid can become contaminated after you have been driving for a couple of years and this can make your brakes overall less effective, which can become dangerous.

    Every couple of years, you will want to take your vehicle in for routine brake fluid checks and if the fluids are contaminated, this will need to be changed.

  • Brake Pads Also Need Monitored – When you are getting your brake fluid checked, you should also consider having your brake pads monitored for wear. Tesla vehicles use regenerative braking, this will mean that brake pads do not wear down as quickly as more traditional brakes will, and they may not need replaced as quickly.

    However, it is always a good idea to have these brake pads checked to ensure your vehicle continues functioning properly.

  • Get Your Air Conditioning Serviced Regularly – Another recommended area to be maintained is your air conditioning, which needs to be checked every two to six years to ensure that it is working properly. Tesla vehicles have an onboard aircon unit which needs servicing regularly to ensure they remain efficient.

    Each model will differ slightly, which makes looking over the owner’s manual for how often your air unit needs maintenance is important.

  • Extra Winter Care – While it is not highly necessary for many owners, those who live in areas that are particularly cold will need extra maintenance than those who do not. You will want to have your car prepared for cooler weather by lubricating the car’s brake calipers every 12 months or 12,500 miles. However, if you live in a warmer area, this is not as necessary.

Tesla Maintenance Plans Are Available

When you purchase a Tesla, you will have the opportunity to add a Tesla maintenance plan to your purchase. This will help cover the costs of routine maintenance and can help ensure your vehicle gets the care that it needs. Of course, these plans are completely optional, but are a great choice that the company offers for those who are purchasing a Tesla.

One thing that you want to keep in mind is that anywhere you are having maintenance completed needs to be well versed in working with Tesla vehicles. You will also want to look over your warranty and ensure you are doing everything needed to meet these specifications. To ensure your vehicle remains functioning properly, having these maintenance and repair needs met is key.

Do Tesla Cars Contain Oil at All?

It would certainly be an engineering feat to create a machine as complex as a car that required no oil as lubrication to run.

So, while the engine of a Tesla car does not contain any oil, the differential gearboxes technically do. That being said, it rarely ever needs changed and usually only when something catastrophic happens, like an accident—and in that case you have bigger problems!

The differential is the mechanical interchange in the axles that allow the wheels to move at different speeds, like when you round a corner. It’s very important, but it’s also sealed and rarely ever needs attention on any car, so don’t worry about it at all.

Tesla Vehicles Require Little but Important Maintenance

As mentioned, Tesla vehicles require much less maintenance than traditional vehicles, including perhaps the most notable difference in maintenance needs no oil changes. However, it is important to have your Tesla car regularly serviced and maintained by a quality shop that can do the work properly and is well versed in Tesla vehicles.

Every few years you will want to have your Tesla inspected and during this you should have the tires rotated, tires changed, brakes inspected, air filters changed, and the other maintenance services listed above.

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The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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