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HomeCar Insurance Resources, Driver's ResourcesWhat’s the maintenance cost of a Tesla in Canada?

The cost of maintaining a Tesla, or any electric vehicle (EV), can differ significantly from maintaining a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. Here are some factors to consider regarding the cost of maintaining a Tesla:

  1. Fewer Moving Parts: EVs, in general, have fewer moving parts than their gasoline-powered counterparts. This means fewer components that can wear out or need replacement. For instance, Teslas don’t have exhaust systems, timing belts, spark plugs, and other components commonly found in ICE vehicles.
  2. Brakes: Due to regenerative braking, which uses the vehicle’s electric motor to assist in slowing the car and can recharge the battery in the process, brake wear is generally reduced. This means brake pads and rotors can last longer than they might on a conventional vehicle.
  3. Tires: This can be a more frequent maintenance cost, especially for drivers of the performance models or those who accelerate hard, as the instant torque from electric motors can wear tires more quickly.
  4. Battery: One of the most significant concerns with EVs is battery longevity. While the battery might degrade over time and lose some of its capacity, Tesla’s batteries have shown resilience. They’re designed to last for several hundred thousand miles, and many users report minimal degradation over time. Replacing a battery out of warranty can be expensive, but it’s not a regular maintenance item.
  5. Software Updates: Tesla frequently pushes over-the-air updates to its cars, improving functionality and fixing potential issues. These updates are usually free and don’t require a trip to the service center.
  6. Service Intervals: Tesla’s recommended maintenance intervals are generally less frequent than many ICE vehicles. Tesla recommends periodic checks, which can be less frequent than the oil changes required by conventional cars.
  7. Warranty: Tesla offers a comprehensive vehicle warranty and an additional warranty for the battery and drive unit, which covers many potential issues.
  8. Insurance: Insurance costs can be higher for Teslas compared to some other vehicles, in part due to their value and repair costs. However, shopping around and considering Tesla’s own insurance product (available in certain areas) might mitigate this.
  9. Potential Savings: You’ll have savings in areas like gasoline (since you’re charging the car instead), oil changes, and some of the other regular maintenance items associated with ICE vehicles.
  10. Potential Service Challenges: In some areas, there might be fewer Tesla service centers compared to more traditional automotive repair shops. This could mean longer waits for service appointments or having to travel further for service.

Are Tesla’s expensive to maintain?

auto repair

Maintaining a Tesla can vary based on factors such as location (which can affect labor costs and parts availability), driving habits, and the specific model of Tesla. Moreover, the exact cost will vary year-to-year with inflation, changing labor rates, and parts prices.

  1. Tire Rotation: Every 10,000 to 12,000 miles or roughly 16,000 to 19,000 kilometers.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $50 to CAD $120, depending on the province and service provider.
  2. Brake Fluid Replacement: Tesla recommends checking the brake fluid every 2 years and replacing as necessary.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $100 to CAD $250, depending on the province.
  3. Cabin Air Filter Replacement: Every 2 years for the Model S and Model X, and every 3 years for the Model 3 and Model Y.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $60 to CAD $150, depending on the model and province.
  4. Battery Coolant Replacement: For Model S and Model X, every 4 years.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $300 to CAD $450.
  5. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter Replacement (for models equipped with Bioweapon Defense Mode): Every 3 years for Model S and Model X.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $200 to CAD $350.
  6. Tire Replacement: This varies based on driving habits, but performance models with larger wheels may require more expensive tires.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $150 to CAD $400 per tire.
  7. Annual Inspection: While not mandatory, some Tesla owners choose to have an annual inspection.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $100 to CAD $300.
  1. Wiper Blades Replacement: Depending on usage and weather conditions, wiper blades might need to be replaced annually or every couple of years.
    • Estimated Cost: CAD $20 to CAD $70 for a pair, depending on the quality and specific model fit.
  2. Software Updates: Tesla’s software updates are usually provided over the air and are often free, but there could be future features or functionalities that come at an additional cost.
    • Estimated Cost: Typically free, but premium features could range from CAD $100 to CAD $10,000 (like the Full Self-Driving package).
  3. Battery Replacement: Tesla batteries are designed to last a long time, with the company claiming up to 70-80% capacity after 8 years for many models. However, if a replacement is needed outside of warranty:
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $5,000 to CAD $20,000 depending on the model and battery capacity. However, it’s worth noting that most users are unlikely to need a battery replacement within the typical lifespan of the car.
  1. Out-of-Warranty Repairs: Once the vehicle’s warranty expires, any necessary repairs will be out of pocket. The cost will greatly depend on the nature of the repair.
  • Estimated Cost: Varies widely, from CAD $100 for minor parts/replacements to CAD $2,000+ for major components.
  1. Charging Equipment Maintenance and Replacement: While the electric components of Tesla vehicles are designed to be durable, the home charging equipment (like the Wall Connector) could require maintenance or replacement after extensive use.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $500 to CAD $1,000 for a new Wall Connector, excluding potential installation fees. Installation costs can vary depending on the complexity of the installation and local electrician rates.
  1. Wheel Alignment: After several years or if the vehicle starts pulling to one side or after hitting a significant pothole, a wheel alignment might be necessary.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $100 to CAD $250, depending on the service center and province.
  1. Accessory Upgrades: Many Tesla owners opt to add accessories or make modifications, such as window tinting, paint protection film, or upgraded interiors.
  • Estimated Cost: Varies significantly based on preference, but for example, window tinting might range from CAD $200 to CAD $800 depending on the quality of the material and the provider.
  1. Insurance: While not a maintenance cost per se, insurance is a significant factor in the total cost of ownership. Tesla vehicles, being premium and electric, can have varying insurance rates depending on the province, the driver’s history, and the specific model of Tesla.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $1,200 to CAD $3,000+ annually, but this can vary widely based on the aforementioned factors.
  1. Roadside Assistance: Outside of warranty or after using up the included roadside assistance miles, owners might need to pay for these services or opt for third-party providers.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $50 to CAD $200 per incident, depending on the nature of the assistance required.
  1. Vehicle Registration and Licensing: Depending on the province, annual or biennial vehicle registration fees can add to the cost of ownership.
  • Estimated Cost: Typically ranges from CAD $70 to CAD $250 annually, varying by province.
  1. Degradation of Electric Components: Over time, other electrical components like onboard chargers, converters, or other related equipment might face wear and tear or malfunction.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $300 to CAD $2,000 depending on the specific component. However, such occurrences are relatively rare.
  1. HVAC Maintenance: The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of a Tesla, especially the heat pump in newer models, could require maintenance or eventual replacement.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $200 to CAD $1,500 depending on the severity of the issue and the specific component affected.
  1. Touchscreen and Software Glitches: While not frequent, Tesla’s main touchscreen interface can sometimes face issues, and although many are fixable via software updates, hardware replacements might be needed in rare cases.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $800 to CAD $3,000 for a full screen replacement, though minor software fixes would generally be much cheaper or even free.
  1. Suspension Components: For those driving the Model S or Model X equipped with air suspension, there might be a need to replace air struts or related components after many years or miles.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $500 to CAD $1,500 per strut, though prices can vary based on the service provider and part prices at the time.
  1. Exterior Maintenance: This includes potential costs like paint touch-ups, minor dent removal, or repairing cosmetic damages.
  • Estimated Cost: Varies widely based on the extent of damage. For example, paint touch-ups or scratch removal might range from CAD $100 to CAD $1,000.
  1. Replacement Parts: Over time, certain parts such as door handles (known to sometimes have issues on older Model S vehicles), exterior trim, or other minor components might need replacement.
  • Estimated Cost: CAD $50 to CAD $1,000, depending on the specific part and labor involved.
  1. Firmware Upgrade Fees: While Tesla offers many of its software updates for free, certain features or substantial system upgrades could come with fees, especially for older models that might need new hardware components to support newer software features.
  • Estimated Cost: This can range significantly, from CAD $100 for minor feature additions to several thousands for major upgrades or new hardware components.
  1. Battery Management System (BMS) Resets or Calibrations: On rare occasions, the BMS might need recalibration, especially if there are discrepancies in range estimation.
  • Estimated Cost: Usually between CAD $100 and CAD $500, though this can vary by service center and the exact nature of the service.

The costs mentioned above are just average estimated figures. Actual costs might vary based on various factors, including province-specific taxes, labor rates, and parts availability.

How much is a Tesla oil change?

repairing car

Tesla vehicles are all-electric, meaning they don’t have traditional internal combustion engines that require oil changes. So, there’s no such thing as a “Tesla oil change.”

However, Tesla vehicles do have other maintenance needs, although they tend to be less frequent than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. Common maintenance tasks for Tesla vehicles include tire rotations, brake fluid replacements, air filter changes, and inspections of various components.

Tesla maintenance cost VS gas car

Here’s a general breakdown comparing Tesla maintenance costs with traditional gas cars in Canada:

  1. Regular Maintenance:
    • Tesla: Tesla vehicles require less regular maintenance than traditional vehicles. There’s no need for oil changes, transmission fluid replacements, etc. Typically, you’ll need to check and rotate the tires, check the brake pads, and replenish windshield washer fluid. The brake systems in EVs tend to last longer due to regenerative braking, which reduces wear on brake pads.
    • Gas Car: Traditional vehicles require regular oil changes, transmission fluid replacements, air filter changes, and more frequent brake maintenance.
  2. Fuel vs. Electricity:
    • Tesla: Electricity costs for charging a Tesla will depend on local rates and whether you’re using public charging stations or charging at home. In many parts of Canada, electricity is cheaper than gasoline, making the cost per kilometer less for a Tesla than for a gas car.
    • Gas Car: Gasoline prices can be volatile and tend to be more expensive than electricity on a per-kilometer basis. The cost also fluctuates depending on global oil prices, taxes, and other factors.
  3. Battery Replacement:
    • Tesla: One of the primary concerns with electric vehicles is the potential need to replace the battery. However, Tesla’s batteries are designed to last for a long time, often with a lifespan of over 500,000 kilometers. While battery capacity can degrade over time, many Tesla owners find the decline manageable over the typical ownership period. If a replacement is needed, it can be a significant cost, but this is generally offset by the savings in other areas.
    • Gas Car: Traditional cars don’t have large battery packs to replace, but they have other major components (like transmissions or exhaust systems) that can fail and be costly to repair or replace.
  4. Potential Repairs:
    • Tesla: While Tesla vehicles have fewer moving parts (which can reduce the potential for mechanical failures), repairs or replacements of specific components, especially outside of warranty, can be costly. Moreover, the availability of third-party service centers or the need to go through Tesla directly can influence costs in some regions.
    • Gas Car: Gas cars have been around for over a century, and there’s a well-established infrastructure for repairs, parts, and maintenance. This competition can lead to lower repair costs. However, with more moving parts, there’s a higher likelihood of something going wrong over the life of the car.
  5. Incentives and Savings:
    • Tesla: Various provinces in Canada have offered incentives for purchasing electric vehicles, which can offset some of the upfront costs. Additionally, the reduced maintenance and fueling costs can lead to long-term savings.
  6. Depreciation:
    • Both Tesla vehicles and gas cars depreciate, but the rates can differ. Historically, EVs had higher depreciation rates, but this has been changing, especially for popular models like Tesla, which have maintained value relatively well.

Tesla car insurance cost VS gas car

Car insurance premiums are influenced by various factors, such as the make and model of the vehicle, the driver’s history, location, and more. When considering Tesla vehicles versus traditional gas-powered vehicles in Canada, there are some general observations to consider:

  1. Higher Repair Costs for Teslas:
    • Tesla vehicles, especially higher-end models, can be more expensive to repair than many traditional cars. They use specialized parts and sometimes require specialized training for mechanics. This can lead to higher insurance premiums.
  2. Safety Features:
    • Tesla vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features and Autopilot, their semi-autonomous driving system. These features can help prevent accidents, potentially leading to reduced insurance premiums. However, the cost to replace or repair these technologies in the event of damage can be high.
  3. Vehicle Value:
    • Teslas are typically priced higher than many traditional vehicles, especially when comparing base models. Insurance costs correlate with the value of the car, as more expensive vehicles generally cost more to replace or repair.
  4. Theft Rate:
    • Historically, Teslas have had a lower theft rate compared to some other vehicles, likely due to their tracking capabilities. A lower risk of theft can help reduce insurance premiums.
  5. Tesla Insurance:
    • As of my last update in 2021, Tesla had introduced its own insurance product in some regions, with promises of more competitive rates for Tesla owners. The availability and competitiveness of Tesla’s insurance in Canada would need to be confirmed.
  6. Gas Cars:
    • The insurance costs for gas-powered vehicles can vary widely based on the make, model, and age of the vehicle. Generally, more common vehicles with readily available parts and a history of fewer claims might have lower insurance rates.
  7. Provincial Differences:
    • Car insurance is regulated at the provincial level in Canada, leading to variations in rates and coverages across the country. Factors such as accident rates, insurance regulations, and the prevalence of insurance fraud can lead to different insurance premiums across provinces.

General Recommendation: While, on average, a Tesla might cost more to insure than many traditional gas cars due to its higher value and repair costs, this isn’t universally true. It’s always a good idea to obtain quotes from multiple insurance providers and compare them. Make sure you’re comparing similar coverage levels and understand any potential discounts (for safety features, bundled products, etc.).

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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