It’s been a few months since my last Tesla Model 3 cost of ownership update. Since then, I’ve had an air filter replaced and I got 4 new tires. Let’s dig in and see where I stand 4 years and 4 months after buying my Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (SR+).
First of all, the air filter is a simple thing. The unfortunate thing is this has gone up in price in the past year. In October of 2022, I got it replaced for $57.78. Then, 7 months later, the price was $64.63. More recently, on November 10, it cost me $82.28 for the air filter replacement. I’m starting to consider if I should really get the tools and parts and struggle through the DIY videos to try to do this job myself. (No, that’s not going to happen, but ugh.)
So, that mobile service visit brought my long-term cost of maintenance to $2096.86. But I knew the total was about to get a lot bigger, because it was time for new tires.
The first time I had my tires changes, at a bit below 17,000 miles, I had it done by Tesla. The cost was $1,671.64. Many readers responded that I shouldn’t have Tesla replace my tires since the company charges considerably more than a normal tire place. Back then, I was a bit nervous about having a non-Tesla shop mess with my Tesla. At this point, though, Teslas are everywhere and I expected that any tire place should be plenty familiar with Teslas to not break my car. (As it turns out, there were still notable issues … but I’ll come back to that in another story.)
Indeed, it was much cheaper having the tires replaced at a local Mavis. Tesla was going to charge about $1600 again, whereas the cost at Mavis was $1000.05. Well, after the fact, they brought up an extended care/warranty offer to purchase as well, but this did seem worth the cost and is something I wouldn’t have gotten from Tesla either way. That was another $102.68. I still felt quite good about saving $500 … aside from the headaches about the tire sensor software that I’ll return to at another time.
So, where are we? That brings my maintenance costs at 4 years and 4 months to $3199.59, or $61.53 a month. Not too shabby, but it would be nice if tires lasted longer and didn’t cost so much — and the same goes for air filters.
In terms of mileage, the Model 3 SR+ was at about 41,110 miles when the tires were changed. (I feel like I’m driving half of the day, but apparently, I’m still well below the national average at fewer than 10,000 miles per year. And that comes to about 7.8¢ per mile in maintenance costs.
I’m out of warranty now on the car, except when it comes to the battery and drive unit (which have a warranty for 8 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first). So, wish me luck in not getting hit with some serious problems that cost a lot of money to fix! If I can go another 2–3 years before replacing the tires again, that would be great! I’m (normally) driving much more calmly and gently these days in order to preserve the tires, and they spend much more time shaded than they did in the first year or two of ownership. In the meantime, I’ve basically just got the air filter replacements and … anything that breaks. Wiring for the rear camera and trunk lock was replaced at one point at no cost to me, about 6 months before a recall was issued for this matter; and the steering wheel was replaced pro bono when it started bubbling for some reason. Otherwise, there’s been little of note to fix or replace. I’m afraid the next 4 years will be a bit different, and I’m especially concerned about the infotainment screen. Wish me luck!
Oh yeah, as far as total cost of ownership: I don’t have that tracked. I have primarily charged for free — mostly at Tesla Superchargers thanks to referral credits, and also at free ChargePoint stations in my area. I never expected that to be the case for most people. Insurance costs are very personal, but are about the same as they were for my previous car, a BMW i3 REx. Then there are the payments for the car itself. The other big factor in total cost of ownership, though, is depreciation, or resale value. That isn’t as good as I had hoped it would be at this point (the trade-in value is seemingly around $20,000, down from the $47,190 order price), but I can’t know for sure without selling the car. Personally, I didn’t plan to sell the car at around this point. I’m keeping it indefinitely. But in the interest of considering all of the factors that go into total cost of ownership up to this point, resale value has to be noted.
Any questions or thoughts? If you have a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y and keep track of these costs, feel free to share them as well down in the comments!
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