Consumer Reports surveyed 1,400 Tesla owners and lowered their prediction of reliability from average down to worse-than-average. Tesla stock has dropped on this news today.
Consumer Reports sites problems with display screen freezes, replacements of the cars’ electric motors and sunroof leaks. Most early Tesla owners such as myself have experienced a number of problems, but newer Model S cars appear to have had less issues as Tesla has made the car more reliable. Buying a brand new platform from a new car company with a below 5,000 VIN number, I knew I was an early adopter and expected some problems to crop up.
What Consumer Reports did not mention is that Tesla service is stellar. They valet your car to your home or office with a loaner Model S (in most but not all cases). Appointments are not always fast if the issue is not urgent, but they treat their customers universally well. Part of the company culture is treating their customers with respect which is the opposite of most car companies. I have only been inconvenienced once with this level of service in the 6 1/2 years driving Teslas.
During my 50,000 miles 2 1/2 year journey with the Model S, I have had a series of seven issues with my car all of which I have documented on this blog.
- Serious problems with tire alignment ruining tires
- Door handles that would not open
- Bluetooth issues connecting to the iphone
- Faulty tire pressure warning sensors
- Panoramic roof liner had exposed adhesive
- Roadster adapter cable failed completely
- 12 Volt battery replacement
My issues have been both serious and minor with some difficult to diagnose and fix. I am hoping to report on the tires soon. The door handle problems were with the first design of the handles, and new cars do not have these issues. I have not had my motor replaced due to any noise issues although I can hear it a tiny bit more than when I first bought the car. The drive unit is under warranty for a total of 8 years and infinite miles. I won’t think of replacing it unless the noise is a lot more than barely perceptible.
Can I say my car has been as reliable as average? As much as I adore my car and Tesla, the true answer is no. I think even achieving an average or close to average rating is fabulous for a brand new car company. I would not expect a great reliability from a new company doing something radically different in the first 10,000 cars they produce.
Ironically today my car is in for the service of the bluetooth. I have had intermittent problems connecting to the phone along with the 17” screen telling me the bluetooth needs to be serviced. I had to wait several weeks for an appointment, but I have a loaner in the driveway. Unfortunately it is an older P85+ without autopilot. I was hoping to test the autopilot and write my impressions here on this blog. Even with these issues, Tesla employees are great to deal with and they make servicing the car painless. I can’t imagine going back to dealing with an ICE as my daily driver.
My only question is should I buy the extended warranty? I had gathered my list of service issues in an attempt to make that decision making writing this timely post easier. I’d love to hear your thoughts if I should spend $4,000 to extend my warranty for another four years and 50,000 miles. I do not expect to be driving as much as I have in the past.