January 23, 2022: Service Visits

!(Tesla, reliable because "less moving parts")

The driver-side front door handle stopped presenting yesterday. Of course: I'm out of warranty. And just a few days ago I noticed that the MCU2 unit installed a little over a year ago started yellow-bordering. Agh!

I've had Tesla Service do a couple of door handle replacements over the years and I suppose it was inevitable that this issue would rear its ugly head. I tried this myself at one point but my patience failed miserably and my time is too precious to put up with this sort of frustration these days so I'm just going to pay Service to deal with it. The 'ol "throw money at the problem to make it go away" strategy.

So how many issues have come up since I've taken delivery of the car over 7 years ago? It's time to open the books and review the records. Remember what Elon kept saying about how EVs are more reliable due to being mechanically simpler? Yeah, keep that marketing yadda yadda in mind...

Let's take a trip down memory lane:

Date Issue Cost (incl. taxes) Notes
10/11/2014 Unexpected side-of-the-freeway shutdown due to 12V battery warning. Not exactly confidence inspiring as a brand-new owner. $0.00 Write-up. Tesla Service gave me 5-star treatment. And a Tesla-branded jacket that didn't fit. Thanks though.
06/25/2015 Annual maintenance - door handle fix (passenger-side rear). $0.00 Write-up.
11/25/2015 MCU failure, screen blanked out, no response. $0.00 Write-up. Could still drive, but not having seat heating, window defrosting, or cabin heating in the winter kinda sucks.
03/26/2016 Annual maintenance - milling noise (drive unit replacement). $0.00 Write-up.
07/12/2016 New tires. $1,540.00 Write-up.
11/13/2017 Annual maintenance - windshield replacement. $1,248.85 Write-up. Note to self: try not to boldly drive through a sand storm.
04/27/2018 New tires. $1205.10 Write-up.
12/05/2018 Annual maintenance. $0.00 Write-up.
12/18/2018 Parking sensor puck adjustment. $0.00 Write-up. Issue was likely caused by a technician during annual maintenance. Handled by Mobile Service.
07/29/2019 Door handle fix (passenger-side front). $343.25 Write-up. Handled by Mobile Service.
03/20/2020 Slight shudder when braking at low speeds, replaced front brake pads/rotors, coil spring module for driver-side front. $1,989.81 Write-up.
09/04/2020 MCU2 upgrade. $2,731.25 Write-up.
09/17/2020 12V battery replacement. $238.76 Write-up. I'm surprised this unit lasted this long.
03/30/2021 Milling noise - drive unit replacement. $0.00 Write-up.
05/13/2021 12v battery issue. $0.00 Write-up. Towing costs not accounted for here.
08/17/2021 12v battery issue. Yeah, again. $0.00 Write-up. Towing costs not accounted for here. Lesson learned, got AAA Roadside Assistance afterward.
09/30/2021 New tires. $1,382.80 My third set of 245/45/R19s at 131,128 miles. I really should start using my Turbines since I have two sets with tires.

The above doesn't include work performed for minor recalls. Local taxes are included in the prices shown.

So for repair issues this totals to $6,552 or an average of $935/year. If you factor in 3 tire set replacements, that averages $1,525/year for auto-related costs from a $10,680 total spent. The MCU2 upgrade was the big one and I could've saved $2,000 by just opting for the daughterboard-only option but the more responsive screen and the fun that comes with more frequent software updates made it worthwhile.

Behold - my car's second home:

I believe the only door handle that's up to spec on the latest Gen 3 iteration (with the paddle gear/microswitch upgrade) is the passenger-side front. The passenger-side rear has maybe a Gen 2 upgrade. Neither the driver-side front or rear have been upgraded/reconditioned and I've also noticed during hotter weather that the rear door will occasionally unlatch itself when unlocking the car.

Looking back at the service history for Big Blue, the first 5 years were relatively maintenance-free except for the catastrophic 12v battery failure a couple of weeks into ownership and the MCU going out a year after. The rear motor exhibiting the milling noise was quite annoying as well, although that was a fleet-wide issue at the time. Thankfully these were covered by warranty (including the second drive unit replacement for the same issue last year!).

It was from 2019 onward when the time-honored tradition of post-warranty failures began to appear. But aside from the slight shudder during braking (around less than 30 mph) that still occurs after last year's brake rotor change and the current door handle issues, just about everything else on the vehicle still functions without problems. That I know of. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood.

Generally though I think Tesla Service has been quite generous with all the goodwill effort provided over the years. I suspect if I were dealing with an Audi/BMW/Porsche/Mercedes shop they would've found a way to nickel-and-dime me at every opportunity. And quite frankly while I enjoy complaining about things like every minor rattle that I hear in the cabin, at the end of the day my S85 ownership experience has been pretty good. The Service staff has always taken care of me without any fuss. Being provided loaners (often other Teslas) or Uber credits has made dealing with service events relatively painless. I just worry about what else is going to pop up in the comings years.

I'd really, really like to keep driving Big Blue for another 5 - 10 years but I'm not loaded with a million in the bank to keep fixing these things, Elon. And no, I'm not buying a Plaid as a workaround.