While some are reporting that moving to a Tesla Model 3 from a gas car has brought them savings, particularly on maintenance, it seems not everybody is on board. Car and Driver (C&D) has been running a long term Model 3 for over 30,000 miles now and its most recent update, the publication specifically points out "actual savings in service costs is turning out to be quite minimal."
In fact, they say the savings they observed were only slightly better than two other ICE vehicles that they were running in parallel. They mention that you don’t have to change oil in an EV, but the Model 3 still needs its brake calipers lubricated (because in theory they see less use than in an ICE vehicle because an EV relies a lot more on regen), an operation which has now been done on their tester a total of three times and is one of the things that has brought the cost to $432.
Check out our own Tesla Model 3 maintenance cost guide for 2021.
That’s still less than what C&D spent on the maintenance of a BMW M340i or a Kia Telluride, which cost them $539 and $728 respectively. The difference is still there, but they argue it doesn’t work out to much if you look at it as a monthly cost.
C&D also listed the fixes they had to do to the car. These were not regular maintenance, but the publication lists a $1,200 glass roof and a $1,100 new windscreen. The tires were also replaced after 30,000 miles, since the Model 3 came with Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires specifically designed for the car that actually start out with less tread than if you were to get the same tires off the shelf.
They were replaced with higher performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires that added another $1,157 to the total ownership cost. Even so, the car didn’t need any repairs in the nearly 40,000 miles and nothing malfunctioned and C&D says that based on this experience, the Model 3 wasn’t really much cheaper to run than a conventional car.
More on Model 3 maintenance