Tesla’s Flat Fee Of $100 For Ranger Service Vanishes – Model S Owners Now Often Charged Much More

Tesla Service Center

NOV 3 2015 BY MARK KANE 49

Tesla Model S Gains Entry Into Bank Through Brick Wall - Image Via Dr. Staten Medsker, Jr.

Tesla Model S Gains Entry Into Bank Through Brick Wall To Retrieve Money To Pay For Expensive Tesla Ranger Service (Obviously A Joke) – Image Via Dr. Staten Medsker, Jr.

Tesla introduced in 2009 its Tesla Ranger mobile service teams, which in many cases could repair the car on the spot or take the car to the shop for a charge ofย a buck a mile:

“$1 per roundtrip mile from the nearest Tesla service center, with a minimum charge of $100.”

Later in 2012 (when Tesla had about 15 service centers) it was changed to $100 flat fee, and now it seems that pricing is changing.

Automotive News notes that today Tesla has network of about 125 service centers and 83% of Tesla cars are within 25 miles of the nearest service center (91% within 50 miles).

Lack of a wide service network and intention to offer superior auto service experience were the main forces behind the Tesla Rangers and some buyers who live far from Tesla service shops, bought the Model S taking into consideration the $100 flat fee.

According to the article, now some of those owners are complaining that charges for Tesla Rangers are way above $100 after the latest pricing change. How does a 600+ percent increase in price sound to you?

“…some customers who bought a Model S based on such assurances feel that Tesla has gone back on its word.”

“Among them is Brian Manke of Chesapeake, Va., who balked at a $606 quote to have his Model S delivered to Tesla’s service center in Raleigh, N.C., 202 miles away, for repairs under warranty.”

“He doesn’t regret his purchase. “It’s an awesome car,” Manke said, “and it only gets better the more you drive it.” Yet he can no longer recommend Tesla with such gusto to neighbors.”

“Ever since I got my Model S, I’ve had a bunch of people ask me: ‘What do you do for service?'” Manke said. “I’d say, ‘Oh, they pick it up for $100.’ It’s going to change people’s tune a little bit now when I tell them that it’s going to be at least $600.”

Similar stories are reported by others like Joshua Green of St. John’s, Newfoundland who got theย $100 promise in writing and then needed to demand keeping one’s word when Tesla asked for $800.

With the number of Tesla service centers growing, the change away from a $100 flat fee will not be a problem for most Model S owners, but for those far away from the nearest Tesla repair site, the increased fee could take a serious hit on their bank accounts.

Source: Automotive News, hat tip to sven!

Categories: Tesla

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49 Comments on "Tesla’s Flat Fee Of $100 For Ranger Service Vanishes – Model S Owners Now Often Charged Much More"

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In light of the recent reliability downgrade to below average by Consumer Reports Tesla should avoid any actions that put a negative light on its efforts to deal with those quality issues.

Boooooo Te$la!

But then again, how many of the big automotive manufacturers will pay to get your car to a shop to do warranty repair for $100?

Any NADA dealers out there willing to pony up $100 to every car that they sold that broke down and need warranty repairs?

I still say Booo Te$la.

You misunderstood. Tesla CHARGES $100 EXTRA, not pay $100.
Warranty repairs are free for other cars. You just need to drop off the car ay the convenienty located dealer locations. And most just get a AAA membership, or their insurance covers the towing for the rare cases when the car becomes undrivable.

LMFO, “…conveniently located dealer locations…” Got to hand it to See Through, he sure tries hard to defend the status quo STEALERSHIPS’ model.

Makes me think he works at one, probably COYOTA!

OH C’mon that’s more nonsense. When a person is right, no matter whom it is, they are RIGHT. I have first hand experience with Tesla’s “REVOLUTIONARY SERVICE MODEL”. I have owned a Tesla for almost exactly 4 years. I decided to cut my losses at about the 48 month time frame. Initially, service, and ranger service (total free for Tesla Roadster owners – much better than the basic deal for Model S owners) was totally free, no questions asked during the duration of the warranty. It was a contractual agreement at purchase. This means, for those it needed it spelled out, that I AGREED to spend $109k plus tax and delivery charges IF TESLA also KEPT ITS WORD on free warranty service for the duration. In other words, they could not arbitrarily stop doing something they AGREED to do for the duration of the warranty, which they confirmed by cashing my cheque. When the Model S came out with its inferior ranger service, they tried to say that applied to me. Initially, I chauked it up to having new employees who just weren’t aware of the policy obviously still in effect for Roadster owners still under warranty. The last year… Read more »

Your experience seems pretty terrible. But no one who only listens to St. Elon will believe this.

In today’s information age, the manufacturer actually sends out survey links right after your service or other visit at a dealership.
For example, when I went to check out a Leaf last year, the lady seemed a bit less enthusiastic to me, partly because I was just in my initial phase of exploring EV options. I might have hinted on less than perfect visit on the survey. Within 2 days, I got a call from Nissan, asking me what problem I had etc. I had to convince her, that it was mostly my fault that I didn’t know if I wanted a Leaf.

When the Leaf first came to the Buffalo Area I was quite interested in it. Somewhat Ugly, but well use of huge storage space, but 2 big negatives.

1). Small Battery

2). Almost non-existant battery warranty.

Other than those 2 things, a great car.

Well, I got a Spark EV as it had the highest mpge of 119 mpge last year. I’m still getting over 140 mpge (~5 miles/kwh) with it. Leaf seemed a bit big for just me commuting to work.

Ooh man, it sounds like you got screwed.

Sorry to hear that. ๐Ÿ™

“you got screwed”.

I wouldn’t put it that way, really. Everyone knows people who have had bad experiences with cars and/or dealers/service centers.

My basic mistake was probably believing the ‘propoganda’ that an EV would be a more reliable car.

I should have known that if I wanted to purchase a ‘reliable car’, I should have bought a ten year old honda civic that can go 200,000 miles before an overhaul.

Hey, I think you stole my word!

Warranty repairs are free for Tesla. The subject in question is Tesla’s “ranger” service. At least learn what you’re talking about first.

No, it’s $100 for someone to pickup, fix and return your vehicle while leaving a loaner.

It’s an unbelievably good deal.

Now gone, apparently. :-/

Toyota and Lexus would tow your car for free to a dealership to do warranty service for first 2 years and 4 years, respectively.

Toyota’s ToyotaCare roadside assistance offers 24-hour free towing to the nearest dealership for the first two years after a new vehicle’s date of purchase.

” What does ToyotaCare roadside assistance include?”

“The 24-hour roadside assistance plan covers battery jump start, tire service, emergency fuel delivery, lockout protection, towing and winching. Roadside assistance is offered for 2 years from the vehicle’s date of first use with no mileage limitation. Toyota will tow the vehicle to the nearest Toyota dealership (or to the nearest Toyota dealership of your choice if it’s within 25 miles of the nearest dealership). For detailed information on roadside assistance please contact 800-444-4195 or refer to your Welcome Brochure for further details.”


Lexus 24-hour roadside assistance offers 24-hour free towing to the nearest dealership for the first four years after a new vehicle’s date of purchase.

“Roadside Assitance automatically protects Lexus owners with emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 day per year for four years from the vehicle’s date of purchase. . . . Towing to the nearest Lexus dealership or an alternative repair facility, if necessary.”


i find it ridiculous that people repeatedly expect something for nothing and act as though they are “shocked” when they don’t get it…

how can anyone *reasonably* believe that it only costs $100 to have their car ferried over 200 miles each way??? as the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. in order to stay in business, companies have to be able to make money, and towing cars long distances for artificially low prices is no way to stay in business.

all of this says is that there is an extent to which bob lutz does appear to be right (i am not a bob lutz fan), tesla does not have an infrastructure to support volume automobile sales activity and the attempt to use the apple distribution model doesn’t work when the product sold is vastly different from an ipad.

Does Tesla need to install more service centers, covering more areas? Well of course they do, as the number of customers increases. That doesn’t require any change in business strategy, it’s just a natural result of the company’s growth.

Does Tesla need to switch to a traditional “stealership” model?

I’ve never run a business, so I don’t have an informed opinion. But my outsider’s perspective is that those who keep insisting Tesla can’t handle volume sales with online ordering are forgetting that people used to say the same thing about Amazon.com.

Please read my first hand experience with Tesla Service, above.

I can reasonably EXPECT they will do absolutely EVERYTHING for free, when the Agreement*** I had with them at purchase required me to pay $20,000 more than early roadster owners thought the car was going to cost. Actually, since this was the agreement, it would have been legally in force even if they had decided to charge $20,000 less.

The point is, I paid SO MUCH initially, that I considered “Velvet Glove” service (my term for it) – STANDARD, since thats what the warranty (A legal Document) stated.

*** When 2 parties AGREE to do something, it is totally voluntary. Tacit ‘agreement’ is proven by the owner offering a CHEQUE for the agreed purchase price, and proven by the seller, by cashing said CHEQUE.

Exactly, Bill! The case of the owner in the autonews story is less clear, as many owners were only verbally promised the $100 ranger service. I have read on forums, that when potential buyers asked Tesla to give the ranger service promise in writing, Tesla balked. Those who bought just believing Tesla’s words are in for some trouble.

PS: I don’t understand why insideevs keeps deleting my comment, that this is yet another example of Tesla over-promise and under (or no) delivery.

Are we seeing the start of the downfall of Tesla? First reliability drops, now service drops? Clean up your act, Tesla. Having the quickest sedan in the US isn’t enough. We’re holding you to a much higher standard.

I do think this could be the downfall of Tesla. I for one know Walmart is bringing it’s own downfall though corporate arrogance. A example of this arrogance is they make a story about how Walmart profits dropped in the third quarter. But when you read the comment section of the story about Walmart’s falling profits a lot of people comment how Walmart doesn’t have that many registers open and they only have two check out lanes causing it to be a 40 minute wait to check out of the store. This in turn causes a lot of people to complain and shop at other places. Walmart at the same time reacts by cutting back on staff and underpaying them causing the lines to get longer at the check out. Also the stores look dumpier and dumper as less things are stocked. If Walmart would have a few CEO’s and managers sit down and read the comment sections on a lot of these websites about their stores tanking maybe if they read and listened they could fix things. What I’m worried about with Tesla is they are getting arrogant and thinking they are unsinkable. So what they do is raise… Read more »

Then you have Bob Lutz saying that Tesla is doomed. Interesting times for Tesla, for sure.

Than again: according to Bob Lutz Tesla’s mistake is that it makes EVs rather than PHEVs like his beloved Volt. Apparently the fact that Tesla’s rivals that took that advice and offer PHEV “Model S competitors” sell only a tiny fraction of the numbers Tesla is selling is lost on poor Bob.

BTW: how is Via Motors doing Bob?

Let’s not forget the letters sent out this year about don’t use the free, you paid for it, for life superchargers too much…..lol

That thing about the superchargers is like Tesla putting the wool over my eyes and slapping me in the face with a fish.

Maybe Tesla should add the superchargers to the car for free. And drop the $2000 dollars. But instead charge five to ten dollars a supercharger secession instead. In that in a lot of cases Tesla Superchargers are very rare.

Wool over the head and slapped in the face cost me way more than $100/last time I was in Thailand…

Then you went to the wrong place. I’m sure they would have done it at a fish market for $5 or maybe even for free (as long as the fish was still sellable). ๐Ÿ™‚

Wool over the head and slapped in the face with a fish cost me way more than $100/last time I was in Thailand…

Tesla can and should immediately change its SUPERCHARGER arrangement in such a way that violates no pre-existing agreements. Since to my knowledge, the charge rate was never guaranteed to anyone at anytime, but merely you can charge whenever and whereever, as often as you like, they could easily change the car’s software to only guarantee superfast charging when the car is legitimately on vacation – 2 times per basic vacation period to allow 2 way travel. The cell phone companies do this ALL THE TIME.. They guarantee ‘unlimited’ free data, but do not necessarily guarantee it will be at the fastest rate. There may be a few disgruntled S owners who find that 98 of their 100 daily charges are at a somewhat slower rate, since somebody in the adjacent stall IS TRULY on vacation and is thereby, per Tesla’s corporate wishes, has first dibbs on the juice. They should do this as soon as possible to avoid ruffled feathers on an increasing customer base – so that way as more and more customers come in and pay for the supercharger experience – $2000 or whatever they’ll charge on future vehicles, that everybody implicitly knows they’ll be throatled if they… Read more »

If I was a Model S owner who lived in L.A. and liked to visit Las Vegas on weekends, I certainly would feel that Tesla broke its promises about Supercharger use, if they took your suggestion, Bill, and limited my use of the Supercharger station halfway between L.A. and Las Vegas to only four times per year!

There is certainly an argument to be made for limiting frequent local supercharging, and to limit (or better yet, completely block) any commercial use, such as taxi or Uber users using it to recharge during their business day.

But Tesla promised free (after the initial fee), unlimited Supercharger access for long-distance travel. Tesla said nothing about only two, or only four, trips per year!

Anyway, Bill, I’m very glad you’re not in charge at Tesla. Adopting your plan would almost completely negate all of the benefit to sales which Tesla gets from publicity about its Supercharger network. Limiting use that much would cause the Supercharger system to be perceived by the public as a restriction to long distance driving, rather than an enabler.

What you think doesn’t matter to Tesla, since you’ve never spent any money with them. I’ve been told by several different Tesla employees (low-level though they might have been), that they value my feedback, and they tell me they are glad (at least, some of them), that I’ve decided to take a chance on them by spending my hard earned dollars with them.

So, since your opinion doesn’t matter to Tesla, whereas I was told mine does, its also quite obvious there’s not too much point in listening to someone who has repeatedly proven to be erroneous more often than not, what I refer to as a true Gasbag.

While I never thought it was sustainable for Tesla to be servicing cars long distance for $100, they really need to work on more widespread servicing availability before the Model 3. In 2020 or so, their sales volume in the U.S. presumably would approach BMW or Mercedes levels. More service centers or authorized mechanics are a necessity.

It’s great to have half a dozen superchargers in Montana, but you’re a long, expensive distance from service if your Tesla breaks down, whether you live there or are just passing through. I can understand if they don’t want your local mechanic messing with the drive train or battery, but if your driver’s side whiz bang door handle goes bunk, I can’t see why it hurts Tesla to have the knowledge and parts readily available to fix it.

Unfortunately, things like this are inevitably going to happen as Tesla grows from a small auto maker to a mid-sized one. Not that this is any comfort to that guy in Newfoundland.

I’ve also seen some complaints on the Tesla Motors Club forum that Tesla’s service, which was originally exemplary, has gotten less so as their service centers have gotten busier. I suppose that is inevitable if they don’t have people just standing around looking for something to do, but coupled with the recent Consumer Reports downgrade of the Model S from average reliability to below average (and no longer recommended by CR), it seems to be part of a general sense that as Tesla grows, the quality of its goods and services is dropping.

On the other hand, Tesla’s customers still had a 98% satisfaction rating on the last CR survey, higher than any other auto maker. So that reminds me of Winston Churchill’s comment about democracy: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

So perhaps it’s correct to say that Tesla Motors has the worst auto service, except for that provided by all the other auto makers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

IMHO, Growing Pains.

But Pains none the less.

Woof. This does not bode well for the Model 3.

You all have AAA Platinum memberships? Right?

It bodes very well for the Model 3. It means that Tesla is preparing its systems now for what will be an extremely large number of vehicles.
As long as Tesla keeps its owner satisfaction ratings high it will be fine. Just compare those numbers to the other legacy OEMs and Tesla is so far ahead that its almost embarrassing for the others.

The service bar was set so sky high above the competition, that it’s not unreasonable to see it come down to “let’s not loose our shirt over this” territory. EVs need so little regular maintenance and repairs that as Tesla gets their quality assurance up, this will become less of an issue. Even with Model 3 out. Have faith, they’ll pull through this.

The Consumer reports thing seems totally bogus to me. How can they drop a recommendation for a car that broke their rating system, yet continue recommending diesel?… Just asking. Reliability has a long way to go before one can declare a lemon, which is essentially the only thing that should NOT be recommended.

Consumer Reports has been rating vehicles this way for years. A vehicle has to score well in road testing, score well in crash tests, and have at least average reliability in order to be recommended. If the car doesn’t meet any one of those criteria, it doesn’t get the recommendation.

They have also dropped their recommendation the VW group diesels affected by the emissions scandals.

manbitesgas said:

“The Consumer reports thing seems totally bogus to me. How can they drop a recommendation for a car that broke their rating system…”

Perhaps Consumer Reports isn’t doing a very good job of communicating what their car reviews are intended to review… and what they’re not.

The CR review in which the Model S “broke the rating system” was a review of the driving experience, as rated by CR’s team of auto review guys.

Where the Model S has been downgraded is in the reliability reviews, which are based on a detailed survey of actual Model S owners, reporting what service and repair issues they actually had with the car, and comparing the reliability to other cars made in the same model year. As I understand it, how much CR’s car review guys love or hate any car has no input into those ratings.

I wonder if this is a case of some service centers trying to make a fast buck (e.g. practice dirty auto dealer tactics).

The Newfoundland resident had in writing that it should cost $100 so he had to contest his $800 bill.

Many years ago, I (foolishly) bought my GM car with an extended tire-n-wheel warranty sold by the finance guy. The same dealer’s service department did not recognize it. I had to drag the Service Manager over to see the Finance Manager LOL. Then I learned that dealerships will rip you off any way they can.

That is not the case here. Tesla set a company-wide policy for $100 back then but made no promises about its availability. What the guy got was a written promise from the service center that it would be available for the life of his car, which he held them accountable for.

However, for those that did not get a separate written promise, that policy has been changed already company-wide.

Plus 1- unfortunately been there with GM too.

The closest Tesla dealer is 24 miles from home, 12 from work so… don’t care.

Plus one

Luckily if I get a Model โ‰ก, the local service center is only 18 miles from my house. I hope to not need it often (hint for Tesla, get the quality up).

Well, this would put a concern for me for the Model 3 since the nearest service center is about 25 miles away from my house.

That bloody sucks! May be something new is coming up with tesla. I wonder how the model X and 3 will be maintained. May be tesla is seeking businesses to assist with the maintenance such as Elios did with Pep Boys for maintenance.

A “luxury” car is more than just the time from 0-60. If I am to pay through my nose for an expensive car I first of all don’t expect it to break in the first place but if it does I want to have a convenient service to quickly fix it.

If Tesla wants to play in the luxury car segment they need to start behaving like a luxury brand, otherwise they are playing in the overpriced segment.

Really? I guess that’s why Tesla is on the brink of outselling Mercedes S class in its home territory of Europe?

Do other “luxury” brands offer free refueling on trips or have constant free OTA software updates that continuously improve their cars in substantial ways like better and better autopilot refinements???