2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Drive Unit IV: The Milling

July 08, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

Just a few days after his epic, cross-country Supercharger-fueled road trip in our 2013 Tesla Model S, Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing, sent me the following text:

"It should go in for a post-trip check-up tomorrow, after I wash it. We started to hear a noise in the last 500 miles. And those new tires should be rotated too."

Dan and Kurt are preparing a full update on their trip for publication in a few days. They made it there in record time, breaking Tesla's own cross-country run by several hours. We let them sleep for a while when they got back but they are now working on photos and such.

Dan later told me about an error message he saw on the car's touchscreen: "Bluetooth not functioning correctly, needs service."

We were going to begin the process of selling the car, so it was important to have these things sorted out before listing it. I sent an email to my manager, letting her know this would take up most of my day and quipped, "It'll probably need a new touchscreen and drive unit."

Turns out, I wasn't too far off.

Dan had used the old steering-wheel-button reset trick to clear the Bluetooth error message. Our service advisor, Omar, watched as I paired my phone to the car. The error message didn't reappear. Don't you hate when that happens? Still, Omar said he'd have a technician look into it.

Next, I took a ride with the technician so I could point out the strange noise. I was worried that the car would have stage fright and not make the noise, but my concern was unwarranted. We only drove for a block and a half before the technician recognized the sound. "This noise is known internally as the 'milling sound,'" the technician said.

"What's the common fix for this?" I asked.

It'll probably need a new drive unit, he told me.

The next item on our list was a tire rotation. Tesla normally charges about $60 for this, but Omar said he'd have it taken care of at no charge. He also noticed that our Model S was due for a firmware update and would save us the trouble of updating it ourselves.

Finally, Omar noticed that we hadn't performed the annual service on our Model S. The service includes the following items: annual inspection, replacement parts (includes brake pads if needed and windshield wipers, but excludes tires), system monitoring, hardware upgrades and remote diagnostics. Omar also mentioned that it would include a tire alignment, new cabin filter and a filter for the AC compressor — all this for a cool $600.

We decided to pass on the annual service. The alignment had already been performed when we installed the new tires. System monitoring? We were just there in May when Tesla took care of a laundry list of items. Plus, they were already installing the firmware upgrade as part of the "Courtesy Inspection." Hardware upgrade? Any critical part should be (and was) covered under warranty. More on that later. So the only thing we were missing out on was the AC filters and the wiper blades, not worth $600.

Around midday, I received a call from Omar with an update on the repairs. "The technician sent a recording of the milling sound to our engineers and they gave us the OK to replace the drive unit." It was a unique way of diagnosing the issue.

All the work was set to be finished by the end of the day, but there was an issue with the new drive unit. It had a broken logic connector. This meant that Tesla would need yet another drive unit, which it got from another one of its shops across town. But that meant I wouldn't have the car back that day. Plus, the techs spotted a few other items that needed repairs. Here's how it broke down:

Noise or Vibration While Driving:
The technician found the milling sound coming from inside the drive unit. The solution was to install a new one. When the replacement unit came in, the logic connector was split. Another had to be ordered.

Pay Type: Warranty

Coolant System- Check and Fill:
We didn't ask for this one, so I'm guessing it was part of the process to install the drive unit. The technician performed an air purge in the cooling system.

Pay Type: Warranty

Ride Height Sensor:
The ride height sensor on the right rear of the car needed replacement. They installed the new part and said the car should be a bit quieter. I hadn't noticed, but I'm glad they caught it.

Pay Type: Warranty

Bluetooth Error:
Tesla ran a diagnostic on the system and paired an Apple and an Android phone. Everything checked out. Dan's hard reset must have taken care of this bug.

Pay Type: Goodwill

Tire Rotation:
This was included in the courtesy inspection. We even got a free alignment as a bonus. An alignment is required every time the drive unit is replaced, since the techs have to take off the car's rear subframe for the swap.

Pay Type: Goodwill

Firmware Update:
Also part of the courtesy inspection. We are now on Version 5.11 (1.59.56)

Pay Type: Goodwill

Side Motor Mount:
During the installation of the new drive unit, the technician noticed that the side motor mount had a small crack. Tesla installed a new side motor mount.

Pay Type: Warranty

Active Louver:
The active louvers on the Model S regulate airflow to the radiator. Tesla performed a thermal test and found that the center louver was faulty. The techs installed a new center louver.

Pay Type: Warranty

I picked up the car around 3:30 p.m. the following day. Tesla had offered to bring the car to us, but I planned on taking it home that night and the service center was on my way. Omar was still finishing up the paperwork and offered me a Starbucks coffee from next door. One tall Frappuccino later, the Tesla was back on the road, good as new.

Total Cost: $0
Days out of service: 1.5

Parting Thoughts:
When I wrote about the previous drive unit replacement, I posited that Tesla owners wouldn't be scared off by all the repairs, since they were early adopters who were essentially beta-testing the car. I compared the situation to the rash of faulty Xbox 360s years ago, which didn't deter me from the brand. I caught some heat in the comments.

I was called a Tesla apologist and my very title as "consumer advice editor" was called into question. Here's how I see things now:

Some of you have suggested we pursue a buy-back from Tesla, under a state Lemon Law. But there are a number of criteria that must be met for someone to have a valid lemon-law case, such as the repairs occurring within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles, the car being out of service for over 30 days or four or more repairs for the same issue. The California Department of Justice Web site says:

"The 'Lemon Law' presumption is a guide, not an absolute rule. A judge or arbitrator can assume that the manufacturer has had a reasonable number of chances to repair the vehicle if all of the conditions are met. The manufacturer, however, has the right to try to prove that it should have the chance to attempt additional repairs, and the consumer has the right to show that fewer repair attempts are reasonable under the circumstances."

The car has 30,000 miles on it. It hasn't been out of service for 30 days. And to Tesla's credit, they've taken care of every repair and then some. I'm no lawyer, but this doesn't strike me as an open-and-shut lemon law case.

Driving around the past few days with this car has reminded me of how good it is. People often ask me what I think of it, and I tell them this is an awesome car, with a huge caveat: Be prepared for things to go wrong.  The Model S is a highly advanced car from a company that is just learning the ups and downs of manufacturing vehicles on a large scale.

I usually recommend that people lease an EV, rather than buy one. EVs are like smartphones: The technology moves so fast that three years from now, something vastly better will be out. Plus, it avoids any resale and long-term maintenance issues. But leasing is not an option for the Model S (unless you own a business), so if you're set on buying one, or already have one and plan on keeping it for a while, I would HIGHLY recommend that  you buy the extended service plan for $4,000.

Here's why: Tesla does not have a powertrain warranty like ever other carmaker. The drive units are covered under the new-car limited warranty of four years or 50,000 miles. Only Tesla knows what these drive units cost on a retail level, or the hours of labor you'd need to pay for a repair out of your own pocket.

The battery has an amazing eight year or 125,000-mile warranty. And though we've replaced our battery once, experience has shown that it's the drive unit you should really be worried about.

As for my Xbox analogy: It was a theory. Sometimes theories are right, sometimes they're wrong. But putting it out there generates discussion and everyone is welcome to agree or disagree. I don't think that makes me a Tesla apologist.

I bet many early Tesla owners felt like they were on the ground floor of a car company that defied the odds. Some have had a smooth ride, while others may have had a ton of issues, like us. This happens with any car company. Some will choose to stick with the brand and others will swear it off forever.

I'm not giving Tesla a free pass, here. The company needs to get these quality issues under control, and more importantly, Tesla needs to have a powertrain warranty like everyone else. I will give Tesla credit for taking care of every repair in a fast and efficient manner. Many non-Tesla dealerships aren't as willing to take on warranty work and be as proactive in fixing things we didn't go in for.

How you view Tesla and the Model S in the future will all depend on your level of investment in the brand. If you're a true believer, these repair setbacks won't alter your course. But if you're someone who wanted a stylish EV to replace a luxury sedan, this may be more maintenance than you care to deal with. Both are valid conclusions in my mind. But if Tesla someday wants to win over the mainstream with an "affordable" EV, these cars must have a bulletproof reputation.

Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments.

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor @ 30,160 miles

Comments

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    I have high hopes for Tesla, but the fact is your experience with the car is not unique. Tesla fanboys will blow off all of these issues but for me, this car is just not ready for prime time. I don't consider this car a competitior to the established luxury brands due to it's many issues. Honestly, the Leaf is simply better executed. Hopefully Tesla can survive long enough to build better cars, but this LT test shows Teslas are clearly an aquired taste.

  • meckser meckser Posts:

    A single sample is not a basis to judge an entire car company. Consumer reports, one of the few sources for actual statistical data gave the Model S an average reliability score. JD Power named it the best vehicle overall in total quality. Replacing the drive unit is not the same as an engine swap. The car was out of service for just 1.5 days, which appears to include the time to get another drive unit from a different dealer. Tesla's double speak about cheap maintenance followed by a $600 yearly service that doesn't seem to actually do anything is worrysome, but not much different than maintenance on any other $100k car.

  • kirkhilles1 kirkhilles1 Posts:

    Wow, that IS a lot of service. Granted, its nearly all been covered under warranty but I do have to wonder if Average-Joe gets the same treatment. In terms of Consumer Reports, they gave the 2012 "Excellent" reliability, the 2013 "Fair" and new car "Average". My hope is to see the "Excellent" status in a few years. The good thing about software updates is that they can be updated remotely and so a car purchased today should have fewer "bugs" compared with earlier versions. Compare that with normal vehicles where if there's an issue then better luck next time. It bears repeating. PLEASE keep this vehicle longer. These issues are EXACTLY why you need to keep it and see how it fares over time. You can sell it once the Model X arrives.

  • " I posited that Tesla owners wouldn't be scared off by all the repairs, since they were early adopters who were essentially beta-testing the car. " Hmmm....did you really ASK Tesla owners if that's how they felt? Personally, if I were writing a check for just south of $100K, I wouldn't have done so if I thought I was going to be a volunteer beta-tester.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    How fitting to read about this today, because my Model S finally succumbed to the dreaded drive unit failure yesterday. I guess making it 18,000 miles on the first one was a minor miracle. As with you guys, the car was only out of service for a day and the new unit cost me nothing. Also, my Tesla service center was very accommodating and pleasing to work with as usual. Still, I definitely won't be buying another Tesla product until they get their quality under control. I am rooting for them hard and the car is truly fantastic, but I just don't have time to go to the Tesla service center multiple times a month. From the beginning I knew I was signing on to be a Beta tester, but I hadn't fully appreciated just what that would mean.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    They point here is that Tesla is not an experienced automaker. As such, there is going to be a noticeable learning curve. What differentiates Tesla from the established automakers is that they?re taking the time to investigate problems and devise effective solutions, which bodes well for their future vehicles? reliability and the reputation of their company. I like that. If they can keep it up, I will be a future Tesla owner.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Darn you, ineffective spell-check, no edit button, and my own lazy proofreading! They = The

  • I'm not so sure that the history of the automobile industry supports that method of doing business. The reason the Japanese gained such an enormous and rapid hold on market share in the USA was that they "did their homework" before introducing new models. Sure, now and then they had some glitches (Mazda rotary, for instance, the crude early Subarus, etc) but by and large people bought these cars with a certain confidence. If early adapters like mercedesfan are discouraged from a repeat performance, who is left in this slim niche market?

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    I wouldn't give ya ten scents for that thing. Not interested in driving around an experiment. Just say'in.

  • evresearch evresearch Posts:

    The question is how many Model S owners have had their drive unit fail. This inventory would help determine whether it is a problem with the P85 model or all Model S cars.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    I imagine the resale value of these cars will take a major hit. What happens when your drive unit fails and you are out of warranty? What does one of those cost?

  • > @meckser said: > A single sample is not a basis to judge an entire car company. Except, it is multiple samples of a single part. Unless something specific about this car is triggering the problems with the drive unit it would indicate an ongoing problem with the drive unit that they have had multiple ones fail.

  • drcomputer drcomputer Posts:

    I too am an early adopter. I've had my Tesla Roadster for over 5 years now and my Model S for over 18 months. I agree that Tesla is still in start-up mode and is going through the teething process of how to build a new car. But, unlike other established auto manufacturers that are issuing recall after recall for problems that are killing people, Tesla is just fixing non-critical issues. With their free valet service they come to your home or office and pick up your car and drop off a loaner. No inconvenience of driving to them. Like Mr. Montoya suggests, Tesla is not different than Microsoft with the XBox. New technology takes time to get right and you can test it in a lab all you want but you won't find the issues until it gets in the hands of thousands of people who use it in environments you cannot test or even imagine. Other's have suggested that Tesla isn't ready for prime-time. I would disagree. They have created a incredibly safe, fast, and technologically advanced car that competes with car companies that have been manufacturing automobiles for over 100 years. Is the Model S perfect, no. Is Tesla standing behind their product and going above and beyond to fix the problems and keep their customers happy, emphatically yes! Prior to owning my Teslas I have owned Lexus', Mercedes', and a Mazda. None of those cars were perfect and the dealer experience with all of them (even Lexus) was sub-par compared with Tesla. I will happily have the whatever parts need to be replaced in my Model S done every month if needed. I am still driving a car that is safer and more fun than ANY other car on the road. Call me a Tesla true believer. I am. All it takes is owning one to understand.

  • k5ing k5ing Posts:

    I have to wonder how many drivers your Tesla has had over the last year, and what kind of use it has had. The average Tesla buyer will probably beat the crap out if it for the first month experiencing the fantastic performance of the car, then settle down to normal driving afterwards. Being that Edmund's Tesla is part of a test fleet of an automotive publication, I wonder if was constantly being "tested" by a number of different drivers, especially ones that knew that it wasn't *their* car, and there were no personal, out-of-pocket consequences of driving it rough. If I'm correct, then I would put Edmund's car in the same category as a rental or demo car and the problems experienced, especially the driveline ones, aren't typical of the average personally owned Tesla.

  • iamthestig iamthestig Posts:

    I hope you can hold on to the Tesla until the warranty expires, or until the Model X is delivered. I'd love to see how it continues to hold up after it's latest service.

  • Well dealer service IS a critical factor in success, I have to agree, but at the same time it is way more expensive to fix a car that's on the streets then it is to build it right in the first place. It costs no more to assemble a car correctly than incorrectly. If these teething problems are assembly issues, those are easily solved. If they are engineering issues, that's going to take a high burn rate and lots of capital to get right. My biggest fear for Tesla is the same as what happened to IBM many years ago. IBM was merrily building their product, not suspecting that competitors were moving a large block of concrete over their heads, with a large knife ready to cut it and drop it on them.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Couple of observations: No, replacing the drive unit on this car is NOT like replacing one in an ICE vehicle, but regardless of what Ron Montoya says about "only Tesla" knowing what one costs, a quick Google tells me that owners have been quoted prices of between $15,000 and $16,000 to replace a drive unit out of warranty. So even though the process is not the same, the costs of doing it out of warranty are uncomfortably close to what you would pay to have it done on an ICE vehicle. And that's what most people care about. Side motor mount had a small crack in it. Is this maybe because that connection has been made and broken three times now, and when you start repeatedly doing that, the fasteners and associated parts start showing fatigue of this type? Same thing with the "broken logic connector" on the replacement drive unit. Because we know that is not a new drive unit, it's a remanufactured one. And those connectors are subject to the same stresses as the motor mount. This is not like mounting and dismounting a wheel/tire assembly on your car...as long as you don't cross-thread a lug, you could probably do it 50 times with no problem. These wiring connectors and motor mounts connections are not designed to be made and broken over and over again. The first drive replacement was at almost exactly 10,000 miles, the second one at almost exactly 20,000 miles. I predicted a couple of months ago that it would happen again, as did a couple of other people. This third one started to fail at...almost exactly 30,000 miles. I think drcomputer said his failed at around 9,500 miles - (but hey - these are non-critical issues...just the powertrain...)? The Motor Trend LT Model S had its drive unit replaced at just over 13,500 miles, and now mercedesfan has said (correctly, I think) that his was kind of an outlier to last for 18,000. Read the Tesla forums - very similar experiences. You would have to be obtuse to not draw some level of statistical correlation about this problem. They even have a pet name for it at the service centers - the "milling sound." That's like the blue screen of death - a universally-known shorthand for an enormously common problem. Ron Montoya, I don't think you are an apologist, but it's been acknowledged before now that this particular car has benefited from some level of VIP treatment at the service centers, and that seems to have happened again, what with all the "goodwill" work done on it. Also, you people at Edmunds have an entire fleet of long-term cars there. In addition to those, you folks also have your own personal vehicles. I don't think you view the prospect of having a car out of service the way the average owner does, and even more, I don't think you view mounting evidence of unreliability in a car the way someone holding the note on a vehicle does. I don't believe that the average owner, having had the service experience you have had with this car, would feel confident setting out on a 7,000-mile cross-country trip with it. Now, having said that, I would ask that you keep the car past the warranty date, which I believe is something a smaller and smaller sample of average Model S owners intend to do.

  • omarsultan omarsultan Posts:

    As a Model S owner, I read the entire series with a great deal of interest. For a brand that attracts a great deal of media hyperbole, I think the series has been pretty even-handed. Its unfortunate that they have had the issues with the drive train--after 27K miles in 11 months, that has not been my experience with the car. As to the service, it does not seem me like they get any particular VIP treatment--one of the reasons the early adopter hiccups are bearable is that the service is exemplary. I have owned MBs, BMWs, Lexuses and Acuras and Tesla puts them all to shame. Two of the nicer aspects of Tesla Service is Ranger Service (where they will dispatch a tech to your location) and Valet Service (where the will come to you, drop off a loaner and pick up the car, then return it once its done). You need not be a VIP to use either of these services. I have also the same kind of experience where I'll take the car in to a tire rotation or something equally mundane, and it'll come back with six other things they tweaked or noticed needed attention. I will compare that to my other current ride, which has been throwing transmission over-temp warnings for a year and the dealership had taken the position they cannot figure out what's wrong, so they cannot do anything until it completely breaks. O

  • No matter how things turn out for Tesla, they have done a remarkable thing that no EV has ever done before in automotive history---turn an EV into an actual "real" car that competes head to head with a ICE vehicle.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    I knew it! My last post in the Model X blog (yesterday) asked where this car was - silence usually means bad news, just as it did with the Mystery Dart. I agree 100% with fordson1. As for the statistical correlation with mileage: this has the hallmark of a design flaw, not a manufacturing flaw. Mfg flaws are more random due to the repetitive nature of today's mfg processes, but design flaws provide repeatable failure points. I see this in my own job as an engineer. Tesla: You'd better work this out before I consider your cheaper car after my Leaf. It will help to make some sort of public announcement about 'drive unit improvements and free repairs/recalls', and take the stock price hit, rather than let this story make later adopters like me have doubts. This is not rocket science, Mr. Musk, and you of all people know the difference. Nobody should blame the power of the Model S for this issue. Electric motors power everything from trains to elevators and subways, and they are many times as powerful as the Model S. By comparison, my Leaf has had no problems. Nissan performed a required software upgrade once. The wheels stay straight, and it's built very well. No bugs in 16k miles, but the nav system is lousy, and the gas gauge is inaccurate. Oh well. Honestly, if I owned any car as buggy as the Model S, I'd be screaming at the dealer for a refund, but under the circumstances I don't see Edmunds doing that. I had a Honda Odyssey that had a myriad of problems from Day One (literally), but only one of the issues (power sliding door) got me into Lemon Law court. I received a small check for my trouble, and traded the car. But it took me 28k miles and 20 months to reach that point; the lemon suit took 9 of those months to settle. But since Edmunds has no long term commitment to this car, you won't be pursuing this avenue. Mr Montoya - thanks for coming clean about this vehicle. I'll take you at your word that your not a Tesla apologist. Actually, I want to be a Tesla apologist, and want them to succeed, and want to own their product, but the story in this blog gives me great pause. So I encourage Edmunds to keep the car beyond the warranty period and see how it goes long term.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    When you announced this trip I stated "The extra 6500 miles could mean the car needs its 4th drivetrain somewhere around Colorado on the return trip." I really hoped that prediction wouldn't come to pass. I suppose where you first heard the noise (in the last 500 miles) would have put you right about there - remarkable. This is most definitely a design flaw. Tesla, get on this, and announce the fix, so future mainstream buyers don't have doubts!

  • djd352 djd352 Posts:

    Edmunds, YOU HAVE TO KEEP THIS CAR! Most of your blog entries are rather mundane since usually nothing seems to go wrong. However, when a car is this problematic you owe it to the public to continue testing the car to see how these issues play out in the long-run. You also should publish stories on your experience, so that the public is aware of these issues. The general public is not made up of car nerds like us. Whenever I hear people gawking over a Model S, I always ask them what they think about the drivetrain issues, and they always give me empty stares. Most people do not realise this issue exists. It is important that you continue testing this care and increase public awareness on the issue. Maybe then Tesla will take more serious action and give us confidence in buying one of their cars in the future. My wife says she wants to get a Tesla in a few years, but until I see this issue rectified, our money will go elsewhere.

  • Many of the Toyota Rav4 EV's, like mine, have experienced the same "milling sound" and motor replacement. I didn't know it was internally referred to as milling until this article. My first Tesla motor was serial number 331, and likely produced concurrently with the very first Tesla Model S motors (they are virtually identical). It was replaced at 11,000 miles with increasingly louder and louder noise. Now, at almost 40,000 miles, the replacement motor is doing well. One part unique the Rav4 EV (that's not on the Model S) is the "gateway computer", which is the connection between the Toyota part of the car and the Tesla part. Sadly, these fail at a disturbing rate, too, rendering the car disabled many times wherever the car happens to be. I'm confident Tesla will figure all this out. One part of the car that Toyota did was the onboard charge timer... it wouldn't charge on the months with 31 days. Yep, that much testing.

  • phildriver phildriver Posts:

    PLEASE KEEP THE CAR! Everyone is interested in this car. Every blog entry about the Tesla talks about how the editor likes the car. Telsa has the power to be a game changer. I'm sure many viewers like me love the idea of the car but want to know more before we make an investment like this. Instead of blogging about how an editors big hands can't fit inside a Highlanders storage area, you can bring meaningful information about cars like the Tesla. Cars that enthusiasts like us want to learn about.

  • miata52 miata52 Posts:

    You guys gotta keep the car, if for no other reason that it brings the most web traffic to this site.

  • tesla_owner tesla_owner Posts:

    I have driven Tesla's for over five years now. I drove my Model S across country country a couple of months ago. I also have a blog about every Tesla experience I have had. http://teslaowner.wordpress.com I do not think this drive unit issue is as ubiquitous as you are stating.

  • stephenpace stephenpace Posts:

    I will preface this buy saying, as a Model S owner, I've got 14k miles on the car and have all my original parts. I love it, and it is the best car I have ever owned. However, I know a few owners that have had major parts replaced, and as a shareholder, I'd certainly like Tesla to reduce those types of issues. But in each case I'm aware of, Tesla has gone above and beyond (some here imply Edmunds is getting good treatment because they are Edmunds, but that is not the case), and I think that is part of the issue, especially with motor replacement. If someone comes in and says "my motor is making a new noise", Tesla wants to try and address it. Let's face it, some people are more sensitive to sounds than others--the vast majority of owners may not hear something over the radio. But the Edmunds guys are car guys, they hear a noise, and they ask for some resolution. Motor replacement doesn't mean "motor died". That motor might have continued to work for another 100k miles, we don't know. But Tesla wants to make the owners happy, so they replace the motor, examine why it has the issue, recondition it, and redeploys it. In the end, this doesn't amount to much money to keep a customer happy. By contrast, GM would have said "drive it until it breaks and then come talk to me." One more thing: someone above made the comment that $600 a year is too much for maintenance. First, Edmunds didn't do the maintenance, and I would like to point out that this does not void the warranty. Point me to another car where that happens. Second, please point me to any other $80k car that has annual maintenance cheaper than this ("free" maintenance isn't free--it is paid as part of the vehicle). $600 seems entirely reasonable to me to maintain an asset of this value. Third, if you prepay the maintenance, it only costs $425/year, making it even cheaper. I think @k5ing above that said Edmunds car was treated like a rental car is correct. Lots of drivers, driving it extremely hard, given that it isn't their personal vehicle. It doesn't excuse the issues, but probably explains why Edmunds experience is so far out of the norm from a regular owner.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    Edmunds typically IS tough on cars, but you have to ask whether their ICE test cars have ever required 3 engine swaps in 30k miles. And hearing the same story about a RAV4 EV is concerning.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Yes, this car has received VIP treatment: >We've never specifically told any service writer this is an Edmunds.com car, but they know the VIN. By now it's pretty obvious. And this time I caught a glimpse of the notation "Edmunds VIP" written on the Tesla copy of the paperwork when Cameron and I signed for the car. I don't doubt that they treat at least some customers similarly, if not all, but on this point I'm not taking things too seriously regarding the service experience. Ron, I believe the Xbox analogy is very shortsighted. A car is not a piece of consumer electronics for most people- it is their primary form of transportation and for them, life would be severely disrupted without it. Maybe it's ok for Tesla fans because they either have multiple cars or don't rely on it very often. Or they have vested interests in the stock price. I'm not sure if the comparison is wise, but mostly the tone of your post seemingly gave Tesla a free pass for these very serious issues- it is not acceptable in this day and age for an engine or motor to be replaced 4 times under such low mileage conditions and saying those things as a consumer advisor was pretty baffling. Thank for you coming clean, and I'll take you at your word that you're not actually an apologist (woo! Random internet person doesn't hate me!) As with everyone else, you guys should keep the car. You're really onto something with this long term test drive although I'm sure Elon Musk would rather the car "mysteriously disappear" by this point. > @meckser said: > A single sample is not a basis to judge an entire car company. Consumer reports, one of the few sources for actual statistical data gave the Model S an average reliability score. JD Power named it the best vehicle overall in total quality. It should be a given that quality and reliability are two different things. What CR also mentioned is that Tesla Model S has 10x the average warranty cost for vehicles. What does that tell you? > @k5ing said: > I have to wonder how many drivers your Tesla has had over the last year, and what kind of use it has had. The average Tesla buyer will probably beat the crap out if it for the first month experiencing the fantastic performance of the car, then settle down to normal driving afterwards. Being that Edmund's Tesla is part of a test fleet of an automotive publication, I wonder if was constantly being "tested" by a number of different drivers, especially ones that knew that it wasn't *their* car, and there were no personal, out-of-pocket consequences of driving it rough. If I'm correct, then I would put Edmund's car in the same category as a rental or demo car and the problems experienced, especially the driveline ones, aren't typical of the average personally owned Tesla. This argument would be valid except that the Tesla Model S is probably the least reliable car in Edmund's stable. It hasn't left them stranded as many times as the departed 20 year old Lexus; but by the same token it has required more repairs than the Nissan GT-R (which was already mocked for requiring a transmission swap). One time, it left an editor stranded on the side of the road with his kid, without headlights and without much of an option for limping to a safer location- someone could have been hurt. Every other car, from the Kia Forte to the Ram 1500 to the Corvette Stingray, hasn't required an engine change.

  • temoore temoore Posts:

    Has anyone actually driven a Model S to failure of the drive unit on the road? As in, you know, it won't go any more? I for one, as a Model S owner, would be interested to know what is failing when it makes the "milling" sound, and how it will become more than an annoyance.

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