Many thanks to brianman and FlasherZ for posting their exchanges with Tesla here. This was a great balm/salve after catching up on like 400+ new msgs in that other, mega-toxic thread.
To say there has been ‘a little’ discussion about Joost’s service blog would be putting it lightly. Joost’s blog is about automotive service that takes care of Model S owners everyday, while at the same time highlighting the ability for Model S to have features added, even after you take delivery. It’s about things like Tesla Ranger Service that Roadster owners love, and packages that reduce the cost of owning Model S for 4 years or 50,000 miles. It seems that what most people focused on was quite different. It became a focus mostly on what is included and not included, and if you have to do Annual Inspections in order to keep your warranty valid. I will answer both questions in this follow up post.
First a few quick explanations… I think it is important to understand a few things.
When a company posts a blog, it gets reviewed internally by a lot of people. If the blog in questions says we are going to “do something” as a company, it is typically requested there be a footnote and/or disclaimer at the bottom of the page covering the restrictions and conditions surrounding that offering. For example, if we say we provide “Tire Rotation”, the review team requests that we say something like this at the bottom of the page: “Tire Rotation may or may not extend the life of your tires. The recommended frequency of rotation can be found in the Tire Care Booklet you may or may not receive when your car is delivered. Tire Rotation should be done within 500 miles of the frequency designated in the Tire Care Booklet. Tire Rotation must be done at an authorized Tesla Service Center, or a designate, as may change from time to time. The obligation to cover Tire Rotation may or may not continue on future models and can be changed at any time without notice.” I am not poking fun at this process, I am simply stating how the world works today. If you could have seen the list of footnotes and disclaimers at the bottom of Joost’s first draft, you would have been quite entertained. The disclaimers and footnotes were as long as the blog itself. As a result, many specifics were deleted from the blog, and it was moved to a higher-level message. In this follow up post, I am going to discuss, at a high level, a few services and coverages that all have specific conditions and restrictions surrounding them. There are no footnotes or disclaimers in the post, but you need to read everything in this post as having restrictions and conditions of some sort.
Next, there were a lot of questions about the warranty being void if you don’t do Annual Inspections. I’d like to go sideways for a moment and tell a story from my past when I worked for “a computer company.” Very early in the design phase of our retail stores, it was decided that there would be a Service Desk in every store. This “Service Bar” would complement the Tech Support phone lines already in place at Headquarters. Here is a story about how this worked one day… A customer called the Tech Support phone line and said his computer was broken. The phone support Tech asked what the problem was. He said his display was broken. The Tech asked him what it looked like. He said there were lines across the entire display and it was fuzzy. The Tech asked when this happened, and was told that it happened “last night”. The Tech then asked if he could connect remotely to the computer to run a few diagnostics and see a few configuration details, which he did. They restarted the computer several times and adjusted the display settings several times. After about an hour of questions, diagnostics and discussion, the phone Tech explained that there was nothing further he could do, and suggested an appointment at the Service Desk in the nearby store. The customer was happy to do so. He showed up for the appointment in the store and met with the “Service Bar Tech.” He recounted the discussions with the phone Tech. The Service Tech in the store then opened the computer and said, “Your display is broken”. The customer said “That’s is what I was trying to tell the guy on the phone”…It turns out that the glass display on his laptop was shattered. There was nothing wrong with the rest of the computer. The point is this…sometimes you need to physically see things in order to fully understand the situation.
How does this relate to our warranty? “Seeing” your car at regular intervals is an important part of warranty service for several reasons. I’ll cover two of them.
First, catching things early: As Joost said in his blog, we cover wear and tear parts, like brake pads. I don’t know how many of you have ever gone in for brake pad replacement on your car and received a phone call saying, “You drove too long on these pads and now you have to replace your rotors, too.” This increases the cost of “brake service” significantly. Candidly, we want to prevent that from happening. We want to see your car annually, or every 12,500 miles, so we can choose when to replace parts that have impact on other parts. You will not be paying additional for these replacements. We cover all these costs as part of your Annual Inspection fee. All we are asking is that we have the chance to review and replace wear and tear parts before they impact others, and the only way to do this is by “seeing” the car.
Second, there are some items that have nothing to do with mileage, but are affected by “time.” For instance, brake fluid and some coolants dilute slowly over time. We have properly “timed” replacement of these items as part of the “Annual or 12,500 mile” schedule.
When you combine these two items together, some that are “mileage dependent” and some that are “time dependent”, hopefully you will understand why we need to see your car at regular intervals. So, to answer the question clearly about whether failure to do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections voids your warranty, yes it does. We need to see your car to make sure all covered wear and tear parts are visually inspected and replaced, as needed, before they grow into bigger issues. And we want to make sure things affected by “time” are replaced on their appropriate schedule. This may not be a popular answer, but it is the best way for us to make sure you and your car are being taken care of properly.
So that brings us to the long list of questions about “what is covered?” Let me run thru a high level list. As I said above, all these items have certain conditions and limitations, but here you go:
Here is what is covered for 4 years or 50,000 miles as long as you do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections:
- INCLUDED: 4 years or 50,000 miles, 24/7.
- INCLUDED: If your car has a breakdown and cannot be driven, we pay for towing, up to 50 miles, to a Tesla Service Center, your home, or some other secure place. We will then assess your car to determine the best way to repair it.
- INCLUDED: If your car is towed to somewhere other than a Tesla Service Center, we will determine if we think the issue can be fixed by a Tesla Ranger. If the answer is yes, we will dispatch a Tesla Ranger to fix your car, and there will be no charge for this Ranger visit.
- INCLUDED: If your car is towed to somewhere other than a Tesla Service Center, and we determine it cannot be fixed by a Tesla Ranger, we will transport your car to a place where it can be serviced and return it to you at no additional charge, regardless of how far away you live from the Tesla Service Center.
WEAR AND TEAR PARTS
- INCLUDED: Everything except tires. Joost already identified things like wiper blades and brake pads. These are covered. There were lots of questions about things like headlights, taillights, and other things that people traditionally expect to wear out or perhaps burn out during a 4-year period. All these things are covered. Basically, everything is covered, except tires, as long as you let us do Inspections as scheduled.
- INCLUDED: If your service is estimated to take over four hours, and is being done at one of our Tesla Service Centers, we provide a Loaner Car at no additional charge. A Loaner Car is not provided for Tesla Ranger Service.
- INCLUDED: This needs to be done at a Tesla Service Center (not by a Ranger). If you have your Annual or 12,500 mile Inspection done at a Tesla Service Center, we will include wheel alignment at no charge. If you have your Annual or 12,500 mile Inspection done by a Tesla Ranger, we cannot do alignment service at that time, but the next time you are near a Tesla Service Center, just let us know in advance, and we will do an alignment for you at that time at no additional charge.
- INCLUDED: Tire rotation is provided at no additional charge, but must also be done at a Tesla Service Center. This is just like wheel alignment, if you have a Ranger do your Annual or 12,500 mile Inspection, just let us know ahead of time and we’ll do tire rotation when you have a chance to stop by one of our service centers. And there will be no charge.
- INCLUDED: Not much to say here… Software updates done at a Service Center and/or remotely are included. There were several questions about getting software updates if you don’t purchase a connectivity plan. Yes, you will still get software updates if you do not purchase a connectivity plan.
I think this is a very comprehensive plan. As long as you let us check out your car annually or every 12,500 miles, there’s not much else to cover…except tires. And we’ll even align and rotate them at no additional charge!
I think the above is fairly clear, but I want to make sure, so what I’d like to do next is answer a few very specific questions asked by some of our loyal supporters on the forum. I want to make sure everything is clear. Some of the questions are very direct, and you may not like the answer, but I’d rather answer them and bring clarity to the issue than leave them open for further speculation.
@DISCODUCKY, @shokunin: “What I will forfeit if I do NOT buy a service plan?”
You do not have to buy a pre-paid service plan. The pre-paid plans were designed for those who want to reduce their costs by pre-paying, or get unlimited Ranger visits… but you do not have to buy a pre-paid plan at all. On our website [http://www.teslamotors.com/service], there is a chart at the bottom of the Service page which shows various ways to pay for service. You can buy a pre-paid plan, but it also specifically says you can also pay annually when you bring your car in for its Annual or 12,500 mile Inspection. You will not forfeit anything as long as you get your car serviced in line with any one of the options shown.
@WONG.PETER “Is an annual inspection required to maintain the warranty?”
Yes. If you do not buy a pre-paid service plan or bring your car in for Inspection, when due, you will forfeit your warranty. This is no different than any other car manufacturer and is necessary to make sure your car is operating properly and to replace any wear and tear parts we think might need to be replaced proactively.
@ANDYSTJ: “What happens after 50,000 miles?”
We plan to offer an Extended Service Plan to cover beyond 4 years or 50,000 miles.
@DR CHILL: “What will happen to Tesla owners that do not pay for these annual inspections from Tesla? Can they take their car to an independent shop without affecting warranty coverage?”
You will forfeit your warranty if you do not do Annual or 12,500 mile Inspections, when due. You will forfeit your warranty if you take your Model S to an independent shop for vehicle service and/or repairs. Your car needs to be serviced by a current, Tesla Certified mechanic to make sure it is working properly and to maintain the warranty on your car.
@DAVIDWSMITH, @SCOLE04, @BEAKER, @JOHN56: “What, specifically, is covered and what is not? What is “wear and tear” exactly?”
Wear and tear is anything that wears out or stops working with daily use. Wiper blades, brake pads, brake fluid, and light bulbs are all included. Everything but tires is included, and we even include alignment and tire rotation to help them last as long as possible.
@Todd Burch: “If it needs to go on a lift, do they trailer it back to the service center? Will they return it to you after as well?”
If your car breaks down and is not able to drive, transport both ways is on us (please see above under “towing” for more detail).
@jimbakker666: “If it’s so low maintenance, won’t rangers rarely have to fix anything?”
Rangers are there to provide convenience for those who want to use them, and to provide confidence to those who do not live near a Tesla Service Center. Tesla Rangers can come to your home or office to perform an Annual or 12,500 mile Inspection, warranty work, or almost any other work that doesn’t require a vehicle lift.
I hope this post helps clarify the majority of questions about Tesla Service. I think if you step back and look at our plans, you will see that they are not simply “wiper blades and fluids” as one post suggested. We provide 24/7 Roadside Assistance, Towing, Loaner Cars, Wear and Tear parts, Wheel Alignments, Tire Rotation, Software Updates, and something I haven’t even touched on that seems to have been totally lost in the shuffle from Joost’s blog – New Features.
I know some of you were very clear in your posts that you don’t care about “creep”, or some of the other features that we are planning to add, but perhaps another family member, or someone else who drives the car from time-to-time might like one of them. If nothing else, the added features might be attractive to a future buyer when the time comes to sell your car, which might make it worth more at that time. There’s no way to tell, but we think the ability to continue to enhance your car with new features, even after you take delivery, is a big step forward and one that sets Model S apart from all other cars. We believe “New Features” are an important part of Tesla Service.
Thanks to all of you who chimed in with questions. When all is said and done, our goal is very straightforward, to provide you with a great ownership experience. We have tried to define a service program that does exactly that. One that takes care of you, your family, and your car. One that gives you all-inclusive cost options and options surrounding where you can have your car serviced. But even if you don’t choose one of the pre-paid plans, you know right now how much it will cost to fully maintain your Model S for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles. All you need to do is let us visit with your car from time-to-time at defined intervals and everything else is included…except tires
Last edited by NigelM; 09-19-2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Fixed website link
George B--Thanks for taking the time to respond in such depth, so clearly and so candidly. Absolutely fantastic. You're great.
See this post from George B for complete details: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showt...l=1#post187010
(Mod note: Thanks ddruz. Merged threads which made your post obsolete.)
Last edited by NigelM; 09-17-2012 at 06:15 AM.
Well, let me too say a big Thank You, to GeorgeB for clarifiying things, even if some of the answers were not what some of us wanted to hear.
I'm still curious to see how all of this will translate for us in Europe, but I guess like the rest of the details concerning the Euro-Model S, which are still completely unknown - even to the personnel at the local Tesla store - we will just have to wait and see.
But once again, thank you for that comprehensive answer everyone here was so desperately waiting for.
Thank you for the clarification. I believe Tesla has put a lot of thought into how to best maintain the cars they sell, while providing convenient service options for customers. Tesla is making a huge investment in their physical presence (service centers), service personnel (training), and equipment. I take comfort in knowing that my significant investment in Model S will be well cared for. By offering service rangers and loaner cars (at your service centers), you are sending the message that you recognize that your customer's time is valuable - excellent. I look forward to the opening of the Tampa Service center and taking delivery of my new Model S. Keep up the great work!
Thanks, GeorgeB, for such a cogent, informative response. I hope that it reduces the level of hysteria here to undetectable levels but somehow I doubt it.
Can I change my vote in the poll?
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