Tesla Reduces Car Maintenance Requirements which should Help Relieve Service Center Pressure
This week Tesla announced that it will be changing its recommended maintenance service requirements. This is now the recommended list that Tesla has on its website.
- Cabin Air Filter
- High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter
- Tire Rotation, Balance and Wheel Alignment
- Brake Fluid Test
- Air Conditioning Service
- Winter Care
The change comes at a time when Tesla is flooding the markets with its Model 3, as the company has been able to increase production to over 5000 of these vehicles per week. The cars are being delivered all over the world now, which means that Tesla needs to start focusing on its service network build-out in a much wider area.
At the same time, in the US, customers have been complaining about service center slowness and poor service as the new inflow of Model 3's continues to put pressure on the system.
In the past when Tesla sold its cars, customers would be able to purchase a plan for 3 or 4 year maintenance, effectively pre-paying for their maintenance. Even without this plan however, Tesla would tell customers that they could come to a service center every year for their annual maintenance, but there would be no penalty for missing or delaying the annual recommendation.
Tesla will no longer be selling these pre-paid plans, as over the years it now has data showing that its car parts seem to last longer than originally anticipated. Electric cars have the benefit of not needing oil changes, transmission fluid changes, spark plug maintenance, fuel filters, or most of the things that typical gas cars are required to have serviced each year or when they break. Even the brakes of an electric car wear down much slower since the regenerative braking takes over most of the time. Tesla also says it will refund the remainder of maintenance plans, should people wish to cancel.
Now you might say that Tesla will lose a lot of money by not having these maintenance plans in place. However Tesla's service centers have been under a lot of pressure with all the Model 3's on the road. They would need to expand dramatically to keep pace with their production and deliveries of these cars, which would require further capital expenditures. That said, Tesla has been on a mission to limit the number of brick and mortar stores and now service centers that it will be building, as these are very costly to open and to maintain. By reducing the maintenance requirements, this should relieve the number of routine appointments that need to be serviced, and will allow Tesla to focus on the cars that actually need immediate attention. they will also be able to expand at a slower pace, which is great for service centers, since Elon Musk has always said this will not be a profit center for the company, as Tesla has always lost money on service.
This is the first major and customer visible step that Elon Musk has taken with regards to service centers since he said during the company's conference call that fixing the service bottlenecks will be his primary focus.