For most people, avoiding the costs of your average oil change is enough to get a Tesla. At the same time, there’s a real chance that the cash you save in traditional vehicle upkeep could be offset by the price of your average Tesla hardware repair. According to RepairPal, repair costs for Tesla vehicles are 27% higher than those of comparable gas-powered vehicles. This same source suggests that the average repair cost of any given Tesla vehicle is approximately $832 per year, whereas the average vehicle (across all brands) is closer to $652 per year.
The reason repairs for Teslas are so expensive is because many of the parts aren’t as mass-produced as those made for far more high-production vehicles. Take for instance a Tesla Model X windshield, which cost one owner over $1500 to replace. Once a family of vehicles has been on the road for a significant amount of time, demand for replacement parts is inevitably met by third-party suppliers. Tesla hasn’t yet been making cars long enough for this to happen.
It’s also important to consider the fact that Tesla does not have the best reputation for reliability. According to a JD Power 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, the automaker ranked 30th out of 33 vehicle brands in the reliability category — or it would have if it’d met study rank criteria at the time.
Potential EV buyers must remember that the world of EVs, in general, is still relatively new, which means both parts and labor will cost more than they do for internal combustion engine cars. They should also note that Tesla cars are ultimately considered luxury cars, which means they are more expensive to repair than the lowest-price EVs on the market, as well as the vast majority of traditional gasoline vehicles.