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Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act

Don't want to start a new flame war, but I've just noticed a couple of comments to the "service" blog post talking about mandatory service required to maintain the warranty mentioning Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act.
I bet we have future (or even current) owners with a legal background here.
Any comments ?

Automotive industry, actualy.

You are not required to have maintenance done at the dealership, however you can accidently void your warranty. For example topping off the battery coolant with the wrong fluid or letting it run low and not bringing it in. The manufacturer has to prove however with a pretty high standard of evidence that the fault was caused by what you did (or failed to do). Some powertrain warranties have been voided because folks put the wrong oil in during an oil change. You can probably void your warranty by putting a trailer hitch on it for example.

But no. They can't actualy have a manditory charge for a warranty.

If this were a regular car, I'd say screw it. Used to change my own oil for example. But on this particular car, and a V1.0 to boot, I'll probably pay, take it in, and have them keep a careful eye on it. Obviously, I would have prefered a no charge warranty like most manufactures, but it's not a huge issue.

I'm just worried that it has a potential to evolve into a class action later, or to another set of mixed messages.
I was planning to prepay for a 4-year plan that saves you about $500, provided that it sticks.
Otherwise I don't see the value since it's not clear what those $600 a year buy me, ie there's no detailed description what the annual maintenance includes.
On an ICE car the maintenance schedule is clearly defined and I know exactly what and when is getting replaced.
On the model S it's an arbitrary number, I can't tell why it's $600 and not $100 or $2000 a year.
Tesla needs to clearly explain that, even if they are spreading the cost over years instead of charging a one time fee for larger items.
I couldn't come up with anything other that windshield wipers and break pads, maybe a tire rotation once a year.
I don't think I should be guessing...

I had the same concern over a potential class action suit. It's possible to get a waiver from the FTC with regard to Magnuson-Moss, but you have to make your case to the Federal Trade Commision:

"Although tie-in sales provisions generally are not allowed, you can include such a provision in your warranty if you can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FTC that your product will not work properly without a specified item or service. If you believe that this is the case, you should contact the warranty staff of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection for information on how to apply for a waiver of the tie-in sales prohibition."

Ask a Roadster owner what their $600 bought them, it's effectively the same thing.

Except that there is no air-cooled PEM to remove and clean, which I believe is the biggest work they do for Roadster. For Model S vast majority what they do could be done remotely via onboard computer. Only thing they need to do is check the fluids and filters and some moving parts like bearings and stuff for wear and tear.

One of the more major items that was performed on my Roadster was the high pot test which required dismantling connections to the motor so they could test it. That took in the neighborhood of 2-3 hours to perform. Since they did ranger service at my house I was able to observe much of the work and I never felt they were performing work just to add cost.

You are free to take your Model S to any Tesla certified car repair specialist without worry. The catch is there are none yet. If a company gets training, say Toyota, then Tesla could not complain. I guarantee you that Toyota will charge $599 or more for the service. In some states they do have laws above and beyond Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act. I am not sure how Tesla plans to get around those.

I have a battery lawn mower. Every year for the past 10 years I have had to preform service on it. Remove the built up grass out from the blade area, sharpen or replace the blade, open it up and remove the grass clipping that somehow get inside the motor area, had to replace the over load device once, tighten the screws to the wheel, tighten the screws to the handle, and this year I had to replace one of the batteries. Sure those are all simple but a lawn mower is simple and only used about 20-25 times a year. The Model S is extremely complex.

I am curious how this is going to work. There are no owner serviceable parts except brakes and windshield wiper fluid. Other than that what is the average owner think they are going to service? How many of you know what a high pot machine looks like much less how to use or read it? I use them to test high voltage cables and it's much more complicated than just going, "oh, it reads a 12 it is good." You have to track it over years and you can predict when it's going to fail rather than waiting for it to fail.... which by the way having a cable to the motor fail while you are flooring it would be VERY BAD. I am going to Tesla and buying the 4 year package.

Do you realize the power this motor consumes?

I agree with Sudre_. Not sure what all the complaining is about the cost of service.

It's not like they could just give a 2-day supplemental course to a standard SAE certified mechanic and pronounce him suitable to work on the Model S. They have to seriously train people, and pay them well if they want the best people (and they do). Last time I checked, people don't generally work for free, so where is that money supposed to come from?

If you thought you were buying this car to "save money", you were kidding yourself anyway. If that's what you want, go buy a Yaris. Otherwise accept the fact that if you want the coolest car on the planet it's not going to be cheap. Suck it up.

I don't mind paying if I understand what I'm paying for, that's all I'm asking.
Towing, loaner car (btw, it's normally provided for service over 2 hours, but over 4 hours for tesla), roadside assistance and even maintenance are often included, take BMW for instance.
Remote software updates is pretty much the only feature that is unique to tesla.
They should have provided an itemized cost so it's easier to see what part of the cost is inspection or at least separate mechanical work from software updates.
Even if they say the software updates are $500 a year it's an easier sell than $600 for an inspection and very few wear and tear items they have to replace over the years.
Lumping it all together is not ideal, read the feedback for the blog post.

The only thing Tesla will get out of itemizing the maintenance cost is the exact same benefit they do NOT get from the tech package itemized list. People will look at the maintenance itemized list and pick things out they don't want to pay for or they could save money by only paying for X instead of Y because they will do it themselves.

For example I can see something like this being said, "I don't need my sunroof inspected and lubricated. I can to do that so I don't want to pay for that part, besides if it stops opening that should be covered under warranty anyway."
If Tesla inspects the roof slide mechanism they an catch any problems before the motor burns up from excessive drag. If there was no required maintenance people probably would not even take the car in for a few years.

Honest show of hands.

How many people remove a wheel and inspect the bearings?
How many people inspect their sunroof slides?
Do you listen to your electric window going up for excessive drag?
Do you make a walk around inspection of your car each day/week/month before driving?
Do you remember to replace the air filter every 10,000 miles?
Do you remember to replace your fuel filter?
Do you inspect your transmission fluid for a burnt smell or darkening in color?
I could go on and on. Many people who self maintenance do not do everything. I know because I only do about half of it on my 10 year old car. Jiffy Lube (and assorteds) do almost nothing but air filter check.
It's obvious people don't make routine inspections of routine items because no one has any idea what the money could be used for.

No gain for Tesla just more and longer forum posts... it would give us more to do while we wait for our cars tho :-)

Here's my logic behind it, at least separating hardware work from software updates.
Tesla first says the car requires low maintenance and has a thousand parts less than ICE, but then the blog post goes into service and suddenly you're faced with $600 a year.
Saying that hardware maintenance/check-up is $99 a year and software updates that are valuable since you're getting new features account for the rest would be more logical.
I can totally see people objecting to that as well, but at least there's no contradiction on "low maintenance since it has fewer parts" and the service pricing.

"Low maintenance" and "inexpensive" are not synonymous. As far as I'm concerned there is no contradiction having to pay $600/yr inspection/maintenance fee for a $90k car that is technologically revolutionary like the Model S. As stated earlier, the inspection and little routine maintenance which is required must be carried out by highly skilled and trained individuals instead of mechanics that are ordinarily a dime a dozen. This is costlier than getting an ordinary car inspected, yes.

If they were calling the car "low maintenance" and you needed to bring it in every couple thousand miles, or stuff kept breaking left and right, then there would be a contradiction.

Separating out the various fees vs. inspection tasks has nothing to do with anything. Again, the main component of the cost isn't in the job the inspector actually has to perform, it is in training the technicians to be competent to do the inspection and work in the first place.

There's a great line in Thomas Sowell's book Basic Economics. He talks about how a guy gets his portrait done by a street artist and he really likes it. The customer asks how much and the artist says $100, to which the customer replies, "wow, it's great so I'll pay you but why is it so expensive? It only took you 5 minutes". The artist's reply: "Twenty years and 5 minutes".

When you go to the doctor and he prescribes you some antibiotics, how much are you paying him for his 10 minutes? A lot, but only if you neglect the time and money he invested in medical school, internship, etc, so he could be competent to prescribe those pills.

How much is the prescription? A lot, but only if you fail to take into account the many years of research invested by the pharmaceutical company developing that drug, and all the drugs they invested in which didn't pan out. People don't work for free, and they have to recoup their investment. And without their prior investment, you wouldn't have their products or services right now. So yes, you have to pay if you want them.

GB tried that with the "add up charge" for the 60kWh battery and look where that got them.

Any updates for the existing software are and should be free. I don't care about any NEW software/apps so I'll take the $99 option please.

As I said. People will start picking through it.

You can pay $600. I'll pay $475 version for 4 years.


It's a losing argument, since people will immediately point out that BMW technicians are not any less trained and their cars are way more complex because of ICE if nothing else.
Either way it's a no win situation.
BTW, I'm personally don't care that much about that charge, since I'm a tesla supporter and buying a Sig.
But it's a first mass produced car for Tesla (Roadster volume is insignificant comparing to the Tesla S plan), and it should attract more people than enthusiasts like us.
For them it will matter, a lot.

Updates are free to all owners. Completely irrelevant to the service fee.

sergiyz | OCTOBER 3, 2012

...people will immediately point out that BMW technicians are not any less trained and their cars are way more complex because of ICE if nothing else.

The relative complexity of a BMW or any ICE vehicle compared with the Model S is irrelevant to my argument. The point is that any ICE is 98% (give or take) like every other ICE in it's systems and maintenance requirements. Thus, BMW does not have to hire & train every technician from the ground up on what an ICE is and how it works. All they have to do is send out a pamphlet on the specifics of their latest model to the millions of ICE mechanics that already exist.

Conversely, at this time and for the foreseeable future, every person on the planet who is qualified to repair or diagnose a Model S has to be trained from the ground up by Tesla. That's a much bigger and more expensive undertaking than any other auto manufacturer is burdened with.

I look at this way. $475 per year over 8 years is $3800. Let's say you have a Tesla S spec'd out to $76000. That makes the warranty 5% of the purchase cost. For that you get worry free motoring for 8 years. This includes all the hardware and software plus servicing plus roadside assistance etc. Viewed this way I see it as a bargain, regardless of anything else. I paid 10% of the cost of my laptop just to extend the warranty from 1 year to 3 years.

Something like what Theresa said (the high potential test) can take time, but I don't think that is necessity. It certainly should not be necessity. Otherwise you could add a removal of battery and check every single brick in that as well into annual inspection too.

I still think that TM gets bad reputation with this fee, especially if the warranty is tied to it. It indicates that there are very expensive and necessary tests for parts they know will break within year or two from purchasing the car, and they can't trust that it actually lasts very long.

I think the actual work and/or parts don't cost anywhere near that much, cost is there just to maintain the ranger service which I believe requires quite large mobile staff (ranger that is servicing car at point A can't service car at point B soon after, meaning that staff needs to be larger than regular repair shop and do their work with larger equipment set). That staff won't get relatively smaller with more cars on road either.

I would be happy with a lot cheaper option for annual check which requires me to take my car to nearest Tesla shop, or couple of years without check at all (other than what computer tells remotely) and then take it to more thorough test.

Service fee is also for very low mileage figures. Even the four year contract is only for 50000 miles. I could go over that in just two years, and 12500 miles I would need twice a year (probably would get even worse than that in such a fun car to drive). It is alarmingly low mileage figure. It is like there really is something they expect to break very soon.

I think the costs are high to pay the for the service team and facilities, with such a small population of vehicles.

Barring huge problems and recalls, the Tesla Service person is going to make the Maytag repairman look like a social butterfly.

By the time the Model X and Gen III are filling up the roads in another 5 years, service fees may be much more like what most of us expected at the start.

Timo | OCTOBER 4, 2012 NEW

I still think that TM gets bad reputation with this fee

How bad of a reputation would they get if they failed to charge enough to cover their costs and went out of business?

That's something they should have thought before adding that fee, and hide it somewhere if it is necessity, which I believe it is not.

If the fee is a true reflection of costs, why hide it? Would it really make you feel better if the car cost an extra $2k and they called the maintenance "free"?

As for whether it is a necessity for the fee to be as high as it is, I suspect Tesla wants to keep it as low as possible for all the reasons people are complaining about on this forum. But you and I can only speculate about what the fee needs to be, whereas Tesla actually knows what it is costing them to train all those technicians, buy the equipment, build/rent all the service centers, etc.

Yes, actually. I wouldn't know it is hidden, right? As I said, this is bad advertising.

It also gives car a "unreliable" feeling. That low mileage before check is in due? An ICE car, don't require much attention in just 12500 miles. Maybe an oil change, and EV doesn't have oil changes. BEV drivetrain is supposed to be maintenance free for most part. It makes you wonder "what's wrong with this car" if you are required to check it that often, especially because it is tied to warranty and costs that much. It indicates that there is something fundamental in the car that can break really fast. Something that sensors can't pick up, and something they know.

Quite the reverse. Tesla has zero years experience with having and servicing numerous Model Ses on the road. They can't know what the real odds of something going wrong are, or what it will be (if anything). So:
a) they must track everything early and often, for some time;
b) they must be ready to handle whatever comes up. Which means staff, service centers, and parts.

Any management that did less would be negligent. But it's not without cost, even absent any serious systemic problems.

Breaking silence.

I'm talking about perception of reality, not about reality. There is a difference between two. I know the difference, but does the 20k+ soon-to-be Model S owners do? I bet big majority of them never read Tesla blog or these forums. Ignorance is a norm, knowledge is rarity.

Realistically even that $600/year is still cheaper than ICE car in long run. Four year contract is even cheaper. And considering that rangers come to you with that price it's really cheap but I still hope that there would be a even cheaper option where you take your car for checking instead of them coming to you. (I think Tesla needs to go to that for GenIII anyway, maintaining the army of rangers to serve 100k+ cars would be impossibility). Also maybe a "light" version of early checking which checks less, and then bigger, more expensive check later.

I agree with Timo, it *looks* better when the service is included and warranty doesn't have any extra required charges.
No one except us early adopters is gonna care about reasons behind those charges, they will simply compare this to what they know other manufacturers provide.

I think the option of taking the car in yourself for the annual/12,500 mi. checkup exists. But some were qvetsching that they weren't close enough to make this realistic.

By the time GenIII comes along, TM will have a much better grip on component durability, etc.

As far as "included", TM professes to want to be specific and transparent, and won't play "hide the salami" with owners. And it permits changes to the cost/service specifically.

I meant keeping it separate permits alterations with details; it also permits alternative plans to be made available.

I don't think that the issue is not the $600 for the service charge, rather it's that if you don't do it, you void the warranty.

It's human nature that some people would rather 'roll the bones' and not get a checkup than pay $600 for changing wiper blades (in their opinion).

Tesla would have to prove that not getting the yearly maintenance actually caused the breakage, and that's a tall order.

As for me, I'm getting the maintenance done; but I completely see the other side of the discussion.

@Brian H: +1 "hide the salami" comment

For those who are concerned about the maintenance fees scaring customers away, I'll worry about that if Tesla someday finds itself facing a lack of customers for the cars it can produce. Last I heard there are some 13,000 people lined up to buy these cars as fast as they can be produced, so it will be some time before I let my panties get in a twist over that hypothetical risk. I think Elon going to Mars is a more imminent risk.

I'd also point out that if some owners "roll the bones" and stuff starts going wrong with their cars that could have been avoided if caught earlier, it's worse for Tesla's reputation at this point than it is for that individual owner. The press will get wind of someone's wheels falling off and that really will scare people away, because the "journalists" reporting it won't mention that the car had 150,000 miles on it with no checkup, or whatever. Everyone will just hear that Tesla is unsafe, unreliable, etc.