Tesla drops annual servicing for 'as needed' repair model

Electric cars are less maintenance heavy.

Tesla has quietly changed its EV maintenance policy, going from regularly scheduled service to an "as-needed" model, according to its "Car Maintenance" page. Before, it called for "recommended" service every 12 months and 12,500 for the Model S and X, and 24 months or 25,000 miles for the Model 3. Now, however, it simply says "your Tesla does not require annual maintenance and regular fluid changes," and instead recommends periodic servicing of things like brake fluid, air conditioning and filters.

This makes a certain amount of sense, as EVs are much less maintenance intensive than regular vehicles. That's because electric motors have no fluids, nor the thousands of moving parts of a gas motor. They also lack transmissions, packing just a single reduction gear. On top of that, much of the breaking is done by a regenerative system that recharges the batteries, reducing wear and tear on brake pads and lines. Finally, Tesla's app keeps track of service issues and can notify the owner when repairs are needed.

Tesla's motives may go beyond that, though. The company has reportedly struggled to keep up with service after production increased dramatically with the launch of the Model 3. By reducing scheduled maintenance, it may reduce wait times, albeit possibly at the cost of some revenue.

Annual maintenance used to include a complete inspection, with technicians scouring logs and replacing wiper blades, air filters and even key fob batteries. Now, it simply recommends periodic servicing or replacement of the cabin air filter, particulate air (HEPA) filter, tires, brake fluid, air conditioning and winter care. Tesla will reportedly stop offering prepaid maintenance plans, but will honor any previously sold.

Consumers will no doubt take into account the reduction in maintenance particularly if they're considering more complex, service-heavy ICE or hybrid vehicles. Tesla implemented the new policy sometime in the last month, but it's not clear exactly when, so Engadget has reached out for more details.