Are Tesla cars easy to maintain?
Well, there are two answers, yes and no
For the first few years a Tesla will be a dream to maintain, wiper blades, washer fluid, cabin filters, tires, alignment. Pretty much everything else would be warranty.
Here's the catch. After the warranty you're hung. Here's why. Tesla makes it very difficult to get parts. There's NO aftermarket for Tesla parts beyond tires, wheels, wiper blades etc. Wreck a Tesla, you are going to buy parts from TESLA. If they'll sell them to you. Car shows up damaged on a Carfax? Tesla can essentially disavow your car and then you can't do supercharging. They're basically doing the same thing Macintosh does with MacBooks and iPads, you just can't get them worked on unless you go through the "factory".... That's a huge concern.
With regular cars, Ford, Chevrolet, Mercedes, etc, within a year or so of a new model coming out there's a huge number of suppliers producing parts for the "aftermarket". Need an alternator, you can go to the dealer, or you can go to AutoZone, O'Reilly's, or even order one from Amazon. Not so with Tesla. You'll buy your parts from Elon and Co. Or you'll do without. You'll pay what Tesla demands or your very expensive car will be a paperweight.
Crash your 3 year old Chevrolet pickup or your Subaru wagon? Yes, you can go to the dealer and buy all the parts to fix it, or you can order replacement parts from any number of "aftermarket suppliers" some of these panels are made in the same factories and on the same equipment as the original parts were made but marketed under another name. Some are of the same quality as factory as far as fit, finish and corrosion resistance, some are not. Some are made in China or India. And while some of those are fine, some I have seen have rusted out in only a few years as they were very poor quality steel and had little to no corrosion protection.
Here's another angle. Many manufacturers after they discontinue production of a given model or body style will actually sell the factory tooling and dies to a company that specializes in aftermarket parts. So that happens some times. When I wrecked my 1986 Mazda B2000 in 1993 or so, I priced the hood, fender, bumper and grille at the dealer and aftermarket. The aftermarket parts were less than half price, so that's what I went with. I also had a friend with the same truck who was in an accident that was covered by insurance, so he opted for dealer parts while I got mine from TYC, a popular aftermarket source. Turns out when his parts came from the dealer they were TYC parts in a Mazda box, Mazda was getting their parts from TYC in Mazda packaging. This happens quite often I believe.
So long story short there is no aftermarket for Tesla parts. I don't know if there ever will be, and the fact that Tesla can make your car harder to use by cutting off supercharger access and in theory at least remotely totally shut your car down worries me. I think they're probably nice cars, but I wouldn't own one due to the fact that you're just too much at Tesla's mercy.
There's a very popular YouTuber called RichRebuilds and he's rebuilt a few flood salvage and or wrecked Tesla's and you see the absolute nightmare he goes through trying to get parts. He had a perfect running driving car and IIRC he needed something really simple like a door handle, so he calls Tesla up to order one, they ask for his VIN, he gives it to them, they look and see that the car had been totaled and said, sorry, we won't sell you anything, we will not support that car at all. That's messed up
In general, yes, they are very easy to maintain and there isn't much to do. I am a Tesla owner and here's what I see.
EV/Tesla drivetrains and motors are MUCH simpler than an internal combustion car. There are fewer mechanical parts ant that's a good thing for reliability and maintenance!
Windshield wiper fluid, wiper blades, tires, air cabin filter and key fob battery are the only routine items. Eventually (5-7 years) you will need to replace the 12V battery and you can't wait on that one. When it tells you it needs to be replaced you need to replace it or the car can become an expensive lawn ornament.
Brakes should last you 100,000-200,000 miles because you don't use the physical brakes that often and when you do it's at slow speeds. I expect mine to have problems with the rotors rusting or calipers seizing before the pads wear out. They also use traditional brake fluid so you may need to top that off and/or replace if you do major brake work and there is a coolant used to cool the batteries that may need topping off.
The things I listed are truly all there is for maintenance other than cleaning the car!
However, there are lots of things that can break because there is so much automation and electronics in the car, particularly the Model S and X. This is similar to traditional luxury cars with lots of gadgets. Door handles are a key item Model S item. I hope mine have issues during warranty, if they are going to.
There is sometimes an issue getting parts for things that break in a timely manner. They mostly have to come from Tesla right now and how long it takes depends on how common the part is. That will change as the cars become more common and there is financial incentive for aftermarket parts.
I have a friend who was rear-ended in his Model S and it's ben 3 months. Hopefully this month he'll get the final part. Granted it's an entire lift gate, so it's not really a common part to replace.
I hope that helps!
I have a 2015 Model s 85D with 85,000 miles on it. I have taken dozens of road trips hence the high mileage. In an equivalent ICE car that would have necessitated 17 oil changes w filters, 3 engine air filters, a fuel filter, maybe a timing belt, and a transmission service. Might have needed O2 sensor, EGR and who knows what else. There are lots of parts on an ICE car that do not even exist on a Tesla.
The Tesla is much easier (and cheaper) to maintain than any gas car I have ever had. There are no regularly service parts except tires, wiper blades, windshield washer fluid, and cabin air filter. I go to the service center once a year to have car inspected, alignment checked, etc. It costs about $400 for a four hour inspection. My car also had a door handle extender fail at 75000 miles. It cost $594 and was done in my garage by a Tesla mobile mechanic. I got to watch and talk to him the whole time.
In summary, 4 years, 85000 miles, 3 trips to the service center ( 1 per year) and one garage repair. Some report more stuff and maybe I've been lucky but from a maintenance standpoint this car has been close to miraculous.
Teslas are very easy to maintain. It basically amounts to changing tires and getting annual checkups at a Tesla Service Center. The checkups are suggested every 12 months or 12,500 miles, but you can have them done less frequently without affecting the warranty. Some annual checkups (they're not all the same) can be done at your home by a Tesla Mobile Technician.
There are no oil changes (except for a gear lube change at the first annual checkup), no transmission service (because there isn't one), no brake pad or rotor replacements (until you've gone over 100,000 miles).
Any time your car is in for an annual checkup, Tesla will perform any hardware updates that might have occurred since you purchased your car.
Yes, Tesla cars are extremely simple to maintain. Tesla recommends you take the car to a service center every 12 months or 12,500 miles. So go there and do that. You may also need to top off the windshield wiper fluid between service visits (the car will notify you when the fluid gets low). Annual service includes the cabin air filter, key fob battery and new wipers, so you don't have to keep track of that yourself. You have to replace tires when they wear out, but your annual service visit will inform you if you need tires. The car will alert you if your tire pressure is low.
That's about it. Oh, you might also want to wash the car now and then.