Why Not to Buy a Tesla

Those who drive a Tesla would say how much they love their car. Sometimes, they would shame and look down on anyone who drives a gasoline vehicle — however, it’s your money, your choice. Don’t let anyone shame you into buying a Tesla. 

There are several reasons why someone shouldn’t buy a Tesla. The major reasons are its expensive, low build quality, longer service and repair time, expensive out-of-warranty repair cost, and degraded performance on older vehicles.  

Teslas are Expensive

Teslas aren’t cheap — even the most affordable Tesla Model 3 costs around $50,000 without the self-driving software update. Though recently, the price of vehicles has gone up across the industry, Tesla’s price rise is dramatic. 

Teslas aren’t budget vehicles. These are not designed for consumers on a budget. Similar to Apple, Tesla serves an entirely different demographic of consumers. 

No Third-Party Repair

Similar to Apple and John Deere, Tesla is an anti-repair company. It means an owner must service their cars at a Tesla Service Center. 

Tesla has a limited number of Service Centers throughout the USA and Europe. Over the years, Tesla sold millions of vehicles, but the number of Service Centers hasn’t increased accordingly. Furthermore, in many states, there are no Service Centers. Therefore, ownership could become a headache if a potential Tesla buyer lives 40-50 miles away from a service center.

Typically, Tesla owners wait more than 25-30 days to get a service appointment. 

After an accident, repairing a Tesla is mind bogglingly frustrating. Only Tesla Certified body repair shops are allowed to work on a Tesla. These shops are not everywhere. Moreover, all the spare parts must come from Tesla. Generally, they take a long time to ship those spare parts. Typically, it takes 3-4 months to repair a Tesla at a minimum. Sometimes, it could be up to 6 months, depending on the service location. 

In an interview, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak criticized Tesla and vowed that he would never buy a Tesla again. He voiced his frustration regarding the months-long wait time for a service, repeated breakdown, and high repair bill. He also points out that the self-driving feature is not only unfinished but also scary as it makes numerous mistakes.

Charging Still an Issue

Tesla is the only car company that has an extensive supercharging network. The third-party — Electrify America — also has a vast charging network worldwide, but it’s nowhere near the supercharging. 

Tesla strategically placed its chargers near interstate highways and shopping malls. However, the number of chargers and location is still inadequate. Making a road trip on a Tesla is possible but problematic. Most National Parks still don’t have any fast-charging infrastructure, such as Yellowstone National Park, Death Valley National Park, Yosemite National Park, etc.

Tesla suggests avoiding repeated charging at Supercharger because it will cause battery degradation. Charging a Tesla at home isn’t a problem. But many don’t own a home, and some live in apartments. It becomes challenging to charge overnight if you live in an apartment with no public charging facilities. 

Nowadays, long lines on Tesla Superchargers in major cities are common. During a major holiday, it becomes worse.

Phantom Drain

A gasoline vehicle owner can park their vehicle for months without any problem. The gasoline wouldn’t leak, and the car wouldn’t lose range. However, Teslas are different.

Every Tesla consumes 3-5% battery charge overnight while parked even though Tesla vehicles user manual claims that their vehicle would consume 1% charge per night; in a real-world scenario, it’s more than that. 

Because of this phantom drain, a Tesla can’t be parked in an airport or parking garage for several months. The high voltage battery will discharge to 0%, causing significant issues. It may also damage the battery.  

Low Mileage

Tesla cars are notorious for their mileage estimate. If Tesla claims that its vehicle can travel 300 miles on a single charge, an owner will never get this range. According to the owner’s experience, the range is always 10%-15% lower. 

Moreover, a gasoline vehicle gets higher gas mileage on the highway than on city streets. However, a Tesla gets lower gas mileage on the highway than on city streets. Therefore, a 300 miles Tesla would hardly get 200 miles on the freeway.  

There are no 500 miles of Tesla on the road. Thus, owners need to recharge their vehicles frequently. These EVs take at least 25-30 minutes for a full recharge. Therefore, a road trip on a Tesla would take more time than on a gasoline vehicle.

No Savings

There was a time when one of the main arguments for owning a Tesla was cost savings. At the time, both the car and electricity were reasonably priced. Thus, the cost of ownership of Tesla was less than a comparable gasoline vehicle.

However, over the years, Tesla cars’ price has increased, and the cost of electricity has also risen. Therefore, owning a Tesla isn’t economical anymore.

Low Build Quality

Tesla categorizes itself as a luxury vehicle manufacturer. However, its build quality is questionable compared to BMW, Audi, and Porsche. 

Elon Musk applies the software development mentality to the car factories — build fast, break things, fix later. Panel gaps, poor quality, and repeated parts failure are common.

For example, failure of the slide-out door handle on Model S is prevalent. Under warranty, Tesla replaces those handles for free. However, out of warranty, those handles cost thousands of dollars.

Out of Warranty Cost

As previously mentioned, Tesla doesn’t allow third-party repair shops to work on their vehicle. All maintenance must be done at Tesla Service Centers. Under warranty, it’s not an issue; however, out of warranty, it’s expensive.

For example, the Tesla high voltage battery price costs $16,000 to $20,000 depending on the vehicle model. Even minor damage to the HV battery would require the entire battery pack replacement. Moreover, display and media control failure is prevalent, which costs thousands of dollars. These repairs take more than a month as most parts must be shipped from Tesla. 

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt Tesla makes revolutionary electric vehicles. However, owning a Tesla could become painful if a few of the reasons discussed above apply to anyone. It’s why we suggest not buying a Tesla.