As a beacon of innovation in the EV (Electric Vehicle) industry, Tesla has an established reputation for vehicles that require significantly less maintenance compared to their fuel-guzzling counterparts. One such area of reduced maintenance has to do with oil changes. Unlike a conventional car, a Tesla’s electric motor doesn’t need oil. However, the misconception that Teslas require no oil whatsoever is not entirely accurate.
The Hidden Oil Filter: Tesla’s Gearbox
An all-electric Tesla vehicle, as evidenced by a detailed teardown by Munro & Associates of a Model Y, does contain an oil filter. Surprisingly, this filter doesn’t serve a traditional motor but rather, it’s a crucial component of the Tesla’s gearbox. This oil filter isn’t exactly a part of a conventional transmission system but more of a gearbox that utilizes oil. It’s specifically designed to ensure the grease circulating within doesn’t obstruct any moving components in the gearbox or motor.
This gearbox oil filter has been meticulously tested by professionals, with outlets like CNET using a dipstick to monitor oil levels in a Tesla Model 3.
The Synthetic Solution: Tesla’s Drive Unit Oil
The oil present in a Tesla’s drive unit, also referred to as the differential or gearbox, guarantees smooth transmissions. It is a synthetic oil known as Pentosin ATF 9, with the oil filter bearing part number 1095038-00-A. Unlike conventional engine oil, this synthetic oil is resistant to degradation or contamination from fumes, reinforcing why Teslas don’t need regular oil changes.
In the past, Tesla suggested changing this gearbox oil during the 1st, 5th, and 9th years of ownership. This recommendation, however, has been removed from Tesla’s Support page, presumably after recognizing the longevity of this synthetic oil.
Beyond the Gearbox: Tesla’s Regular Maintenance Needs
While we’ve cleared up the mystery surrounding oil in Tesla vehicles, it’s essential to address other aspects of Tesla maintenance. Teslas, though requiring much less maintenance than standard vehicles, still need basic upkeep for optimal performance, safety, and reliability.
Here are some critical maintenance tips for Tesla owners:
Tire Rotation and Wheel Alignment
Tesla recommends rotating or replacing tires every 6,250 miles or when the tread depth difference is 2⁄32 – whichever happens first. The company also emphasizes the importance of wheel alignment, as it impacts handling, tire lifespan, and steering components.
Tesla vehicles utilize regenerative braking, which minimizes wear on the brake pads. However, keeping an eye on your brake pads is always a good idea for optimal safety.
Cabin Air Filter
Replacing the cabin air filter every two years is another recommendation from Tesla. This component blocks dust, pollen, and other contaminants from infiltrating the cabin, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable driving environment.
Embracing Tesla’s Maintenance Revolution
To conclude, while Tesla vehicles do require some form of oil maintenance, it’s far less demanding than traditional vehicles due to the synthetic oil used in their drive unit. Alongside this, routine maintenance procedures like tire rotation and brake pad monitoring are necessary for maintaining the superior performance, safety, and reliability of these revolutionary EVs.