In March of 2023, a class action lawsuit was filed against Tesla by a Tesla vehicle owner
The availability of vehicle repair and maintenance service is important to owners of electric vehicles (EVs), especially owners of market-leading Tesla. How important? Well, one Tesla owner recently filed a class action lawsuit against Tesla seeking relief for having been forced to pay excessive prices for service and forced to endure excessively long periods of time for service.
Are EV’s less expensive to repair and maintain when compared to traditional internal combustion engines (ICE vehicles)? Not according to J.D. Power.
Are there alternatives to Tesla’s own service network to help Tesla owners service their vehicles without having to travel long distances? How about a solution to avoid waiting excessive periods of time for the next available timeslot for a service appointment? Is there a solution to help Tesla owners with a broader selection of service locations to book service?
First, How Important is Service to Tesla Vehicle Owners
Access to certified vehicle repair and maintenance service centers for Tesla owners is not only important to owners but to the vehicle too. To ensure vehicle safety, reliability, and longevity Tesla vehicles must be properly serviced. Here’s why:
- Tesla vehicles are built with advanced technology and unique components that require specialized knowledge and expertise to maintain and repair. Regular maintenance and service by trained and certified professionals can help ensure a Tesla vehicle remains safe, reliable, and performs at its best.
- Keeping up with maintenance and repairs will help prevent issues from arising down the road. This applies to ICE and EVs. Addressing potential problems early on can help avoid costly repairs and breakdowns.
- Proper maintenance and repair can help maintain the resale value of a Tesla. When it comes time to sell or trade in a Tesla, potential buyers will look for a well-maintained vehicle that has been properly cared for.
- As with any vehicle, owners rely heavily on their personal transportation and cannot afford extended downtime or unexpected breakdowns. Regular maintenance and service can help identify issues before they become major problems and keep their vehicle running smoothly.
- Tesla vehicles come with a limited warranty covering certain repairs and issues. Neglecting maintenance or repairs can result in voiding the vehicle warranty, leaving a high cost of repairs that owners will be responsible for.
Class Action Lawsuit Against Tesla (March 2023)
In March of 2023, a class action lawsuit was filed against Tesla. The lawsuit alleges Tesla is forcing owners of Tesla vehicles to pay excessive prices for service and forced to endure excessively long periods of time for service among other claims.
The class action lawsuit goes on to compare repair and maintenance options owners of ICE vehicles have versus options available for Tesla vehicle owners. Owners of ICE vehicles can perform repair and maintenance services themselves (Do-it-yourself, DIY). ICE owners can bring their vehicle to a dealership or to an independent repair shop. They have the option to use OEM parts or aftermarket replacement parts to maintain their vehicles. Tesla owners, by comparison, have only one option and that is to schedule service at Tesla or Tesla-approved service center where Tesla OEM parts are installed and service is performed by trained professionals. Tesla owners are prohibited from installing aftermarket parts to repair a vehicle which will result in voiding the vehicle’s warranty.
One of the issues that face Tesla owners when it’s time for service is Tesla’s limited-service center network in the U.S. Tesla service centers create a challenge for Tesla vehicle owners in terms of proximity. There are reports of Tesla owners having to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest Testa service center for warranty work. In some cases, Tesla will pickup a vehicle and tow it to a service center, but it’s up the owner to retrieve the vehicle and at the owner’s expense.
List of total Tesla Service Centers in each U.S. state
|Number of Tesla Service Centers per U.S. State||U.S. States|
|0||AK, DC, ND, MT, SC, KY, AL, SD, NE, NH, AR, WV, ME, WY, VT, KS|
|1||CT, DE, HI, ID, IN, LA, MS, NM, RI|
|2||IA, MD, MO, NC, OK, OR, UT, WI|
|3||MI, NV, TN|
|5||CO, MN, NJ, VA|
|6||GA, NY, OH, WA|
Availability of Third-Party Service and Aftermarket Parts for Tesla Vehicle Owners
The lawsuit goes on to say the Tesla repair services network should include services offered by third-party independent service providers. Having a wide range of independent service providers not only increases coverage areas, but it also promotes competition and competitive pricing.
The lawsuit includes the topic of replacement parts. Tesla requires the use of Tesla OEM-parts for installation on all Tesla vehicles. This requirement “has caused Tesla owners to suffer lengthy delays in repairing or maintaining their EVs, only to pay supracompetitive prices for those parts and repairs once they are finally provided.”
Tesla-compatible parts should be made generally available to the market and Tesla owners should be able to install parts themselves without voiding any warranty. Additionally, if parts are certified compatible with Tesla vehicles, they should be allowed to be installed through various 3rd party channels other than Tesla.
ICE vehicle owners have the option to purchase OEM and aftermarket non-OEM parts to maintenance their vehicle. Having choice in parts provides more flexibility for service and affordability by a vehicle owner. For example, an ICE vehicle owner can go to their local NAPA Auto Parts store (or any local auto parts store) and purchase a replacement part, typically the same day of need. They also have the option to purchase parts online. Having parts available in several ways promotes competition and leads to greater supply, quicker service, and lower prices.
Which Vehicles Require More Maintenance, EVs or ICE Vehicles?
EV manufacturers claim many advantages over ICE vehicles. One such claim is that EVs require less maintenance and result in fewer repairs. According to a recent analysis by J.D. Power, “Tesla EVs experience 226 problems per 100 vehicles, whereas ICE vehicles, on average, experience 175 problems per 100 vehicles”. J.D. Power recently found that Tesla had the third-worst reliability score of all motor vehicle manufacturers.
Tesla Should Consider Using Openbay the Automotive Aftermarket for Service
In November of 2022, General Motors made news they are servicing Tesla vehicles at their dealerships. GM service centers performed repairs on more than 11,000 Tesla vehicles since 2021 at the time of the announcement. Services performed on Tesla vehicles at GM service centers most likely include light maintenance services not requiring software related updates. These services could include tire rotations, new tire installation, brake services, suspension repairs, general inspections, and lighting replacements. Tesla vehicles requiring warranty work or significant repairs may have a requirement for installation at a Tesla service center.
Having GM service Tesla vehicles opens the door to other channels for service. It could also open the door for a centralized online platform to help Tesla owners find and book service with local certified professionals – this is where Openbay can help.
Openbay is an online automotive repair and service platform connecting vehicle owners in need of service with local trustworthy service professionals. Openbay provides upfront pricing on service that is competitive. Openbay also offers a paid subscription service, Openbay+ that offers discounts on automotive services.
Openbay’s nationwide network of service professionals include franchise dealership service departments, independent service providers, national and regional service brands, and mobile mechanics. Openbay integrates with several shop management systems to identify the first available date and timeslot for service and provides these options to a vehicle owner for appointment booking.
Openbay can be configured to only offer certified Tesla service locations only to Tesla vehicle owners for service.
Having Tesla service centers, GM service locations, and eventually other certified service centers on Openbay can help Tesla vehicle owners quickly find and book service, mitigating complaints of “excessive long periods of time for service”.
Closing the Gap on Tesla Car-to-Service Center Ratio
Tesla service centers will eventually be at or over capacity and no longer adequately handle the demand for service. Tesla owners will grow even more angry. An inflection point will be hit due to an ever-increasing fleet of vehicles in market, and Tesla will finally engage the automotive aftermarket industry to help with maintaining and repairing Tesla vehicles. This will especially be true as Tesla vehicles age, have significant miles, and require more service. The aftermarket is designed to handle a high level of demand.
Tesla or a Tesla approved third-party should offer repair and maintenance courses and certification programs to any automotive service professional having the desire to service Tesla vehicles. Certification programs can follow what ASE Certifications represent to the automotive aftermarket. Upon certification, service professionals become part of Tesla’s certified network (on the Openbay platform of course). In following these simple suggestions, Tesla will close the gap on their car-to-service center ratio improving customer loyalty, customer retention, and acquiring a broader category of customers that were on the fence because of serviceability.
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