Almost Five Years With My Tesla Model 3

Purchase & Pick Up

I picked up my vehicle on September 9th, 2021. I saw Jason Bateman there picking up his car while I was there! My options list is as follows:

Description Price
Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive $53,000
Red Multi-Coat Paint $1,500
19" Sport Wheels $1,500
Premium White Interior $1,500
Enhanced Autopilot $5,000
Full Self-Driving Capability $3,000
Subtotal $65,500
Destination and Documentation Fee $1,000
Total $66,500
Sales Tax $6,318
Amount Paid to Public Officials $710
Out The Door $73,528

Enhanced Autopilot included basic autopilot at this time (it’s standard now). Note that this was during $7,500 federal tax credits and $2,500 California tax credits.

Initial Issues

When I picked up my car, I was too excited to check every detail. However, I noticed these issues almost immediately:

  • The left tail light was not working. Mobile service replaced it, but it did not solve it since the issue extended past the tail light; the light on the trunk adjacent to the tail light did not work either. One day, it started working, I am guessing due to a software update.
  • Doors are not fully aligned. However, the dealership said that it’s “within spec”.

When you pick up your Tesla, check for any issues because its craftsmanship sucks.

Aftermarket Accessories

These are the only accessories I got for my car:

  • Tint $1,350 for the whole car for 3M Crystalline: 70% on the windshield, 35% everywhere else I believe. Unfortunately, this was not dark enough because you can basically see everything inside the car due to my white seats.
  • Wireless charger + battery + USB drive: my car didn’t come with a wireless charger, so I bought an aftermarket one for about $150. Unfortunately, to use the wireless charger and a USB drive for my dashcam, I had to buy a pass-through battery to be able to power all 3 USB cables.

Registration fees

My history of registration fees in California:

Year Registration Fee License Fee
2022 $262 $259
2021 $257 $303
2020 $250 $346
2019 $236 $389
2018 $270 $433


These are all the service invoices I have from Tesla. I think I am missing a few as Tesla was updating their system in 2018-2019 and I can no longer access the invoices.

Service Date Mileage Amount Notes
Tire Rotation 2019/12/9 14.133 $126.76
Wheel Alignment 2019/12/9 14,133 $117.00
Tire Rotation 2020/9/19 20,322 $49.00
Wheel Alignment 2020/9/19 20,322 $117.00
Air Filter 2020/9/19 20,322 $73.00 Pretty sure I replaced it because it started smelling
Brake Fluid Check 2020/9/19 20,322 $19.50
Replace 12V Battery 2021/6/28 25,193 $0.00 12V battery died
Tire Rotation 2021/8/4 26,327 $50.00 Mobile service
Tire Rotation 2022/7/6 34,871 $0.00
Brake Fluid Check 2022/7/6 34,871 $21.00
Replace 12V Battery 2022/7/6 34,871 $0.00 Replace before warranty expires
Windshield Replacement 2022/12/21 46,037 $1094.08 Cracked due to a huge rock, reimburised by insurance
Wheel Alignment 2022/12/21 46,037 $275.01
Replace Air Filters & Wiper Blades 2022/12/21 46,037 $62.00 One air filter was already purchased
Replace Tires with Continental 235/40R19 2022/12/21 46,037 $1,500.00
Replace Flat Tire 2023/3/19 50,329 $375.00 Damaged the side wall of the tire, so I had to have it replaced

Most of my maintenace are from the tires, which luckily lasted more than 45,000 miles before Tesla recommended changing them! They lasted much longer than I expected given that I drive very aggressively. The tire rotation and wheel alignment costs significantly varied throughout all the service appointments, but I didn’t really care since I got those sweet Uber credits. I also get very annoyed if I feel like my alignment is off, so you may not need so many wheel alignments.

Be sure to get service before your 4 year warranty ends! They replaced my 12V battery for free before my warranty expired since I didn’t want another dead 12V battery again.

Missing Services

  • Two flat tires, one of which was fixed by Tesla (I think around $200) and another which was fixed by Pep Boys or a similar store (I think around $100)
  • A broken window due to a break-in. I think this was around $400 to fix, plus I had to re-tint.
  • Two Tesla services before 2019/12/9 that I cannot access the PDF for

Every time I called Tesla roadside assistance, they weren’t able to fix my flat. The first time was because they didn’t have a spare 19" wheel for me to swap even though I was right next to the service center, so they just towed my car to a service center. The second time was because I was in Big Bear and they didn’t have service there, so I towed my car to a tire center with my AAA membership.

Battery Degradation

According to Tessie, after about 4.5 years and about 51,000 miles, my battery degraded 10.5%. This is a little bit more than average, but I feel like it’s degraded more. Currently, the app estimates my full range to be about 270 miles, which is about the same as a brand new standard Tesla Model 3, except you can use the entire LFP battery range on the standard.

Trade-In Values

I continuously looked for a new car, so also looked up my car’s trade-in value with Tesla a couple of times:

Date Miles Amount
2020/9 20,403 ~$42,000
2021/8 26,307 ~$46,000
2023/1 47,332 $24,200 - $27,000
2023/4 50,674 $23,800 - $26,600

I should’ve sold my car during COVID!

What I’d do differently

  • Don’t upgrade rims. I drive recklessly and have curbed them multiple times. Additionally, they decrease your range by about 2%.
  • Don’t get FSD, it sucks. If you need it, just subscribe, but all I need is basic autopilot.

Next Step

I have no regrets buying my car. I didn’t love it and was always looking for a better car, but there wasn’t one out there. I am planning to trade-in my car before my warranty expires in 2026 for the next best EV: a GMC Hummer EV, Tesla Cybertruck, or a Porsche Boxster EV. Just looking at production schedules, it’s looking like my next car will be the Cybertruck.

August 2023 Update

After I wrote this article, my car’s onboard AC charger broke and my car started to only charge at 16A (half-rate) at home. The Tesla Service center quoted me $2k to fix it, which I did not want to pay. Unfortunately, my car was out of warranty, otherwise I would’ve just purchased the extended warranty and fixed it through that. Instead, I sold my car to Shift for about $28k and bought a brand new Tesla Model Y for about $52k before any taxes.

Interested in buying a Tesla? Use my referral code!