“Still going strong with original battery. Had a few drive units and various suspension bushings replaced. 2013 P85. 144,000 miles, 8% degradation.”

The first noteworthy thing about a high mileage Tesla group is that most of the cars have exceeded the mileage cap for their car’s battery warranty. Since one of the pervasive fears about EVs is that they will become unusable as soon as their warranties expire, a lot of good information can be gleaned here. It’s all the more interesting because most EVs have not been on the road long enough to exceed their battery warranty, which are typically 8 years or 100,000 miles.  

As expected, issues do crop up when cars have been driven long and hard. 

One forum member complained that their 2015 Model S suddenly started experiencing “random warnings” immediately after their 8-year warranty expired. These warnings continued after replacing a front latch and they suspect an aging CPU is the culprit. Was this timing merely coincidence? Regardless, this driver doesn't remember running into any “major issues'' prior to their warranty expiring - save for a fully-covered transmission replacement. 

Another forum member wondered whether or not Tesla’s roadside assistance coverage extended past Tesla’s warranty. Some users in smaller cities and markets said that their local Tesla centers did offer them some perks included in Tesla’s roadside assistance, including temporary loaner cars. However many users in larger cities and markets recounted that Tesla’s policy does not include roadside assistance coverage outside of the warranty. 

One Tesla owner with 250,000 miles asked about the sudden appearance of a “yellow-dotted line” that seemed to indicate power was being limited. It showed up when they had roughly 21% battery charge remaining on a mild weather day when no significant heat or cold would affect performance. Was this indicative of impending battery failure? 

"Or, does the car get more conservative at protecting the battery with age?”

An owner with over 300K miles on their car responded that their battery regularly sees a 12% reduction in power on good days, and up to 17% on cold days. They now only drive their Tesla with at least 10% charge. Another owner with around 240K miles on their Tesla shared a similar sentiment and agreed that the degree of power reduction does indicate an aging battery. 

However, it’s important to note that not all user-shared experiences were negative. In fact, the majority of them were overwhelmingly positive - testimonials about what great conditions these high-mileage Teslas were still in after extended use. One owner shared that their 2013 Tesla Model S - which just recently eclipsed the 250k mileage mark - had been “a workhorse” for his family and was still “so much fun to drive.” Their secret to their Tesla’s longevity? Capping battery charge at under 100%. 

“With the rust free aluminum body, I put it in one car show every year and people still ask if it's new. We continue to drive it 100 miles/day every day of the year on average, in Minnesota.”

Another happy owner with 113k miles on their Model X shared a photo of their Tesla hauling a sizable U-Haul trailer. With their Model X’s spacious trunks and interior, and the power to tow a U-Haul trailer, this user could easily transport all the equipment needed for their 100-person choir. Quite the feat! 

Those members not asking question offer up useful tidbits.

A common and useful question people ask is how to keep battery health as good as possible, for as long as possible. One responder cited “keeping moisture out of (the) battery and drive unit” as their primary tip for battery longevity. According to them, moisture has a tendency to work its way into the Tesla’s drive unit and battery pack - which requires an involved dismantling process to remove. They recommended leaving this process in the hands of trained professionals. 

On the topic of battery life, the thread contains a variety of varying opinions on whether or not fully charging a Tesla’s battery is detrimental to its longevity.

“I'd take 90% in a 6 year old battery! The battery on my 2013 Model S 85 is at 81%. I'd say you're good for a long time. Consider charging to 90% or less (even 80% for daily driving, if it works for you) to keep it in good shape.”

Many users cited only charging to 80% or 90% of full capacity, while others charge to 100% only when needed. One driver broke from the pack and suggested ignoring the “common worry” about charge percentage, “The BMS (battery management system) has so many parameters it monitors, (it) prevents you from anything that would cause excessive wear.” Note: Recurrent recommends capping your state of charge at 80% whenever possible, and even Elon advises against charging non-LFP Teslas all the way to 100%. 

One thing was agreed on, however: not using a fast charger to go above 80% charge. Drivers explain that supercharging past 80% charge is a waste of time, since to protect the battery, the car severely curtails charge time from 80% to 100%. It can take 45 minutes to go from 20% to 80%, and over an hour for that last 20% charge. Drivers who need the full 100% range should top off with a home or level 2 charger. The issue of slow charging speeds may be exacerbated for older cars that have had their Supercharger speeds slowed down by Tesla to protect the battery. Since this software change affected mostly older Teslas, you hear about it a lot in this group. 

This forum sees a lot of general inquiries about common issues for high-mileage Teslas. Drivers who have 70,000 or 80,000 miles on their odometer want to know what to expect in terms of maintenance and costs. 

“...these things love to chew up tires.”

Of course, tire wear-and-tear is a common issue that all high performance EVs face - not just Teslas. The unique level of torque that high-performance EVs, like Teslas, can generate has a tendency to wear out tires quicker than ICE cars. Other users chimed in with their experiences having to replace tires more frequently as well - but many note that their brake pads last much longer.

“2017 Model S 70 here, still even on original brake pads. 172K miles.”

Additional wear-and-tear items that users routinely replace include the Tesla’s retractable door handles, the various interior LCD display screens, the sliding armrests, and the front trunk latch. A few drivers cautioned about failed seals on drive units and coolant valves, and moisture getting into the exterior lights. 

“Here’s my 2016 Model S 75 RWD (July 2016 build) with 141k miles, still looking and running like new. Original battery pack, original brakes, tires replaced 4 times (about every 30k miles)...

Replaced drive unit due to noise @ 87k miles under warranty

One window regulator replaced @ 88k miles for $332

Frunk latch & one steering wheel scroll wheel replaced @ 89k miles for $503

Replaced LCD on MCU and replaced trunk strut @ 92k for $946

Replaced LCD on instrument cluster at 122k miles for $490

Replaced front passenger door handle @ 123k miles for $283

Replaced front driver door handle @ 124k miles for $301

Replaced center armrest sliders @ 131k miles (due to cosmetic wear) for $134

Power is like new, range loss after 141k miles on the original battery is about 10%. The drive unit was replaced under warranty due to some noise at 87k miles.”

Online user forums are great spaces to find answers to the high-mileage Tesla questions you’ve kept in your backpocket, as well as the questions you hadn’t yet realized to ask. So if you're in the market for your first Tesla or EV, or already a high-mileage enthusiast, a good deep-dive into the online community can be a fun and insightful way to get the most from an EV experience.