Tesla Model 3 Maiden Voyage – 150,000 Miles

150,000 miles! I made it!

Although I would have like to have reached this much earlier this year, due to Covid, I haven’t been on the road quite as much as I’d like to be. Living on the road is hard right now! But, I’m still driving as much as I can so let’s talk about how the car is doing! And just as a reminder, my M3 is a 2018 LRRWD, vin just under 12k.


First, let’s get the maintenance out of the way. I like to break up my maintenance into two categories, Self Inflicted and Other.

Self Inflicted

Reattach PDC Sensor (Knocked inside of bumper after hitting a coyote)(Good Will)

Under Tray Areo Shield Replaced (ran over road kill of some sort on dark road.)   ($165)

Windshield and Roof replaced (due to cracks from rocks) ($1536)

Cracked Rim ($650)


Upper Right Control Arm (Good Will)

Driver Door Strap (Good Will)

Clean and lubricate Rear Splines (Good Will)

Upper Left Control Arm ($700)


13k mi into ownership, I noticed my rear tires were bald. Literally fully bald.  I hadn’t rotated them at 7500 like I should have and had the closest SC put on a couple more Michelins.

I decided to start driving exclusively in “Chill” mode to see if that would stretch their life but 7500 mi later when I went to have them rotated, I was told that it wasn’t worth rotating them as they were already so worn down.

At 15k mi I replaced those asking which tire would fit that had a tread wear warrantee and was told that the Pirelli P7 Cinturato All Seasons had a 70k mi warrantee. I immediately switched and haven’t looked back. They seem to last just about as long as the OEMs but with the warrantee, I get 50-60% prorated on my next purchase which helps out a lot.

In total, I have bought 4 sets of tires and am coming up on needing another set.

Things that could get replaced

About 15,000 mi ago I had my Upper Right Control Arm start making noise again. I soaked it with a bunch of silicon grease and the noise stopped.

The Driver Door Strap is making noise again and could be replaced.

The Charge Port cover has stopped working automatically. I have to physically open and close it. As this is more of a nuisance than anything else, I have not looked into getting it fixed.

Paint-chips/rust. I have a small chip that has started to rust near the charge port that I need to get touched up before it starts to spread.

Service Experience:

I have had both wonderful and not so great experiences with Tesla Service. It really depends on the service center. Sometimes they are amazing and sometimes they push you out without really wanting to help. At first I thought it was due to how busy the SC was, but now just think it’s who works there. Being on the road, I almost never had an appointment which may have changed the centers ability to serve me in a case or two. Below is a description of each time I went.

Burbank CA: Took me in with no appointment to look at sensor damage. Fixed in two hours.

Denver CO: Replaced two tires and rotated tires with no appointment. I complained about uneven tread wear and asked if they could check the alignment. They said no need as wear was “within spec”.

Salt Lake City UT: Showed up with no appointment and noisy control arm as well as Areosheild needing to be replaced. Control arm was replaced under warrantee/good will. Interestingly, as they needed to do an alignment for the control arm, they informed me my rear alignment was out of whack and causing the above uneven tread wear. In all reality, this should have been dealt with in Denver.

Watertown MA: Showed up with no appointment with noise coming from rear and door strap making noise. Fixed within two hours for Good Will.

Rocklin CA: Showed up with no appointment for noisy control arm. They diagnosed but said without appointment they didn’t have time to work on it. They assured me it was not a safety issue though.

Century City CA: Made appointment to have above control arm looked at/worked on. They took car and told me they could look at/work on by end of day. They provided Uber credits for the day. At the end of the day they told me they didn’t have time and it would be done by following EOD. This happened 4 days in a row until I told them I would simple be picking my car up.

Burbank CA: I headed directly from Century City to Burbank. They diagnosed the problem immediately and informed me they couldn’t work on a non safety issue until that weekend. Unfortunately I had to get back on the road the following day so I could not get it fixed and continued driving with a noisy control arm.

Nisswa MN: I arrived at my cabin to lockdown for Coronavirus and planned on having Mobile Service come out to work on above control arm as well as replace the windshield and roof due to rock damage.  Unfortunately, I was out of the Mobile Service area and the closest Service Center was 3 hours away.

I decided to see if a local body shop could do the work. I was told they could, dropped off the car, and then waited over a month to get parts from Tesla. When they finally got the parts, the shop realized they were not certified to do any of the glass and had the car towed down to Tesla for them to do all of the work.

Battery Life/Degradation

I’m about to frustrate a couple people here because I am not going to tell you what my current rated range is. I think measuring battery degradation by that standard is silly.

First off, I don’t know what the algorithm in the car is that figures out rated range. We don’t know what variables it takes into count so we don’t know what affects it.

Second, there are so many variables that go into how many miles the car will be able to go ranging from speed to wind to road conditions. The weather affects it, how much heat you are using affects it. Literally everything someone does affects the power usage.

With these two things in mind, I think using the amount of miles as an indicator for anything is like using the amount of talk time available on your phone to judge its battery.

I am in the percentage camp all the way, never looking at the miles. Sometimes 100% of the battery can only get 220 mi. Sometimes it can get over 300. It changes depending on the drive.

I won’t leave you guys hanging though!

I have started to watch my total kWh usage to try to determine degradation. On a recent trip through the Teton Range, I used 63 kWh over 96% of my battery. So if (63kWh/96%)=(x/100%), x= 65.62.

The car started out with a 75kWh battery. There is a general consensus that there is a 1kWh buffer after 0% so we will say 74kWh 0-100%. That would mean I have 11.4% degradation on the battery.

Interior Wear and tear

The appearance of the car has held up surprisingly well. I do have the Elon Accessories Screen Protector which I think is a life saver. It’s a little expensive, but cuts the glare and fingerprints amazingly. Over the roughly 100k mi I have had it, it has cracked in two places and I might want a new one sooner than later. I am so thankful I have it though and can only imagine the damage if what cracked the protector would have hit the screen directly.

My driver seat has a good amount of wear in the lower part of the back rest. Other than that, the car still seems to be in VG condition. I guess it helps that there has only been me in it, but I practically live in it and you would never be able to tell.

Exterior wear and tear

Other than the paint/charge port issue I mentioned above that I should have taken care of, the exterior has held up surprisingly well. Seriously, I would never know this car had 150k on it.

I do wish that I had gotten PPF as there are a good amount of small surface level paint chips, especially on the bumper.

I have gotten TONS of star chips in the glass that I have had to have repaired. Over the life of the car I’ve probably had 6 repaired and one that ended up spreading that needed a replacement.

Whats the future look like?

Would I ever buy another ICE

Short answer to this? No, I don’t think I would. Having gotten used to how an EV drives, I would never want to go back to two pedal driving. I prefer almost everything about an EV, from the ability to heat/cool using battery so it can be left running for long periods to the instant torque. The only actual downside I see to the EV is the speed which I go through tires, but that is quickly outweighed by the lack of other maintenance.

From what I see, the major concern for most people is the speed of charging, but I for one, love that I need to stop and charge on a long trip. It is a forced break which I have found keeps me less fatigued and less stressed. I can drive longer more easily and I enjoy driving long distances more than I did in an ICE vehicle. With that being said, the lack of high speed charging networks makes it so I currently could only realistically buy a Tesla. They have me locked in. Sure, other cars get decent range now, but if it takes longer than an hour to charge, it starts adding major time onto a trip. I know we have Electrify America (as well as others) trying to change this, but currently Tesla is the only EV that I can realistically recommend for avid road trippers.

Am I looking to get another car soon?

I am not. I plan on running this one into the ground. If everything is as Tesla says, I’ll be getting a new battery at some point around 500k and with how my current degradation is going (11% in 150k), It looks like I’ll be right around 70% capacity at that time.

I do have a Cybertruck reserved and plan on making that my main vehicle once available. Hopefully by that time, the Robotaxi Network will be active and I can have whichever one that is not in use out making money for me.

Any different options I would have chosen?

I may have waited for the AWD version. I haven’t had any issues with only having RWD, even in heavy snow, but AWD would give me just a little bit more confidence in some situations.

Other than that, I have everything I would want/need.

Gas Savings

I Supercharge 99% of the time, only having a 110 to plug in at my cabin, and living at an apartment in LA. So my costs have been higher than the average Tesla driver but also a good way to showcase what the “Most Expensive” situation would be. Supercharging ends up being about $.06 a mi so in 150k mi I have spent $9000 on fuel. I’ll let everyone take that and apply it to their own personal situation to asses how much they would be saving as someones local gas price and the MPG of their previous car will determine those savings (or possible lack of).

Times close to running out of battery

I’m happy to say that in all of my travels, I have never run out of fuel. There have been two specific situations where I came very close. The first was right when I was starting my travels and I went to Big Bend National Park in Texas. The second was when I was investigating an oil spill up in North Dakota during the winter before there were any supercharger in the state. Other places like Northern Montana and Northern Minnesota have proved a bit difficult to travel in, but in each area, there are level 2 charges that make it doable.

Best memories

I have so many great memories from the past two years and am creating more with every trip. There are literally too many to count. I often think about driving up and down the New England coast from Cape Cod up to Bar Harbor, cruising through Glacier National Park, having my car surrounded by bison at Yellowstone, driving along sandy beaches in the Olympic Peninsula or being dwarfed by giant redwoods and sequoias out in California.

I found Precious Moments in Missouri and nude beaches in the Keys. There really are too many amazing places to think about what my favorites were. I love all my memories and wouldn’t trade these past two years for anything.

Future suggestions

All in all, I have no complaints about the car. It’s hard for me to think about what would make it better. I am patiently waiting for FSD which hopefully will be coming sooner than later, especially now that the beta is out in the wild. I wish waypoints were added to the navigation software before any more silly Easter eggs or games. In all reality though, I have everything I need in the cars current form.

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