As the cost of fuel increases and electric vehicles (EVs) become more accessible and functional, you might consider purchasing one. Among the variety of hybrid and electric models offered by leading automakers, Teslas are often a top choice for those seeking their first EV, known for their innovation and status as a prominent electric vehicle manufacturer.
However, there are concerns about Tesla’s reliability and safety. Issues such as fires in electric cars, accidents related to autonomous driving features, and paint quality problems are frequently associated with Tesla.
The question then arises: Are Teslas dependable, and are they worth buying? This article explores these questions further.
Recent studies by two renowned research groups evaluated car brands based on various factors, giving Tesla lower scores due to reported reliability issues. Despite these findings, Tesla vehicles are praised for their impressive road performance and appeal to enthusiasts of sports cars and environmentally conscious drivers. Whether these positives outweigh the negatives is a personal decision.
Consumer Reports’ 2021 Brand Report Card placed Tesla 16th out of 32 brands, a drop from its 11th place in 2020. The study highlighted Mazda, Toyota, and Lexus as the top three most reliable brands, while Lincoln and Ford were noted for their unreliability.
Specific Tesla models like the Model S, Model Y, and Model X faced several reliability issues, from poor body panel alignment to mismatched paint. Nonetheless, these models received praise for their on-road performance and owner satisfaction.
The Tesla Model 3 stood out in the study, making it to the top 10 picks and being recognized for performance, reliability, safety, and emissions.
J.D. Power’s US Vehicle Dependability Study, which examines problems reported in three-year-old vehicles, included Tesla for the first time in 2021. However, due to Tesla’s restrictions on data collection in some states, the study’s findings were limited. Tesla ranked 30th out of 33 brands, with a higher problem score than the industry average.
Tesla’s build quality has been a concern, as indicated by another J.D. Power study ranking Tesla lowest among 32 brands in the 2020 Initial Quality Survey.
Despite these challenges, Teslas remain popular. Owners express high satisfaction with their vehicles, with many models receiving top satisfaction ratings in the Consumer Reports study. Factors contributing to their popularity include enjoyable driving experience, comfort, and futuristic design.
While Tesla continues to work on its reliability issues, other electric and hybrid options are available that have fared better in reliability studies. These alternatives often share parts with traditional vehicles, potentially offering easier maintenance.
For those set on a Tesla, the Model 3 is recommended for its reliability. Prospective buyers should research specific model years for the best experience. Taking good care of the vehicle and adhering to maintenance schedules can also mitigate potential issues.