February 13

2018 Tesla Model 3 Cabin Air Filter Replacement

Tesla

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Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Remarkable Speaking. I'm here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience, and we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: So a bit of a unique vehicle today. A Tesla Model 3 2018 that had a cabin filter issue. What was going on with this vehicle?

Well, not so much an issue, it was just due for replacement. Vehicle has in the high 90,000 kilometre mileage. So yeah, the cabin air filter was due for replacement. We did a few other maintenance items on this vehicle, which we'll feature in some other podcasts. But for now we'll just talk about the cabin air filter replacement. 

Mark: And sort of job is this filter replacement? 

Bernie: You know, really not that difficult, but a little more work than some vehicles. You know, a lot of vehicles, you can pop the glove box open and there's a little, well, you remove, basically remove the glove box, but they make it easy to do that on many vehicles.

And you can pull a glove box down. There's a little door you pull the cabin air filter out. It doesn't take very long. This is a little more involved. There's some side panels to remove. I'll just actually show you a couple of pictures, but basically there's some side panels to remove and then the filter's a little more buried, a little less easy than it could be. There could be some engineering changes made to make it a little easier. 

Mark: How often does this need to be done? 

Bernie: Well, Tesla doesn't really have an actual timeframe. Actually here's a view of the vehicle. Just do a couple pictures and I'll then get into that. So there's our Model 3. This is a dual motor long range model.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Cabin Air Filter Replacement
2018 Tesla Model 3 Cabin Air Filter Replacement

There's a view of the cabin air filter box. So this is looking from the passenger side of the vehicle with the cover. There's a piece of, like a sort of a carpeted plasticized trim that goes on the side of the console and that needs to be removed. And behind there is the heater, air conditioning box. Inside of the cabin air filters, and there's a cover plate that sort of goes, if you see my mouse pointer moving around, that's where the filter box goes. Sorry, where the cabin air filters go. There's a cover plate that goes over top, which I've already removed, and the arrow points to the cabin air filters that are located, there's two of them. 

So one pulls out, then there's another one below that pulls out. They put these paper tabs on them to remove them. How often you, you were asking Mark how often it needs to be replaced. Mm-hmm. I mean, generally every two to three years is a good time to replace cabin air filters on any vehicle.

And Tesla is basically the same. That would be the recommendation that we have. I don't believe Tesla actually has a specific amount of time that needs to be replaced. You know, their maintenance schedule doesn't have too much in it because of being an EV car, but there are other things that need to be done from time to time on these cars.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Cabin Air Filter Replacement

So let's look at a couple other pictures. So there's a comparison. These are our new cabin air filters. You can see they're very white and clean. These are carbon impregnated filters. So they reduce odours. These are the old filters. You can see a lot of dirt. This is obviously the lower filter where the leaves and more dirt accumulates.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Cabin Air Filter Replacement

And there's a close up view of that filter. You can see a fair bit of dirt in there. We change a lot of cabin air filters. Sometimes they look an awful lot worse than this, but this one's quite dirty and, you know, 93,000 kilometres and it's a 2018 model. I guess we're looking, you know, the vehicle's about four years old at this. So that's, Time to change. Time to change. Yep. 

Mark: So this is for, I'm imagine since Tesla's mostly are serviced by Tesla. This is a little bit unusual, but you've worked on a few Teslas along the way, and you guys are now certified in this, aren't you? 

Bernie: We are, well, I'd like to use the word certified cautiously because we're not certified by Tesla, but we do have Tesla's diagnostic platform. So we can do full repairs, full maintenance on a Tesla. You know, I am certified in doing EV repairs. So I guess that kind of fits the bill. So I mean there are a lot of these cars on the road and we're really starting to see them now.

 For most cars the sort of pattern is, you know, the vehicle warranty is usually three to four years on the sort of overall warranty. A lot of Teslas are way beyond that. Teslas for the most part, like the batteries and motors are about eight years on a lot of them. They vary from model to model. But if we look at a lot of early Model Ss, those are all past eight years. So there are many of these cars out of warranty now. And so I expect we'll see lots of them, especially in Vancouver. There are just tons of these cars around, like they're, I don't know, there might be 5% of the cars in the road are Tesla's, which is a lot.

Mark: So what kind of services do you offer? 

Bernie: Well, there's a variety of maintenance services that these vehicles need. Of course any repairs that are needed, we can do those. But for service, some of the things on the Tesla, brake fluid flushes. And we'll feature these in upcoming podcasts.

But flushing brake fluid every two to three years is important to do. Cleaning and servicing the brakes is important. The brakes don't wear much in this car. For example, we measured the brakes, the front brake pads are about nine millimetres, which is, you know, practically brand new.

They're starting to develop some rust on the rotors, which again we can discuss. But, you know, EVs, the braking is mostly done through the electric motor. So the brakes are used very little, and they could last, I mean, 500,000 kilometres, a million maybe. , if you don't clean and service 'em, they will get corroded. They will get gummed up and damaged, especially if you drive in an area with road salt. Vancouver's not too bad. We don't use too much salt, but if you drive an area with road salt, that servicing is really important. So that's one of the bigger things.

There are cooling systems and the flues do need to be changed every once in a while, and we'll talk about that more in a further podcast. There's actually oil in the motors as well. So that doesn't need to be changed. But nothing is under the same stress as an internal combustion engine. So the maintenance intervals are much longer. And it's a little more forgiving than if you, you know, miss an oil change on an internal combustion engine. You might well contribute to the death of that motor. Premature death of that motor. 

Mark: And how reliable are Tesla Model 3s? 

Bernie: Well, I think they're quite reliable. I can't say that we see lots, we don't get 'em towed in to our shop because they're you know, still under warranty. So any ones that have problems, we don't see them yet. So I would kind of rely more on what you find on the internet to check on reliability. But overall I'd say it's a very reliable car and based on the minimal amount of maintenance, it's a good investment for that point of view. I think, you know, EV's, the best part of 'em is the simplicity.

Mark: So if you're looking for service for your out of warranty, or you just want an alternative to Tesla looking after it, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them on their website, pawlikautomotive.com. You can book right there. They'll call you, they'll find out what's going on. They'll get ready for your service appointment. Or you can actually phone them (604) 327-7112 and book your appointment. You have to call and book. They're always busy. Very popular place. Best Auto Service in Vancouver. Period. Multiple time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. And thank you so much for watching and listening. Thank you, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. And thanks for watching and listening. We appreciate it.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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