Poke underneath a Tesla with its aero covers off and what you find might surprise you.

Since Teslas are 100 percent electric, you’d think you never have to deal with oil changes and would never find something like an oil filter attached to anything underneath. You’d be wrong because Teslas (at least the Model 3 and Y) do have oil filters. Although the motors aren’t full of oil, the gearbox with its single-speed transmission and differential is. Filtering that oil is a plain ol’ oil filter.

Here’s a closeup thanks to a Redditor.

Sandwiched on one end of the motor, the gearbox with single-speed transmission takes the raw power from the motor (or motors) and, through gear reduction and torque multiplication, transmits that power to the wheels.

Watch this video clip starting at 6:00 or a better idea of how it all works

To reduce friction and keep gears cool, all those gears are bathed in, presumably, quarts of synthetic oil. Although Tesla uses helical cut gears, friction reduction is not 100 percent and, during the life of the Tesla, through wear and tear, shavings of those gears will contaminate the oil. Those oil filters filter out all the metal shavings.

Tesla Model S and X owners used to require (1) gearbox drain and refill towards the beginning of their ownership to filter out those metal shavings. That’s no longer needed thanks to added oil filters on Model 3 and Y.

While some Tesla owners say you should change those filters every two years, a gear box oil and oil filter change is not in any of Teslas recommended Maintenance Service intervals (linked here.) This suggests those are lifetime oil filters, never needing changing.

Then again, Tesla has a part number {M3} 1095038-00-A for these oil filters, purchasable online.

Looking at these Tesla oil filters, they look pretty ordinary and are probably economy spec made by Wix, Honeywell, or Supertech by Walmart. Seeing how most of their usefulness comes during a narrow window of the total ownership of the Tesla, upgrading to a better filter would be unnecessary.

So yes, Teslas have oil filters, they just aren’t taxed as heavily as they would be in a regular car.

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