Yes you read that correctly, you can change the oil in your Tesla Model 3, but it's not the engine oil you normally think of when changing oil in your ICE vehicles. Let me explain:
The electric motor (Drive Unit) in your Tesla uses oil to lubricate and cool the gear reduction and differential. The oil also acts as coolant to remove heat from the stator and rotor. These actions will degrade the oil making it less effective in lubrication. We have taken samples of the oil and sent them to Black Stone Labs for analysis. Once we get the results, we will update this blog.
We performed this oil change on a 2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance (Your results may vary if it's a different model/year)
The oil needed for the drive unit is Pentosin ATF 9. The oil filter part number is 1095038-00-A. There is one oil filter per drive unit. So get two filters if you got AWD.
First step to draining the oil is to remove the aero panels to gain access to the motor. Then disconnect the connector from the oil pump. Now remove the 8mm hex head fill plug. After there are two external torx bolts that needs to be removed on the oil pump. Carefully pry the oil pump out just enough to drain the oil. We recommend catching the used oil and measuring how much came out. In our case, the front motor drained 1.25 qts and the rear motor drained 2.25 qts of oil. We added the same amount of oil drained with fresh ATF 9 back into the motors. Make sure to tighten the fill plug. At the end, go into your car and use the MCU screen to navigate to a supercharger station. This will make the oil pumps engage and cycle the oil thru the system. Make sure their are no oil leaks on your driveway and you should be all set!
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