The fabled Tesla Roadster—it’s about as iconic as a car can get—and it’s also about fragile as it is iconic…

There are many problems that aging Tesla Roadsters have, but the biggest, and most notorious problem, is with the battery pack.

These packs are prone to failing as they age due to the older chemical composition of the battery, and other components that are sensitive to heat and not being fully (or frequently charged).

Due to this inherent fragility, it’s not uncommon to see Tesla Roadsters with bad (or “bricked”) battery packs. This is a major concern when buying a used Tesla Roadster, particularly if it hasn’t been charged in a long time or properly maintained (sitting uncharged is terrible for Roadsters).

While we have another article on Tesla battery replacement costs, we wrote this article to focus specifically on Tesla Roadster battery issues (which are quite extensive and deserve their own post).

And as a side note—if you haven’t heard of Gruber Motors in Phoenix, AZ, they are quite literally the world’s authority on Tesla Roadster batteries, and we’ll be giving them a proper shout out throughout this article!

With that said, let’s jump in and look at the cost to repair and replace Tesla Roadster batteries!

Why Do So Many Tesla Roadsters Have Battery Pack Issues?

Tesla Roadsters are unique and iconic vehicles, that quite literally launched the company, but they were never really meant to be produced at scale (fun fact: they aren’t even supposed to get wet!).

There are several reasons why Roadster batteries tend to go bad or age poorly vs. newer Tesla batteries like those found in Model 3 and Y:

Older Battery Chemistry: The Tesla Roadster was equipped with an older generation of lithium-ion batteries that used cobalt oxide in the cathode, which is less stable over many charge cycles compared to newer materials like nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) or lithium iron phosphate (LFP) used in more recent models. This older chemistry is more susceptible to capacity loss over time.

Inefficient Battery Charging Systems: The original Roadster’s battery management system didn’t have the same advanced features found in newer Tesla models, which optimize battery health through things like more refined charge balancing and temperature management. The lack of these sophisticated systems can lead to uneven wear and tear across the battery cells.

Thermal Management Problems: The Roadster’s thermal management system was not as advanced as those in newer models. Effective thermal management is critical for maintaining battery health, as excessive heat can accelerate battery degradation. The Roadster’s system may not be as effective at keeping the battery at an optimal temperature during high loads or in varying environmental conditions.

Limited Regenerative Braking Optimization: While the Roadster did feature regenerative braking, which helps in recapturing energy and reducing wear on the battery during braking, the efficiency and optimization of this system have significantly improved in later models. The original Roadster’s system might not be as effective in minimizing the battery strain during vehicle deceleration.

Components Sensitive to Age and Environment: The older Tesla batteries had many components that are sensitive to age and environmental changes compared to newer packs which can withstand much more abuse.

Tesla Roadster Battery Pack – Issues & Replacement Costs

Now let’s take a look at what can be done (from cheapest to most expensive) to fix a bad or bricked Tesla battery pack, and how much each option costs.

1) Gruber Motors Level 1 Recovery

This is the first line of therapy in trying to resuscitate a bricked Tesla battery pack, and costs about $1,895 (not including the cost to ship your Roadster to Gruber and insure it throughout the process).

The Level 1 Recovery is basically their proprietary version of an extended trickle charge, specifically developed for the Tesla Roadster. This can be effective in unbricking battery packs that aren’t too far gone or have been more recently charged.

2) Individual Battery Sheet Replacement

Gruber has another option, if Level 1 Recovery fails, where they can drop the battery pack ($3,600 drop fee) and replace individual sheets at a cost of $3,200 per sheet (there are 11 sheets total, and they’ve never had to replace all 11). However, this is quite time-consuming and most importantly, the sheets are no longer produced and are quite hard to come by (hence the cost). This can be expensive, and often times, there aren’t enough sheets available to fix an entire battery pack.

3) Full Battery Pack Replacement

If options 1 and 2 don’t work, then the Roadster will need a full battery pack replacement. While Gruber can replace the pack, the packs themselves have to come from Tesla, and they cost $40,000 (plus tax), and there’s about a 6-month wait time as they are hand made (not made on an assembly line like newer packs). This is often the case for Roadsters which haven’t been charged in a long time (multiple years).

The costs mentioned above also don’t include diagnostic and storage costs, and other miscellaneous costs as well.

Power Electric Module – Common Problems & Repair Pricing

The Power Electric Module (PEM) is vital for managing the flow of electrical power in the Tesla Roadster, ensuring efficient energy conversion from the battery to the motor. Common issues with the PEM include heat damage, which can degrade components over time, regular wear and tear, and voltage irregularities that may lead to erratic vehicle behaviors or decreased efficiency. Symptoms indicating PEM problems can range from reduced driving range and power fluctuations to warning lights or error messages on the vehicle’s dashboard.

Repairing the PEM is often a more cost-effective choice compared to replacement. Gruber Motors offers a proprietary repair service for around $5,000, which includes diagnosing and fixing the module to restore optimal functionality, including some of their proprietary updates to the PEM. In contrast, replacing the PEM through Tesla can be significantly more expensive and varies depending on the model and damage extent. Opting for repairs not only saves money but also extends the module’s life and contributes to sustainability by minimizing waste.

Other Common Issues with Older Tesla Roadsters

Older Tesla Roadsters, being pioneering vehicles in the electric car space, are susceptible to a variety of common issues that owners should be aware of. One frequent problem is related to the aging of physical components such as the convertible top mechanism and door handles, which may experience failures due to regular wear and tear.

Electrical problems aside from the battery pack and PEM are also not uncommon, including failures in the lighting system and the dashboard display, which are crucial for safe driving and vehicle operation monitoring. Battery connections themselves and wiring may deteriorate over time, leading to power delivery issues and impacting overall vehicle performance.

These issues are addition to hydraulics, bushings, shocks (which are commonly bad on Roadsters), and other issues that affect non-electric cars as well as electric cars.

Owning a Tesla Roadster is not for the financially faint of heart. The truth is that It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix some of these issues in a Tesla Roadster, and this doesn’t even include the battery pack issues.

Who Can Fix a Tesla Roadster with Battery Issues or Other Problems?

While Tesla does have service centers across the country (and the world), we recommend Gruber Motors in Arizona for all Roadster issues.

Pete Gruber and his team are quite literally the worldwide experts on Tesla Roadsters, and have developed a number of proprietary and innovative methods for fixing and modifying these cars in a way that solves even some of Tesla’s own engineering flaws.

If you have a problem with your Roadster, seriously, send it to Gruber.

How Long Will Tesla Support the Original Roadster?

The original Tesla Roadster holds an iconic status in the automotive world, not only as Tesla’s first electric vehicle but also as a symbol of innovation and ambition. This status was further cemented when Elon Musk famously launched a Roadster into space, underscoring its emblematic significance to Tesla’s brand.

Given its historical importance and the buzz it continues to generate—especially with the anticipation surrounding the upcoming new Roadster model—Tesla is unlikely to withdraw support for the original Roadster anytime soon.

This enduring commitment is expected to play a strategic role in Tesla’s marketing efforts as they leverage the classic Roadster’s legacy to promote newer models.

Where Can I Find a Used Tesla Roadster for Sale?

On Find My Electric of course! We’re the #1 used EV marketplace on the web, with new Teslas added daily and there’s no better place to find a used Tesla Roadster anywhere!

And of course, if you’re looking to sell your Tesla Roadster, we can help you with that too! Just sign up, and create your listing in minutes!