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Buying A Used Tesla. All You Need To Know

The demand for electric cars, especially Tesla vehicles, is at an all-time high. It’s easy to see why so many buyers ditch gas-powered cars in favor of greener, environmentally-friendly alternatives.

The EV industry is still recovering from the COVID pandemic, which caused many automakers to temporarily shut down their assembly lines. Tesla was no exception. Today, the California-based manufacturer is working hard to meet the skyrocketing demand. More buyers choose to go for a used model, rather than a brand new unit.

That’s why we created a handy buyer’s guide to purchasing your first second-hand Tesla. Note that many of the points listed below can be applied to other used EVs, too.

The blog post is divided into 5 different sections to keep in mind when buying a used Tesla. You can quickly jump to each section by clicking the links below.

Advantages Of Buying A Used Tesla

Long Waiting Time For A New Unit

Without a doubt, the waiting time is one of the worst aspects of buying any brand new vehicle. The waiting times vary depending on the manufacturer and the model you pick. New Tesla owners may have to wait as long as 6 months before their EV is ready!

According to Screen Rant, the waiting time between delivery and pick-up is anywhere between 1 and 6 months, depending on the Tesla model. While that’s not too bad when compared with other EVs on the market, it’s still quite a long wait. What Car reports that the average waiting time for a brand new EV in the United Kingdom is around 3 months (as of mid-2020).

Naturally, many buyers would rather be able to drive off the lot in their vehicles instead of having to wait. When purchasing a used vehicle, you receive the keys directly after signing the paperwork- no wait required!

Used Cars Are Cheaper

Attractive price tags are yet another factor to consider when purchasing a Tesla, or any other electric car. Most owners of new cars should expect their vehicles to lose a chunk of their value virtually as soon as they drive out of the dealership.

A Tesla automobile will lose over 20% of its sticker price within the first two years of driving off the lot. According to Car Edge, three-year-old Teslas typically offer the best value when it comes to depreciation. Between the third and fourth year of ownership, a Tesla should lose a small percentage of its value, followed by a similar drop in the next year.

If you buy a three-year-old Tesla and sell it within the following three years, you should get the best deal depreciation-wise.

Tesla Warranty On New And Used Vehicles

Below, you’ll find all of the information regarding the warranty provided by Tesla on both new and used vehicles.

New Vehicle Warranty

You should ensure whether the Tesla you’re after is still covered by the automaker’s warranty. The basic warranty provided by Tesla is good for either 4 years or 50 000 miles on the clock, whichever comes first.

Note some components of the vehicle, such as the battery pack and the drive unit itself, has an extended warranty. Depending on the model, it lasts for up to 8 years and between 100-150 000 miles, given that the battery still retains at least 70% of its original capacity.

Buyers can also opt for an extended warranty. Double-check whether the Tesla you’re looking at has the warranty you desire.

Used Vehicle Warranty

If you decide to purchase your used Tesla directly from the automaker (more on that below), you’ll be happy to hear that there is an additional warranty offered by Tesla.

First of all, owners of used Teslas can make the most out of the remainder of the standard 4-year/50 000-mile warranty that the car originally came with. After that, Tesla throws in an extended warranty that provides coverage for another year or 10 000 miles, whichever comes first.

Moreover, some components are covered for a longer period of time. Tesla provides a lifetime warranty for the sheet metal that the car’s made out of, as well as a 4-year warranty for the wall connectors. The touchscreen is covered for either 2 years or 25 000 miles.

Which Tesla Model Should You Pick?

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

The Tesla lineup has unarguably grown over the last few years. Buyers can choose from a variety of different vehicles, ranging from the Model S sedan to the practical Model X SUV, or the upcoming Tesla Roadster sports car. Whether your main focus is a long range, practicality, or spectacular performance, Tesla has the right vehicle to suit your needs.

Continue reading to find out which model in Tesla’s S 3 X Y lineup may be the right pick for you.

Tesla Model S

This could be considered Tesla’s first game-changer, as it was the automaker’s first vehicle that has made it to mass-production. You could classify it as a big cousin of the Model 3.

Tesla Model 3

This is one of the most affordable Teslas available on the market. This 4-door sedan is one of the most practical electric cars. Many owners praise the long-range battery pack that’s ideal for lengthy trips, as well as the option to charge the battery in under an hour using a fast charger. The styling has also been updated, so the Model 3 is arguably one of the best-looking EVs money can buy.

According to Green Car Reports, a second-hand Model 3 is the best bang for your buck.

Tesla Model X

The Model X is Tesla’s flagship SUV. Some of its key features include distinctive styling, lots of space for both cargo and passengers, as well as the fact that it can accommodate up to 7 occupants. Note that many owners complain about the lack of headroom in the third-row seats.

Tesla Model Y

The Model Y is Tesla’s latest SUV. It’s arguably a more practical version of the Model X, as the Y can accommodate up to 7 passengers in total. Expect plenty of space and jaw-dropping performance figures, especially the higher trim levels. Note that the third-row seats are optional, not every unit comes equipped with them.

Purchase A Used Tesla Directly From The Automaker

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Tesla also offers the option to buy a second-hand vehicle directly from them. This may seem like the easy and risk-free way of purchasing a used electric car. That may not exactly be the case. Here’s why.

Tesla no longer has a certified pre-owned vehicle program, unlike most automakers. Instead, the company merely stores an inventory of used vehicles, and each one needs to pass a pretty basic inspection to be put on sale.

Furthermore, Tesla does not offer much information on their second-hand vehicles. In most cases, you’ll need to call the dealership and ask for details on the car’s condition, mileage, or even photos of the specific vehicle you wish to buy. It’s not exactly convenient, to say the least.

As this remains quite an overcomplicated process, many buyers prefer to purchase their used Teslas from private parties or auctions. In that case, note that you’ll have to do virtually all of the inspections yourself, to ensure you’re buying the Tesla of your dreams.

What You Need To Look Out For When Buying A Used Tesla

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

The time has finally come. You have found your perfect pick within the Tesla lineup, chose the most promising unit, and are on the way to check it out. Here are some key factors to look out for before you decide to pull the trigger and splash out on a Tesla.

Ensure All Of The Features Work Correctly

This may be a no-brainer, but be sure to take your time and test out all of the car’s features. What may seem like a decent unit on the outside may have issues with some of the equipment, such as the Autopilot system. Make sure that the vehicle’s parking sensors, blindspot warning systems, and other features all work as intended.

Inspect For Damages

Inspecting for damages may seem like the obvious thing to do when checking out any second-hand vehicle. Be sure to inspect the car visually, both inside and out, to ensure there are no unwanted damages. Some of the key issues that can prove to be expensive to repair include a cracked roof, or dents in the battery pack.

You should also note that Tesla vehicles aren’t exactly perfect, even when leaving the factory. This means that misaligned door panels, for example, don’t necessarily mean that the vehicle was crashed. Instead, it may have simply come out of the factory that way.

Double-Check The Variant

Although the Model 3 you’re looking at may have a P100D badge, it could be a dressed-up 75D. Access the vehicle information from the car’s infotainment system, to make sure that the trim level matches the badge. Otherwise, you may end up with a vehicle you did not want in the first place.

Though Tesla owners aren’t exactly infamous for putting on fake badges, you never know. It’s best to double-check and be safe.

Check The Condition Of The Battery

Naturally, you’ll want the battery pack to last as long as possible, as replacing it can be both difficult and expensive. The absolute best way would be to take the vehicle to a supercharger and fill it up all the way. You’ll clearly see the battery degradation.

Is AutoPilot Transferable?

Even though the EV you’re checking out may be equipped with AutoPilot, you’ll need to make sure whether it’s transferable. In some cases, Tesla may block this useful feature when the vehicle is reported as sold. Be sure to double-check with the current owner to avoid any misunderstandings.

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Kenneth Pohl
Co-founder & CEO of Movitronic

Kenneth has more than 10 years of experience in sales, mobility and technology.

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