What to Look for When Buying a Used Tesla

What to Look for When Buying a Used Tesla

In this guide, we will be telling you everything you need to know about and what you should look out for when buying a used Tesla. One thing about Tesla is that once you get into it, you immediately understand why you should ditch your petrol and diesel cars in order to have this incredible experience.

Tesla is the car of the future, and the only thing that should hold you back is probably the expensive price of the vehicle. Well, there's some good news as you can buy used Teslas with as much as a 40% discount for a new version. So, if you're looking to buy a used Tesla, this guide is just for you. 

But wait… Is a used Tesla what you really need right now? This is a question that is worth asking but what you should really consider is if you can really afford a brand new Tesla as an alternative. For around $49,000, you can purchase a new Tesla. This means that you will be getting the basic Tesla battery and trim that comes with next to no options. However, whether or not you're going for a Tesla with options, it is simply a more preferable option than getting to purchase a Tesla that has already been used and abused by someone else. With the new Tesla vehicles, you will find upgraded hardware, as well as small bug fixes which make them more superior to previously released Teslas.

Buying a used Tesla

One statement that you always hear with respect to Teslas is that they never get old. This is due to the fact that they are always updated over the air (OTA). Yes, your car can receive brand new features from time to time with an internet connection. Also, with respect to the hardware, there are some changes too. For example, the autopilot update which was released is only functional on vehicles that were produced towards the end of 2014 or later.

Changes that are made to Tesla hardware are totally different when compared to most cars which just come with standard elements for every car produced during that period. In order to know what to expect from a used Tesla that you intend to buy, you need to check out its VIN which usually ends with P#####. You will get to see 5 digits which simply tell you in what order your vehicle was manufactured. For example, the number 25,612 means that it is the 25,612th Model produced.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the digits are, the better for you. For example, the Model S began production in 2012. Being the first of its kind, some glitches had to be improved on. Since then, fixes have been made, but the cars that we see now from Tesla are inherently more improved and have a higher standard. As a way of letting you understand the period when a car was produced, digits that fall between 28000 to 29000 are the intersection between Models produced in 2013 and Models produced in 2014. 

With 2013 and 2014 as an example, you can calculate when in the order of production your model was produced by taking the number of Teslas produced in each subsequent year and then extrapolating out from there to get a rough idea of where your VIN places your vehicle manufacture timeline. You can also look into historical records or recalls and know Tesla issues to determine whether your used Tesla will be problematic or not.

With respect to hardware changes, some considerations you should make are highlighted below:

Parking sensors

Unlike many SUVs, the Model S is quite long. So, you require some help with parking. The car comes with a backup camera on its screen that measures 17 inches; however, one other important feature is the parking sensors. Prior to early 2015, the parking sensors were totally optional but have since become a standard feature.

Autopilot

It wasn’t until late 2014 in that we got to see the autopilot hardware. For a fee, original buyers can have their car equipped with the autopilot option.

AWD

For people that reside in colder regions, you’ll love this option which wasn't available until 2014 began to climax.

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)

Beginning in 2015, the Certified Pre-owned program of Tesla was launched which gave interested buyers a place where they could source for used Teslas that have premium quality. Since then, it has been a success as billions of dollars worth of used Tesla's have been sold. The experiences of the CPO buyers have been inconsistent so far as the program happens to be working out some kinks. You can simply go to ev-cpo.com to take a look at some of the used Teslas. 

If you're really serious about buying a used Tesla, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Come up with a comprehensive list of every feature that you feel is important for the car you intend to buy such as color, sound system, and air suspension.
  • Buy an EV-CPO subscription and go through the historical data to search for cars that match. With this, you'll be able to figure out how much is expected of you.
  • Next, activate email alerts to inform you of matching cars as soon as the market is supplied with a car that matches your criteria.
  • Keep in mind that the best deals do not stay on the database for long. So, and idea is to connect with a Tesla dealership personnel in order to receive first-hand info. 
  • You probably are considering whether location matters in this case. Well, in the event that you have a Tesla for sale in your area, you’ll get the opportunity to drive the car. However, if you stay in a different area, you’ll need to take the risk but keep in mind that Tesla set specific criteria and standards which CPO vehicles must meet. This means that you’ll be getting a car that is very certified and approved for resale by Tesla.

This is not to say that everything that has occurred through the CPO program has always been perfect. During the early days of the program, there were customers that expressed dissatisfaction with respect to the Teslas they eventually got. In the event that you find something that you take an interest in but happen to be in an area that is far away from you, all you have to do is contact a Tesla representative to supply you with pictures and videos of the vehicle. Then again, another idea is to take a trip to the location and if everything checks out, you can make a return road trip out of it.

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