Hybrids & Electrics

Can You Even Buy a Used Tesla?

It’s no secret that media and mystery are integral elements of the Tesla marketing strategy. Between Twitter and surprise announcements, Elon Musk continues keeping EV consumers on their toes when it comes to buying a Tesla product. I mean, really. Can you even buy a used Tesla?

When it comes to buying a used car, mystery isn’t exactly something you want to come across while researching different vehicles for sale. On Tesla’s website, there’s (of course) a designated web page for browsing used Tesla cars. However, if you browse the used Tesla inventory, you’ll soon see that the used vehicles aren’t even shown with actual photos of the used cars themselves.

In fact, they are all production photos. Each used Tesla model is shown as if it’s new. There’s not much in the way of a detailed history. Although it should be said that the company does put each vehicle through an inspection. In addition, if you buy a used Tesla from Tesla then it comes with a used vehicle warranty.

The new Tesla Model Y is introduced onn March 14, 2019, in Los Angeles is now on the short list for buyers of used EV
2019 Tesla Model Y | Hannes Breustedt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Buying a used Tesla

If you click on the ‘view details’ of a used Tesla model in the used car inventory on the Tesla website, you can navigate through several details. One of them being a cosmetic imperfection disclaimer. If you buy a used Tesla via Tesla, your used car may come with dents, scratches, or rock chips. But you won’t know what they are, where they are, or how bad until you actually purchase your used Tesla.

A dark-red 2020 Tesla Model S is displayed during the London Motor and Tech Show at ExCel on May 16, 2019, in London, England
2020 Tesla Model S | John Keeble/Getty Images

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This is an undeniably successful company. But this just seems a bit extreme. Why keep consumers in the dark when it comes to the specific used Tesla they want to purchase? This practice doesn’t make a tone of sense, and could understandably cause potential buyers to feel uncomfortable.

Certainly, we understand that there are still standards. The scratches can’t be longer than an inch, the dents not larger than 0.5.” Plus, rock chips can’t exceed 1 inch. There can be tire wear or signs of use in the interior. This is certainly all par for the course for used car buying. Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that Tesla at least ensures that used vehicles are not sold if they have structural damage affecting performance.

Buying a used Tesla, but not from Tesla

According to Green Car Reports, there are better ways to buy a used Tesla. Rich Benoit is considered a Tesla expert. He operates independently of Tesla as a mechanic, repairing and rebuilding salvaged models. In the video, he offers some buying advice to potential buyers of used Tesla models.

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Benoit warns that there are some things buyers of used Tesla models should know going into it. For example, Autopilot is tied to the original owner and can be deactivated by Tesla. Plus, exterior badging can be added and shouldn’t be trusted.

The Tesla Model 3 is the fastest-selling car in the U.S. and also appeals to used car buyers
Tesla Model 3 | VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Overall, there are ways to find good used Tesla models. Though it doesn’t seem to be easy. Still, while Tesla won’t haggle you may actually find a great deal from someone that can work with you a bit on the price. If you are looking for a used Tesla for sale, Benoit recommends a Tesla Model 3 as the best used Tesla deal.