Buying Used from Tesla - Pros and Cons

Buying Used from Tesla - Pros and Cons

"Tess" (2016 90D) joined our family today. We purchased her from Tesla out of their used inventory and I thought I'd give some pros and cons of the experience.

1) The used inventory had a great selection and we were able to choose the color (titanium, tan interior) and options (90D, subzero, clean history, etc.) that were important to us.
2) Communication was OK with our assigned sales person, and hi-res pictures arrived quickly.
3) There were two small rock chips and one parking lot door ding that I found. Otherwise, the car looks great and had been detailed.
4) The service people did a software update and helped get us set with the apps, etc.
5) Tess has 28K miles on her and so comes with a 4-year, 50K-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty. (Any car under 50K miles gets the 4-year/50K mile warranty. Above 50K, they get a warranty for 2-years or when they get to 100K miles.)
6) She is beautiful and a joy to drive! Given the acceleration, I am glad we no longer have teenagers in the house.

1) We were given a date for pick up that did not have a lot of flex in it. This is a problem for people who have jobs.
2) The amount due changed from yesterday, to this morning, to when we picked up the car this afternoon.
3) Though Tesla gave us a CARFAX report, they did not want to give us information about the car's service history. I finally sat down with a service rep who told me about the repairs Tesla did this calendar year. He claimed a system upgrade prevented him from seeing anything earlier. TESLA: You should tell people the service history of the vehicles they are buying.
4) We could not take the car for a test drive. The salesperson drove it with us in it and we noticed no problems. TESLA: Really? $50K+ for a car and you don't let people test drive it?
5) The sales and support people were OK but as a 60-year-old, I don't do the Hipster groove. TESLA: More age spread and some women in sales and service would be a plus.

Overall, I'm happy we bought the car from Tesla. The price was less than KBB and NADA said average private sale price would be, plus private sales don't give a warranty. Tesla could have be much more open and forthcoming with information about the vehicle's history and a visual inspection is insufficient in this price range.

Happy (dual) motoring,


Wilber | 20 novembre 2019

TonyB - Glad to hear you picked up the car and are happy with it. I too love that Titanium color, and it is hard to find! We had discussed a few things in another thread about buying used Teslas from Tesla.

A couple things i didnt mention. I bought my first Tesla in 2014. and over the years i have seen a gradual decline in the knowledge of sales and delivery folks at Tesla, so i dont expect as much these days. I think Tesla is trying to reduce costs in order to boost profitablity and have more flexibility for long term plans. Since, i believe in the mission and own TSLA long i am willing to accept lesser service these days in order to strenghten the company. Others have a right to disagree with me!

As for your Cons - I can certainly agree that pickup date should probably be more flexible. And did they really change the amount due twice in the last 24 hours? Was it significant? I would not be happy with that! I can see why Tesla would not want to take the time to discuss prior service. that can be time consuming and the delivery folks you are meeting with may not understand it well. My delivery person in October certainly didnt know alot about Model S! Since you are given a warranty, I think the warranty should be enough.

Yes, I think a test drive would be great. But hopefully you took a test drive at your local Tesla store, so you have some idea of how it drives. but, i tend to agree a test drive would be good. But this would certainly reduce the number of deliveries they could do each day. So, I can see why Tesla wouldnt want to take the time to do a test drive. I consider this downside as the trade-off for getting a good warranty with the car.

Happy motoring!

AERODYNE | 21 novembre 2019

It seems like your experience was overall very good, similar to mine last year.

I went to a SC a few months ago. I asked about prior work done on the car. They gave me a printout that showed a service plan was done by the prior owner, just blacked out his name on the paperwork, not very well, I might add..

Wilber | 21 novembre 2019

Tony - the more i think about it the more i agree that a test drive should be standard. If i had taken a test drive with the car i purchased a month ago i should have noticed the foul stale tobacco smell from the HVAC and rejected the car. Instead i have spent a frustrating month trying to get the car cleaned up.

I understand the reasons for Tesla sales/delivery with new cars to not have a test drive. A test drive of a demo at your local sales place should be sufficient. Because features are the same vintage and there has not been an intervening owner to damage the car.

With used Model Ss it is likely they dont have some significant features that new cars do, like dual drive, SAS, EAP, better seats, etc. AND, more importantly the car could somehow be damaged

But, what would be the process if a prospective buyer doesnt buy the car? Charge them a test drive/restocking fee? And, what about the $2k transport fee, if involved. I think there has to be some kind of significant fee involved in order to avoid 'tire kickers' who want to take a long test drive and ask lots of questions about features that a test drive of a new car would have answered. or someone who is unreasonable in rejecting a car for very minor stuff.

So, a messy situation. but, perhaps some costs of test drives could be built into the price of a used car? I would be willing to pay a little more in order to be able to do a test drive.

As the EV space gets more competitive for Tesla - Mercedes, Audi, and Polestar, i suspect Tesla will make some changes to improve customer experience.

TonyB.C120 | 21 novembre 2019

Regarding the change in price: It actually went *down* substantially. Who was I to argue? And then, to save us another trip up with a new cashier's check, the sales person got his manager's approval to take a personal check instead.

I would have liked to have gotten a print out of service work done but only got a short, verbal summary: air bag recall and a door handle replacement. CARFAX was clean and all recalls are listed as complete by NHTSA so with the 4-year warranty I was not too concerned.

Still, the test drive would have been nice and, if it had been longer, the low pressure in the tire that flashed up on my way home may have been discovered sooner.

Bottom line: We're pretty happy with the car and it's certainly several steps up from our 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 270,000 miles on it. Now if only I can get either the Leaf or the Volt to get out of the charging spaces at work this afternoon ...