How To Find a Used Tesla for Cheap! 3 Steps

I get it! You just want to get your hands on a Tesla as quickly as possible. Teslas are getting more popular by the day and they cannot seem to be making the fast enough. With the ever-growing popularity, Teslas certainly don’t get any cheaper. Even on the second-hand market.

It seems like the delivery dates are years from now and getting longer and further away. So, how can you get a Tesla sooner and quicker than everyone else?

In this article, I cover 3 easy ways to find a Tesla at an affordable price. It might seem a bit obvious but there are some things to consider when using any of these.

1. Buy a Used Tesla From Tesla

If you buy a used Tesla directly from Tesla, you’ll get a one-year/10,000 miles (~16 093km) general warranty and the remainder of the eight-year warranty on the motor and battery. However, Tesla isn’t too much into selling used cars, so their used car inventory runs low, and going by their part exchange prices, most sellers choose to sell privately.

Tesla maintains a CPO program. They inspect their used cars for common issues and give warranties as well. However, they don’t refurbish used cars to look new.

In case you’ve never heard of the term “CPO” before, a CPO (certified pre-owned) car is sold by its manufacturer along with a certain guarantee and security. Since these vehicles come directly from their manufacturers, they tend to be more reliable than used Teslas from third parties.

Buy-Used-Tesla---Cheerful-Woman-Standing-By-Car-And-Using-Smartphone

Inspection

Tesla doesn’t sell used cars without checking their condition and roadworthiness. So, you can rest assured you’re getting a good deal buying a used Tesla directly from Tesla. The automaker performs a 70-point inspection on the following:

  • Powertrain system
  • Braking system
  • Safety restraints
  • Driver controls
  • Displays
  • Tires
  • Charging system
  • Exterior lighting

Tesla also performs other inspections as needed. Of course, a few cosmetic defects and issues may go under the radar, so you shouldn’t expect the car to be as perfect as a new one.

Did You Know?

Tesla doesn’t allow you to inspect the car before you buy it. They discontinued images on used car listings, so you’ll be purchasing the car without having seen it.

Tesla Warranty

In October 2020, Tesla changed its used car warranty from the previous four years/50k miles (~80 467km) down to one year/10k miles (~16 093km) on top of any warranty the car may still have. For example, if you’re buying a used car from Tesla with four months of the new vehicle remaining, Tesla will add 12 months, effectively extending your warranty to 16 months.

The same applies to mileage. If the car still has 10k miles (16093.44 km) remaining, Tesla will extend its warranty to 20k miles (32186.88 km).

Is Tesla’s Extended Warranty Worth It? I explained all the costs and benefits in this related article that I wrote. Check it out!

Specification Changes

After April 2017 Teslas don’t have transferable free supercharging. Before April 2017, the cars came with lifetime free supercharging. Tesla has started removing that on used vehicles, so you shouldn’t expect a used car from Tesla to have unlimited free supercharging.

All MS and MX came with lifetime premium connectivity until recently. The same is true for used cars. You shouldn’t expect lifetime premium connectivity on any Tesla except for a 30-day free trial.

Random Stat:

Tesla sold 963,000 cars globally in 2021 — an 87% jump from 2020 sales.

2. Buy a Used Tesla From an Independent Dealer

Independent dealers ensure the car is mechanically and structurally sound. They also do something extra: They make the car look attractive by addressing cosmetic issues. They offer a limited warranty, and if required by law, they offer an extended one for a fee.

Unlike with Tesla, you can inspect the car before buying it. However, there’s a risk here: The dealer may have purchased these cars from a Tesla auction and may still have autopilot, premium connectivity, and supercharging despite Tesla having discontinued them.

A dealer promising that these features are still available (and working) should do so in writing. Otherwise, you may encounter warranty (or worse, legal) issues.

3. Buy a Used Tesla From a Private Seller

This is risky if the car is still under the original warranty, except for checking if there’s financing on the vehicle, whether it’s accident-free, and the money exchange. Check the previous owner’s Tesla account for things like autopilot and supercharging.

This YouTube video shows what you should check before buying a used Tesla:

What You Should Check Before Buying a Used Tesla

Buying a used Tesla from a private seller might be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. 

Here are some things you need to check when buying a used Tesla from a private seller:

  • After covering 100,000 miles (160 934km), the car’s battery will have been replaced. The gap between replacements is essential. You’d want to avoid a vehicle where you have to replace the battery immediately after purchase. 
  • Check the braking system.
  • Check the car’s true range. Degradation poses a potential risk for older high-mileage cars still running on their original batteries.
  • Check how many times the drive unit has been replaced.
ItemLifespanReplacement cost
Batteries300,000 to 500,000 miles (482 803 to 804 672 km)$16,000 (For Model 3)
Braking system100,000 to 150,000 miles (160 934 to 241 401 km) (For Model S)About $400 (brake calipers)
Tires 30,000 miles (48 280 km)$1,400 for 4 tires
This table shows Tesla parts lifespan and approximate replacement costs

Random Fact:

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Tesla models S and X have the lowest and 2nd lowest injury risks. Model 3 is the safest car ever built.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Cheapest Way To Buy a New Tesla?

The cheapest way to buy a new Tesla is from Tesla’s website. You can buy a new rear-wheel-drive Tesla base Model 3 for $48,190.

How Long Do Teslas Last?

Teslas last between 300,000 to 500,000 miles (482 803.2 to 804 672 km) or approximately 21 to 35 years, based on the average miles covered by the average American.


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.