Does Tesla Take Trade-Ins? 10 Important and Basic Questions

When I traded in my Tesla, I wanted to be 100% sure that I’m doing everything right, as is my nature. I had a lot of questions and found it frustrating not having the basic answers all in one place and from one trusted source.

This gave me a good idea to do the research, write everything down from my experience and save you from the pain of having to find everything. And since I am an EV Blogger this made sense to do. So, take your sweet time and carefully read through all the info that is provided in this article.

Let’s start off with the most obvious question:

1. How Do You Trade-in A Tesla?

As with almost any car trade, everything must be done accordingly and in the proper manner. The paperwork must be done online, and the right procedures must be followed. There is no direct link that you can click on to jump to the trade-in part of the process. So, how do you apply for a Tesla trade-in?

The first thing would be to place your reservation. Once you do that you will be able to enter and apply for financing, registration, and apply your trade-in for an evaluation! You’d have to place your reservation first for trade-in evaluation this way. From there Tesla can get you an accurate offer for your vehicle.

Tesla-Trade-In-Basics
Once you’ve completed these few steps the hardest part is over. You can leave it in the capable hands of the Tesla representative. He/she will communicate with- and guide you throughout the trade-in process for the next 30 odd days; until your new car is in your hands and your old car in theirs.

2. Why do People Trade-in their Teslas?

Many first-time Tesla owners are very unsure of what they should do when they eventually want to sell their Teslas. Though most first-time Tesla owners elect to just get a new one, the questions remain: Should you Trade-in with Tesla and why do people do it?

Most people seem to trade in their Teslas with Tesla for convenience’s sake. The application process and dealing with the same company throughout does make the whole process seamless. While Tesla does often give lowball offers, other competing used car retailers also do the same from time to time.

The offer that you get from Tesla can be hit-and-miss. You’ll just have to wait and see what you get. You can always go to another company if you feel that you can get a better price.

Overall, the process of trading in is an easy and convenient way of getting rid of your old Tesla. While Tesla is often struggling with general service and communication issues before the trade-in takes place, they still know more about your car (if it is a Tesla) than most other companies.

By the way, I wrote a related article called Does Tesla Look at Your Trade-In? This article has a complete checklist for you to use before delivery. Feel free to read it!

Tesla-Car-Inspection-Trade-In

3. Is It Easy to Trade-in a Tesla?

Tesla does offer a convenient trade-in program where you can apply your net trade-in credit towards your Tesla. You would simply drive your current vehicle to your nearest Tesla center on your delivery date and drive off in your new Tesla!

You will have the opportunity to upload your trade-in vehicle photos within your account to obtain the final trade-in offer and the net trade-in credit can be applied towards your new Tesla order! You will have access to this once you submit the $250 reservation.

Pro Tip: Should I factory reset my Tesla before trading it in?

If you’re trading in your Tesla to Tesla for a new car, make sure you do a factory reset before any possibility that it will be removed from your account. There might be a chance that the Tesla service team will not do the factory reset (they might forget or be negligent) and that all your personal information is still saved on the sold Tesla’s configuration. Just be sure that all your information is backed up somewhere before you do the factory reset.

4. How Easy is it to Trade-in a Tesla?

Tesla tries to keep their whole car buying process easy, down to the trade-in. After placing your order, you will have the option to enter your VIN for an estimate, and 14 days before delivery they will reach out to finalize an offer with you personally!

The day you take delivery, they drive off in your trade-in!

5. What Does Tesla Do with Trade-Ins?

Tesla effectively has two options:

1) If the traded-in car is an actual Tesla, they will most likely sell the car on their Trade-In Website. Before that, they will double-check the car to see if everything is in order by having it serviced at the nearest service center.

2) If the traded-in car is a non-Tesla, they will almost immediately drive the car off to the nearest auction house to have it sold at a small but reasonable profit. Tesla is not in the game to deal with ICE vehicles. They will want to get rid of the car as soon as possible.

I’ve also explained all the options in a related article called: Can You Negotiate a Tesla Trade-In Price? I found some interesting facts and tricks.

6. What condition does Tesla accept for a trade-in vehicle?

During your Tesla trade-in application, you will be asked if your current vehicle has any damage, scratch marks, or any other unusual issues. You will also be asked to provide photos of the vehicle’s exterior to prove your said statement. This forms part of the complete valuation process when Tesla comes back with an offer. So, will Tesla accept your damaged vehicle?

If your car has some damage and it is stated as such in the application process, Tesla should accept your trade-in vehicle under the most conditions. Tesla will thus offer you a deal that is reflected in the information you’ve provided. It is not exactly clear where Tesla draws the line.

Tesla will often have you take a picture of your vehicle in your account, so they can get to see the condition to help estimate the value. I’m not sure if it’s rejected, but the condition could affect the value for sure.

If you’re curious what Tesla would value your car on a Trade-in, they put their old site to value a trade in back up after it was removed a few years ago. You can now again get an instant quote from Tesla from www.tesla.com/tradein. From what I could see, the valued estimations are pretty accurate. You should always do due diligence and see if you can get a better price privately. But this is a good tool to value your trade-in value.

7. Can Tesla Reject a Trade-In?

Tesla has the right to reject a trade-in during two stages which are the Trade-In Application and the Delivery.

  1. During the trade-in application, Tesla will request certain information (like title images of the car) about your current car. The car that you want to trade in also must be in the same jurisdiction as the Tesla that you want to buy. Otherwise, Tesla will probably not accept the trade-in.
  2. During the delivery of your new Tesla and exchange of your trade-in, Tesla is most likely not going to look at any quality issues. After confirming ownership of your car, the Delivery Specialist will proceed with the trade-in, and the deal will be done and gone.

If Tesla does inspect any quality issues or non-reported damage while the trade-in process is happening, they might increase or decrease the trade-in value depending on the overall quality of your car.

The car also needs to be within 1,000 miles (they do sometimes increase this to 2,000 miles) of what you reported when applying for the trade-in. Otherwise, Tesla has the right to reject your Trade-In.

8. How Long Does Tesla Take to Approve a Trade-In?

If you’re in a hurry to get your trade-in deal done, it can be frustrating to wait for Tesla to approve the whole process. The times it takes can often vary, depending on a few factors such as paperwork (VIN, mileage, and ZIP code) and if the correct details are provided during the application process. So how quickly does Tesla approve a Trade-In?

After the application of your Trade-in, it can take a few days for Tesla to make you an offer. This depends on a few factors such as correct paperwork and if the car fits all of Tesla’s requirements. During delivery, Tesla will approve your Trade-In immediately if everything is in order.

9. How Long Does a Tesla Trade-in Process Take?

If your Tesla rep does decide to inspect your car during the trade-in, it can take a few minutes to check everything.

The chances are good that everything will get approved immediately if you’ve come this far during the whole process. The rep will swop cars with you and probably drive the car straight to their allotted auctioneers.

10. How Long Are Tesla Trade-Ins Good For?

There have been some conflicting stories of Tesla customers complaining that their trade-in offers and dates have either been canceled or postponed. This has led to some confusion in the Tesla community. So, how long does Tesla’s trade-in offer last?

Tesla will provide the most accurate trade-in value 3 weeks before your delivery appointment. It will stay valid up until that point. This trade-in offer will most often last up to 30 days if the trade-in has not taken place yet.

When that day comes, you’ll drive your trade-in vehicle to our location, and drive away in your new Tesla!


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Does Tesla Take Trade-Ins? 10 Important and Basic Questions 1
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.