How does buying a used Tesla work

Buying a used Tesla: What to look out for

More and more Teslas are on the streets of Austria: between January and July 2020, 1,442 cars of the US brand were newly registered in this country. The market for used Tesla models is also growing, with 381 used Teslas registered in the first seven months of the year. Just like cars with combustion engines, used electric vehicles are also significantly cheaper - in addition to the standard issues that need to be considered when buying a used car, there are some points that require very specific attention to be paid to electric vehicles. At Teslas, other aspects can also come into play. Here you can find out what to look out for when buying a used Tesla.

From the battery to the brakes: In this article, we have summarized for you the 7 points to consider when buying a used electric car. Here we are therefore only concerned with the peculiarities of Tesla models.

Free Supercharger usage

Free fast charging at special Tesla charging stations, so-called superchargers, was a key selling point in the brand's earlier days. This “candy” has meanwhile been abolished, then partially reintroduced, and then largely abolished again - it remains to be seen how the situation with new cars will develop in the future. However, it is also not certain that the free use of Supercharger will remain included in the used cars that were originally sold with this option. This option does not apply to Teslas that are returned used to the company and resold directly by the company. However, if you buy the model of your choice from a private person or a used car dealer, the free use of Supercharger may still be included - the circumstances should be checked individually here. Depending on how much you drive, the free shop can justify a slightly higher purchase price.

Buy used Tesla from Tesla

Tesla also offers used vehicles that it has checked itself; the current offers can be found under this link on the Tesla website. All cars must undergo an in-depth inspection before being offered for resale. However, it is often the case that no used models are available in the selected region.

Of course, there are also numerous offers from private individuals or used car dealers; one of the largest used car platforms currently (as of September 2020) advertises around 115 Teslas across Austria.

Standard checks that are a must for every used car purchase, of course also apply to Teslas. You can find our detailed guide on this topic here.


Depending on the age and mileage at the time of purchase, used Teslas may still have a manufacturer's guarantee. If you buy a used car directly from Tesla, you will also receive a used car guarantee for the S and X models if they are less than 4 years old at the time of handover by Tesla and have less than 80,000 km of mileage, or an extended used car guarantee if the car is between Is 4 and 6 years old or has driven between 80,000 km and 160,000 km.

Video: Known Vulnerabilities

At Teslas, depending on the model, there are some characteristic weaknesses that should be checked before buying a used car. This includes any damage to the panoramic glass roof, the functionality of the sunroof, brakes & parking brakes, fogged headlights or the loss of coolant. YouTuber Rich Rebuilds shows some of the typical vulnerabilities that are common at Tesla.

Touch screen

A known problem with older Tesla Model X and S is yellow discolored display edges. This is also known to the manufacturer, in 2019 a device was developed that removes the discoloration using UV light. These devices are now also available in European service centers.

Software updates

Tesla updates the software and firmware in its vehicles via over-the-air updates, i.e. via mobile communications. This also applies to used cars.

Software functions / autopilot

At Tesla, some autopilot functions cost extra, even if the necessary hardware is already installed as standard. If you order a new car, you can choose whether you want to use it when you buy it and pay several thousand euros for it. As reports from the USA show, however, it is possible that these functions will be deactivated again after the used vehicle has been sold: Jalopnik reports of a buyer who bought a Model S from a used car dealer who in turn bought it directly from Tesla. At the auction, it was stated that the car had the extended autopilot and "full potential for autonomous driving" - options totaling $ 8,000. With a software update, these functions were deactivated without warning after the resale. When asked, Tesla stated that the new owner would have to pay again for the functions if he wanted to use them. In a US Tesla forum, other users report similar experiences. Although no such case is known from Europe, you should have the functionality included in the price confirmed in writing when buying a Tesla.

Variants & range of functions

With regard to the equipment, the drive, the battery as well as the hardware and software there can be serious differences in the same Tesla model. You should therefore always check carefully whether the used car in question really has all the functions you want, and test them as part of a test drive.

Electric car market overview: All E-cars in Austria at a glance, with Ranges, Prices and Test reports

Experience report: From 170,000 to 240,000 kilometers with a used Tesla Model S.

YouTuber Branden Flasch has finally fulfilled his dream of his own Tesla in 2019 - with a used Model S with 106,000 miles (approx. 170,000 kilometers) on the speedometer. One year and 44,000 miles after the purchase, the American describes his experience with the used Tesla.

After the purchase, Flasch boasts that he has bought the cheapest Tesla with all-wheel drive and autopilot in the entire United States - but he does not reveal how much he had to pay for the used Model S. To do this, it documents the condition of the Tesla after 170,000 kilometers and also shows some places that show signs of wear - but this is quite normal for a car with this mileage. In the video above, the YouTuber describes what else you should pay attention to and what experiences he has had with the electric car with the considerable mileage - the 38 minutes are definitely well invested for potential used Tesla buyers.