TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

A few things to know about buying a USED Model S...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Adventure S, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Adventure S

    Adventure S Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Crested Butte, CO
    I am awaiting delivery of my used 2013 Model S from Tesla! Here are a few things I learned in the buying process:


    Where to buy: If you buy used directly from Tesla, you get a 4 year/48k bumper to bumper warranty, and the prices seem competitive with other sellers. There are some available from used car dealers but it is astounding how little these dealers know about the car, so I decided to buy directly from Tesla.


    How to choose: The Tesla website currently has VERY fast turn over of the lower priced cars - they get snatched up quickly, often in under 24 hours. However, it’s very difficult to snatch one up because there is no information about the used condition of the car other than mileage. The website gives you the build information and mileage, but NO other information. Many of them have damage and require body repairs not yet made, and it is like pulling teeth to get specific information on the car. Usually, I could not get ANY information on the car in less than 24 hours, and several were purchased while I was still waiting to hear back about the car. I have been in contact with my local Tesla salespeople, as well as contacting the people at the location of the individual Tesla (NY, CA, etc). No one seems to have much information on any of these cars, and it takes days to get the information. That makes pouncing on a good deal impossible (or stupid, since you can reserve it online with $1000 before you know anything about it - if you change your mind, you have 72 hours to change your deposit to a different car, or forfeit the deposit).


    Website tip: the used car site is a search result based on model, location, color, etc., which is very slow to load. On my mac, going back to the search results from viewing a specific car took a LONG time. But holding down Shift-Command while clicking on a car opens it in a new tab without closing the search results, so going back is instantaneous.


    Drive Units: I learned late in the game that about 2/3rds of early (2013) Teslas need their drive units replaced! OMG!! Google it! Usually this is done for an increasing noise level, but also many failures. Fortunately they are all now warrantied for 8 years from original delivery. When choosing a car, you may want to inquire about the drive unit. I chose one that has a blown drive unit, so that it will be receiving a new drive unit, which should be an improvement over the original. Some reports are that they have cut the failure rate in half? I wonder if that improvement applies to my “new” drive unit or not…?


    Warranty: There are two warranties on these cars: the drive train warranty (battery, motor, whole drive unit) which is 8 years/unlimited mileage from the original date of delivery (regardless of owner turnover), and also a 4 year/48,000 mi warranty that is bumper to bumper from the date of used purchase. Pretty awesome!


    Delivery date: the website lists the year of the car but not the delivery date. Since the drive warranty is based on the delivery date, not the year, you need to know that date. A car delivered in January has almost a year less warranty remaining than one delivered in December, even though they are the same model year. Make sure you ask your sales person the delivery date. One clue online is the P-number. Each car listed has an identification number that usually starts with a P, then 5 digits. A salesperson told me those are the last 5 of the VIN number, and represent the serial number, ie P10000 would be the ten-thousandth Model S made. This can give you an idea of which cars are older and newer on the website.


    Charging/Dual chargers?: The standard home charger charges at about 25ish miles of range in an hour (mph), so about 10 hours at home to go from empty to full - no problem overnight. I expect to need to charge away from home where there are no superchargers. A minority of public chargers are J1772 and can charge about twice as fast as that, over 50 miles range per hour of charging, IF you have the Dual Charger option in your car (factory option, or they are available to be installed by Tesla for $2000). When I asked the salesperson about the dual charger I was told it wasn’t necessary. But I checked (plugshare.com) and found my usual driving route has two of these faster chargers. It will be alot nicer to stop for 30 minutes than for an hour if I need an extra 25 miles of range!! Bottom line: the dual charger is really important to me.


    Tires in snow: don’t get stuck with 21” wheels and performance tires in the snow, or even just on cold pavement: people say they are super sketchy. The 21” rims can mount a snowtire, but there is no all-season tire available, and no studded snow tire available (says Tesla employee). I bought 19” after market rims (TST) and studded Hakka 8s (and TPMS sensors), but Tesla won’t install them, so on my delivery day I have to drive in unsafe winter conditions on the 21s, then spend my first day with my new tesla sitting at the tire shop! Okay, I’ll survive… but it will be worse than my 2 year old waiting for the closed ice cream shop to open! There may be a quivering lip involved!! :) Seriously, this is not just a customer service issue but a safety issue. Tesla should be able to install your snow tires prior to delivery but they won't.

    Carbon: I live in Colorado which has some of the dirtiest electricity in the US, about 2/3rds from coal. One estimate put the carbon equivalent for a Colorado Tesla at only 45 mpg. I am therefore having solar installed at my home so that i will have a FUSION POWERED Tesla! Turns out most people think the 30% federal solar tax credit will really expire at the end of 2016. Maybe a lesser tax credit will replace it, but few people think it will continue at 30% after 2016, so get that solar put in asap!

    I am so F-ing excited! Thank you Elon Musk and all the Tesla people who created this reality. It's awesome.



     
  2. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    974
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I think you answered my question, but to clarify: The used warranty is 4y/48k miles from when you buy the car? Not from when it was first sold? Because that's what I've been unsure about. Thanks for helping us all to understand the process better.
     
  3. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight Fluxing

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    5,793
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Are you familiar with http://ev-cpo.com ?

    Also, I think the drive unit "failures" are overblown/mis-represented. There were a lot of drive units being replaced that didn't need to be.
     
  4. tga

    tga Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2014
    Messages:
    2,221
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    The 8yr/unlimited mile drivetrain warrantee continues unaffected from date of first sale. The CPO buyer gets a fresh 4/50k (not 48k) from date of CPO purchase.
     
  5. Mike K

    Mike K Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    This all day. People that owned the original iPhone might remember that Apple would replace them for even the most trivial of complaints. Single dead pixel? Here, have a new phone! They had to do this because it was painfully important that people that had an iPhone love their iPhone. Tesla is working off this same mantra right now. They are replacing drive units that simply don't need to be replaced just to keep their customers happy.

    For example, I had a 14,000 mile S85 and I just bought a 33,000 miles S85. The 33,000 mile car makes a whining sound while cruising. It's not intrusive but it's there and I decided to ask Tesla about it because the 14,000 mile car didn't make the sound. A tech rode with me and told me it was totally normal. Absolutely nothing to worry about, BUT... If I want it replaced they're happy to accommodate me. Yes, that's right. There's nothing wrong with the motor at all however they will replace it just to make me happy. This is akin to me taking my M5 into BMW for injector noise and them telling me it's fine but oh yeah, we'll totally just replace the engine if it bothers you. I mean it's just unheard of service.

    Since we can't measure how many drive units are actually experiencing catastrophic failure versus how many are simply being proactively replaced, we can only look at the evidence in front of us to determine what the real situation is and there's no evidence to suggest that drive units are chronically experiencing catastrophic failures. If they were there would be a bunch more posts to that effect on this forum.
     
  6. Adventure S

    Adventure S Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Crested Butte, CO
    Yup, the 8 year/unlimited mile warranty is from the date of initial delivery to the first owner. This is the amazing answer to our concerns about the drivetrain. It means for 2013 cars, we don't need to worry about the motor, battery, or any of the drive train until 2021. This does not change with resale. The 4 year/50k (got it wrong at 48k) mile warranty is a NEW warranty issued by Tesla when they sell the used car to the next owner, starting on the date of used delivery (i.e. starting jan 2016 for me and my 2013 Tesla). Hope this clarifies-

    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes, the drive unit in my used Tesla was working fine when traded in. Only on Tesla's inspection did they determine there was a "problem", and decided to replace it. The new drive units are backordered 2-6 weeks out - suggesting they are still replacing WAY more than they planned on. The warranty is an excellent idea, since I would not be buying my Tesla without it. Further, I will be upgrading to a dual motor in 2-3 years, so the warranty is critical to my ability to resell the Tesla then, with 3-4 years left on said warranty - this is also critical to my decision to make the purchase. The can is kicked down the road a bit, but 2021 is only 5 years away now, and no one wants a car with a 66% motor "problem" off warranty with an uncertain repair cost... But I guess we'll know a lot more about this problem and the cost of fixing it by the time 2021 rolls around. Again, thanks Tesla for making it possible for me to have this fusion solar powered car that's also fun and awesome!
     
  7. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,082
    Location:
    Toronto,Canada

    Congrats! We bought a 2013 via the CPO program and have been delighted by our experience with the car and Tesla.



    I monitored CPO cars from the time that Tesla opened the program, and used Hanks site/app:
    http://ev-cpo.com/


    I pressed the "buy now" button a few minutes after our car came up on CPO. I knew it would go quickly, as it was high mileage with steep discount. Tesla took three weeks and did an amazing job preparing the car for us. New brakes, tail lights, wheels, UMC (charging connector) and completely detailed inside and out. If you are not satisfied with delivery condition, press Tesla to improve it. We had no complaints.





    Many? Damage? This is more than a bit over stated. You already noted you were looking at a high mileage car due to price, so there should be some expectation that stone chips from extensive highway driving and a few minor scrapes and bumps from years of wear/tear are to be expected. Our car had 50000 km and 1.5 years on it when we purchased, and had the usual amount of wear/tear for that distance. We were completely understanding of this when we purchased, as the discount off new is massive. It's a trade off. If you wanted absolute new condition, you had a choice to spend more...




    Happy for you, but keep in mind some of your post is overly exaggerating things, especially with replacement motor concerns and car condition.
     
  8. Adventure S

    Adventure S Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Crested Butte, CO
    your post is overly exaggerating things, especially with replacement motor concerns and car condition.

    Um, what? I am just trying to pass on the things I've learned for others to benefit from. The first three cars I enquired about were all damaged to the extent that they were awaiting repairs at an auto body shop ("many"). This was not listed on the website, and it was difficult to find out. I don't care that they are damaged; that's probably why they were less expensive. I just want the information up front. As for the 2/3rds motor replacement, I am not exaggerating, or "overly exaggerating things". This is what a couple of hours spent googling revealed from concrete numbers from polling tesla owners, so I am sharing that because I would want to know that, and I want to share with others. I almost didn't know this before my purchase, which would be naive. Of course, we are choosing to be early adopters, and Tesla is learning while doing, and being responsible for their product, which is all awesome. But please don't shoot me the messenger for sharing my experience. My first post TMC and I get attacked for sharing what I learned! Tesla is completely the most awesome thing ever, but I don't see the benefit of whitewashing this stuff. There are issues; we must learn from them, negotiate them, and overcome them. I hope my post helps others do this.
     
  9. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    California
    Your enthusiasm is great but all of the issues you discussed are pretty much common knowledge around here. No one is attacking you. Stick around and read and learn, and most of all get a Tesla because they're wonderful.
     
  10. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,082
    Location:
    Toronto,Canada
    Enjoy your CPO Tesla.

    Not meant to attack., just counter your post with a completely different set of experiences gained by participating here for a while, and going through the CPO process myself.

    Signing off from this thread.
     
  11. Adventure S

    Adventure S Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Crested Butte, CO
    Okay thanks for the input guys- :redface:
     
  12. CLLACAB

    CLLACAB Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2014
    Messages:
    140
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Before you drive away, make sure you go over the car carefully. Look at everything - wheels, glass, door/hood alignment, etc. Ask for a copy of the alignment specs. The condition of the car is dependent on where the work was done. My car had a number of issues. We listed them all on a "Due Bill" and my local center is fixing everything. They were somewhat surprised at the poor condition of the car. But they have committed to making it right.

    Enjoy!
     
  13. DMage

    DMage Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Appreciate the insight as I am looking at a CPO car currently and have been on the ev-cpo site religiously for the past week.

    Although regarding 'many of the cars are damaged' it may be helpful to understand what Tesla considers damage. Our product adviser said that any damage bigger than the size of a penny is fixed. So its possible that the cars you listed were just in for paintless dent repair or a small touch up.

    I am looking forward to having a CPO of my own soon and will be happy to update the forum once I order a car and its delivered!
     
  14. tanner

    tanner Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location:
    SoCal
    Just a tip, request pictures! I take care of my car as if it were my child (sad, but true) - I asked for pics of a P85D CPO and they came in with huge scratches on the wheels and a nice gouge on the leather. Moreover, the SoCal manager for the CPO department told me that once the owner trades it in, it's turned over to service centers to use as a loaner until it's sold (often times owners don't take care of loaners as if they were their own). e.g. the one I inquired about was turned in with 4,000 miles and now has almost 9,000!!!

    Also, if anyone wants a P85 that has extremely low miles and is better cared for than the CPOs: Mint Condition P85 with LOW MILAGE (7,800mi) - $72,000 OBO
     
  15. Adventure S

    Adventure S Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Crested Butte, CO
    If Tesla is listening, it would just be nice to have all the information about a car quickly. Either posted on the website, or immediately available upon inquiry.

    My sales people would call or email other sales people to inquire about a car, then we'd hear back the next day with something like "It's in pretty good condition but has a scratch being repaired". Um, okay... is that enough info to make my $70k decision with? Nope. Maybe I'm just ADD and impatient, but I would think a tech-savvy company like tesla would have a common data base on their CPO cars, packed with information, with 20 standard pics taken of every car, immediately available to every salesperson nationwide. Vague chit-chatting about a car's condition seems so un-Tesla. I suspect they're working on this...
     
  16. tanner

    tanner Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location:
    SoCal
    EXACTLY! Plus the dual motor variants are pretty damn close to original price anyway. It would be better off to buy a new one at that point.
     
  17. JenniferQ

    JenniferQ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    974
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Yes, but that new 4 year/50k mile warranty on a CPO is worth its weight in gold, right? Or am I missing something? I am trying to learn as I will be in the CPO market late next year.
     
  18. tanner

    tanner Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location:
    SoCal
    Not really, mine still has until June of 2017 on my original warranty (factory, everything is covered) AND it can still be extended for an additional 4 years / 50,000 miles for only $4,000. If you buy the right non-CPO, the warranty is a moot point, as they WILL NOT fix cosmetic issues with the CPO after you take delivery. Let's say you missed something and there's a huge scratch in the leather or on the lower fender, too bad.... Also, if extended, a regular used warranty will last longer than their CPO.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Not really, mine still has until June of 2017 on my original warranty (factory, everything is covered) AND it can still be extended for an additional 4 years / 50,000 miles for only $4,000. If you buy the right non-CPO, the warranty is a moot point, as they WILL NOT fix cosmetic issues with the CPO after you take delivery. Let's say you missed something and there's a huge scratch in the leather or on the lower fender, too bad.... Also, if extended, a regular used warranty will last longer than their CPO.
     
  19. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2014
    Messages:
    1,082
    Location:
    Toronto,Canada
    The CPO warranty was a critically important element of purchasing our car earlier this year. While it had high mileage (almost 60000 km), the drive train and battery had 6 more years, and the entire car covered for 4 more years. This gave us the confidence to buy used.

    We had other opportunities to buy similar cars outside of CPO, but none came anywhere near the price. Ontario has only a few thousand Tesla's on the road, so with a small inventory of available used cars, sellers were setting the price till the CPO program came along with a good amount of inventory from those upgrading to "D" and auto pilot.

    And like I've said around here many times, our CPO experience was excellent. We were looking for a high mileage CPO to reduce cost, and when we found it, the condition was less perfect than if the car was babied and never driven, but Tesla made up for that by replacing worn out parts, and detailing the car to a reasonable standard prior to delivery to us.

    Believe me, any Tesla is an amazing Tesla. The car drives like nothing else, and it has been a huge benefit to our lifestyle in terms of road trip comfort/safety. When people ride in our car, they don't imagine or think it is a "used" car, to them, it's pretty much better than anything else they've ever driven in. And we have the base 85, no "P" or "D"!

    Just go for it.
     
  20. tanner

    tanner Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Messages:
    1,025
    Location:
    SoCal
    it's only good if the original owner ran out the mileage on the factory warranty, as you pointed out.
     

Share This Page