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Best used MS? Buying a used Model S.

JimEG

Member
Jan 25, 2021
14
6
USA
Hello. Looking for a used Model S. Been scouring Wikipedia, Google, TMC and CL.

What would you recommend as the best model and year for reliability and longevity?

Budget is $30K (ish)

My current order of priorities -
1) Reliability
2) Longevity
3) Range (probably no less than a 70kwh)
4) Free supercharging
5) AP
6) Long term value/minimized depreciation

The idea of a 2013 or so with recently replaced motor and battery seems like a smart buy?

Or should I go with a newer version. Seeing 2015 ish 70D and 85's still under warranty that look good too.

I've read on here the dual motors are better than single or performance?

Are there any battery sizes to avoid?

Or should I be looking at the 2016.5 and up for the MCU and AP2 and beyond? Could pull into the $40k (ish) bracket, but would rather not unless there is a really good reason to.

I see where Tesla is going with AP and FSD - this is the future. I have a Cyber on order, which will have it all, but I just don't want to spend anymore than I have to for a good MS, with or without AP right now.

Thanks. Looking forward to your replies.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,381
11,890
California
If reliability and longevity are actually your highest priorities, you want the newest example you can afford. 2013s are going to be out of their battery and drive unit warranty this year. The early cars had lots of well documented problems and sore spots the later cars don't.

Skip the 70 and 85 batteries entirely. If I were you with your general budget I'd start looking at 2016 75s and not going any earlier than that.
 

Zorg

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,401
1,235
Fremont, ca
2017 Model S | Tesla

A bit over $30K but comes with FSD. We had a 2014 S and had quite a few issues (which were all taken care of under the old CPO warranty). So, I would agree with going as recent as you can.

Frankly, I'd go with a 3 like that this one. Same range as an S 75, and probably less issues to deal with.

2019 Model 3 | Tesla
 
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JimEG

Member
Jan 25, 2021
14
6
USA
Thanks for the replies. The 3 felt too small for my family. The S has more room for us and gear.

Any feedback on the nose cone 15’/16’ 70d? I’ve been devouring search results for the 70d here, and one person posted that it has been an extremely reliable MS and has had the fewest reported issues. True? AP1 would be fine for me. I’ve found one with 120k for $33k. All options loaded.
 

Zorg

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,401
1,235
Fremont, ca
Thanks for the replies. The 3 felt too small for my family. The S has more room for us and gear.

Any feedback on the nose cone 15’/16’ 70d? I’ve been devouring search results for the 70d here, and one person posted that it has been an extremely reliable MS and has had the fewest reported issues. True? AP1 would be fine for me. I’ve found one with 120k for $33k. All options loaded.

Well, if reliability and longevity are your priorities, I'd stay away. You're better off stretching your budget to $40K and find an S75 with 30-40K miles.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,381
11,890
California
Thanks for the replies. The 3 felt too small for my family. The S has more room for us and gear.

Any feedback on the nose cone 15’/16’ 70d? I’ve been devouring search results for the 70d here, and one person posted that it has been an extremely reliable MS and has had the fewest reported issues. True? AP1 would be fine for me. I’ve found one with 120k for $33k. All options loaded.

The 70kwh batteries are experiencing the same capacity capping, charge throttling, and thermal mitigation issues as the 85s (because they're the same cells, just less of them). This issue is described in detail here:

Sudden Loss Of Range With 2019.16.x Software

One more time: Buy as new as you can. At this point I would personally not touch a 70/85 battery. Stick with the 75kwh or newer, which implies 2016+.

There are some early 75kwh AP1 cars floating around that should be a good deal. Maybe not $30k good, but a much better value if your actual priorities are longevity and reliability. There are RWD 75s on the Tesla used site starting at $38,400 - with full self driving and a 10k mile warranty. That's the best $5k you'll ever spend vs. an AP1 70D.
 
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Mr X

Future Martian
Jan 18, 2013
2,132
1,645
Simi Valley, CA
Avoid getting a 2012-2014ish with the first gen seats/interior. I believe 15's started getting Gen 2 seats



1st gen seats are awful with no support and arm rests are bricks (uncomfortable drives). Everything is hard plastic and creaky.


Old cars are prone to lots of small issues.


Source: My Dad's 14 S.


Get a new 3 or a used Dual Motor S like a 70D
 
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JimEG

Member
Jan 25, 2021
14
6
USA
That was some deep reading on Batterygate. Thanks for the background.

The 70d I’ve looked at has had its updates and is currently showing 223 miles range at full charge. Is it safe to assume the battery has not been throttled, considering it’s 5 years old age and still 223 miles of range at 112k odometer? And if this is the throttled range, shouldn’t the throttling translate to better battery longevity? The battery and motors are under warranty until 2023 unlimited miles. I’m ok with this range. Especially if it means the battery will last longer.
 

Sunshine State

Automotive Enthusiast
Jul 13, 2017
1,304
1,031
Florida
If your budget is limited then buying an expensive car out of warranty is likely questionable. That said the refreshed 2016’s are much better cars under the skin than the pre-refresh cars according to Tesla service techs plus they look like current gen cars. The refresh 60 and refresh 70 battery cars may be cheaper and all actually have the newer 75 batteries (Just software locked) and don’t give up any actual usability or range because the 60/70 can be charge fully daily because they have a small built in capacity buffer that should be used on unlocked batteries daily. Only the refresh 60/70 use the bigger software locked 75 batteries, the older nosecone cars had smaller batteries. There are always better Tesla cars as they get newer so buy the newest you can afford, only you know what your threshold of value is. Free Supercharging isn’t transferable after January 2017 build dates but likely those are more expensive than you want anyway. Tesla shuts off Free Supercharging on all the used cars they sell in-house.
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,381
11,890
California
The 70d I’ve looked at has had its updates and is currently showing 223 miles range at full charge. Is it safe to assume the battery has not been throttled, considering it’s 5 years old age and still 223 miles of range at 112k odometer? And if this is the throttled range, shouldn’t the throttling translate to better battery longevity? The battery and motors are under warranty until 2023 unlimited miles. I’m ok with this range. Especially if it means the battery will last longer.

I don’t think you can assume anything about the battery. There’s no guarantee the next software update doesn’t gimp things further (to be fair this is a risk with every Tesla, but again, these 70/85 batteries have KNOWN issues that are currently under litigation). Your connection between a battery being artificially range capped for a presumed safety/fire issue and “better longevity” is dubious at best.

You sound a bit like you’ve made up your mind and just want someone to tell you it’s ok. If that’s the case, sure. Buy the car. Sounds like you’ve thought things through.
 
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JimEG

Member
Jan 25, 2021
14
6
USA
The 70D is the direction I am leaning. The price for these is nearer to what I want to spend right now. I have not read of any serious red flags, besides potential battery or charge throttling, but this does not bother me like I am sure it does someone who bought one of these new expecting battery and charging to remain uninfluenced by Tesla.

I've read from a couple of other folks on here that the 70d has been a very reliable model. Including a post that the dual motors tend to have better longevity than the single motors - and this may have been a reference to single motor in performance models.

I have no interest in high performance, for this purchase. Just reliability and longevity.

Anyone else have any input on the 70d - good or bad?
 

dano-oly

Member
Dec 2, 2013
38
150
Olympia, WA
My 2015 70D has been great and super reliable for 130K miles and I plan on keeping it a lot longer. Only issues have been a sunroof leak a few years ago and recently a slow coolant leak; taking it to service tomorrow and the estimate is less than $100. I'm getting 204 miles range on a 90% charge, which has been steady for the last 2 years or so. My lifetime energy usage is 265 Wh/mi, better than the rated 270. As mentioned, supercharging speeds have been reduced on packs of this vintage, so if you plan to do a lot of supercharging then perhaps the newer 75/90 models would be better.
 

Zorg

Active Member
Oct 24, 2017
1,401
1,235
Fremont, ca
If your budget is limited then buying an expensive car out of warranty is likely questionable. That said the refreshed 2016’s are much better cars under the skin than the pre-refresh cars according to Tesla service techs plus they look like current gen cars. The refresh 60 and refresh 70 battery cars may be cheaper and all actually have the newer 75 batteries (Just software locked) and don’t give up any actual usability or range because the 60/70 can be charge fully daily because they have a small built in capacity buffer that should be used on unlocked batteries daily. Only the refresh 60/70 use the bigger software locked 75 batteries, the older nosecone cars had smaller batteries. There are always better Tesla cars as they get newer so buy the newest you can afford, only you know what your threshold of value is. Free Supercharging isn’t transferable after January 2017 build dates but likely those are more expensive than you want anyway. Tesla shuts off Free Supercharging on all the used cars they sell in-house.

Exactly. When things go bad, repairs are really expensive on a Tesla. I think that the on board charger replacement is like $2-3K. Not to say that they require a ton of repairs, but those that do hurt the wallet. If OP is going for an older model with higher mileage, I hope that (s)he has a budget for repairs afterward.

On a side note, it looks to me that all 70s on Tesla pre owned list with the refreshed fascia have been unlocked to 75.
 

Sunshine State

Automotive Enthusiast
Jul 13, 2017
1,304
1,031
Florida
Exactly. When things go bad, repairs are really expensive on a Tesla. I think that the on board charger replacement is like $2-3K. Not to say that they require a ton of repairs, but those that do hurt the wallet. If OP is going for an older model with higher mileage, I hope that (s)he has a budget for repairs afterward.

On a side note, it looks to me that all 70s on Tesla pre owned list with the refreshed fascia have been unlocked to 75.
Tesla unlocks the software on all locked 75 batteries that are in their used inventory but I was referring to used private sale cars because the OP wanted free Supercharging and that is only available from private sale cars or if you can find a (Non Tesla) dealer with one. Unless you are using it for a lot of road trips the free SC doesn’t add up to that much value and an older Tesla might not be the best road trip car not under warranty. Tesla no longer offers owners the option to unlock software locked batteries but that doesn’t matter much anyway because it really doesn’t boost range in the real world anyhow.
 

teslick2

Member
Sep 1, 2019
34
13
Virgina
Hello. Looking for a used Model S. Been scouring Wikipedia, Google, TMC and CL.

What would you recommend as the best model and year for reliability and longevity?

Budget is $30K (ish)

My current order of priorities -
1) Reliability
2) Longevity
3) Range (probably no less than a 70kwh)
4) Free supercharging
5) AP
6) Long term value/minimized depreciation

The idea of a 2013 or so with recently replaced motor and battery seems like a smart buy?

Or should I go with a newer version. Seeing 2015 ish 70D and 85's still under warranty that look good too.

I've read on here the dual motors are better than single or performance?

Are there any battery sizes to avoid?

Or should I be looking at the 2016.5 and up for the MCU and AP2 and beyond? Could pull into the $40k (ish) bracket, but would rather not unless there is a really good reason to.

I see where Tesla is going with AP and FSD - this is the future. I have a Cyber on order, which will have it all, but I just don't want to spend anymore than I have to for a good MS, with or without AP right now.

Thanks. Looking forward to your replies.
Recommend you wait a few weeks until the supposed “refresh” happens as that will likely push down prices in the used market.

as others have stated, try to get the newest thing you can afford. Some of the older models start to get small problems that are expensive to fix. I have a 2013, and the suspension, door handle, door hinges, etc.. repairs have gotten more costly than I’d like. Still love the car, tho!
 
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drewMYS

Member
Jan 19, 2021
12
16
Canada
The 70D is the direction I am leaning. The price for these is nearer to what I want to spend right now. I have not read of any serious red flags, besides potential battery or charge throttling, but this does not bother me like I am sure it does someone who bought one of these new expecting battery and charging to remain uninfluenced by Tesla.

I've read from a couple of other folks on here that the 70d has been a very reliable model. Including a post that the dual motors tend to have better longevity than the single motors - and this may have been a reference to single motor in performance models.

I have no interest in high performance, for this purchase. Just reliability and longevity.

Anyone else have any input on the 70d - good or bad?
 

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