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buying used tesla

Discussion in 'Model S' started by madmike, Apr 18, 2017.

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  1. madmike

    madmike New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
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    Location:
    Rockville md
    I'm considering buying used and wondering if there is anyway to get the VIN and determine what options the car has. A lot of the dealer's descriptions are not very helpful and I'd like to be able to get a definite answer before I fly out somewhere to get one.

    Looks like the S90D is getting towards my price range...
     
  2. RichardD

    RichardD Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
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    491
    Location:
    Texas
    I would strongly encourage you to look at
    teslainventory.com
    or
    EV-CPO / Tesla CPO, Preowned, Used and Inventory Listings / ev-cpo.com
    when i was looking the savings to buy a non-cpo car was very minimal, and then the piece of mind knowing it was covered bumper to bumper was too good to pass up.
    You can call tesla service and ask for a breakdown of what the car has, but if you sit in the car, you can tell by what is available on the touch screen, everything from smart air suspension; dual charger, etc.

    With out prying, what options are must haves, and what price range are you trying to stay in?

    Hope that helps
     
  3. Manzacoty

    Manzacoty Member

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    Nov 15, 2016
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    Location:
    Dallas
    It's very difficult. I see them all the time at auction and it's not clear which options they have or if they have been activated. Even my own car I didn't know it had dual chargers till I got it home.

    You can reach out to a local service center and give them the VIN and you might have some luck there. No real easy path unless you are looking at it person.
     
  4. tga

    tga Supporting Member

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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    My CPO came with a reproduction of the original window sticker, so it should be safe to say they can look it up from the VIN, if you give it to them.

    Now just because they can, doesn't mean they will...
     
  5. BrettS

    BrettS Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I just went though this (I wound up buying a 2015 car) and I feel your pain. It is very difficult to try to figure out what options the cars have when they are at a dealer or even in some cases cars owned by a private seller (although most of the private sellers I talked to were a bit more knowledgeable about their cars). It makes it even worse that Tesla has changed the features and options quite a lot over the past few years. For example, the power liftgate (which was one option I wanted) originally was part of the tech package, but then partway through 2015 the tech package went away and you needed the premium interior package to get the power lift gate. And now, as of two days ago, the power liftgage is a standard feature.

    The things that helped me are this... first, figure out which options you want, then figure out how to identify those options. For me, for example, autopilot was a must have. It helps to know that autopilot was introduced at the very end of 2014, so that automatically ruled out any 2012 and 2013 cars. I was also told by a service center that autopilot was added around VIN 50000. So if you are looking at a 2014 car and the last 6 numbers of the VIN are less than 50000 it definitely does not have autopilot. If it's over 60000 then it almost certainly does have the autopilot hardware and if it's between 50000 and 60000 then there is a chance that it has it. Anything built in 2015 and later has autopilot hardware on the car. There is a chance that the autopilot feature was not enabled, but as long as it has the hardware then you can have the service center turn on the feature for a price (I believe it's around $2500-$3000 for an AP1 car, but don't quote me on that). So if autopilot is important to you then even if you aren't totally sure that it's been enabled you can at least know that it has the hardware and can be enabled after the sale. You can also tell if it has the autopilot hardware by looking for the camera above the rear view mirror. Look at some pictures of a 2012 or 2013 car, which you know doesn't have autopilot and then some pictures of a 2015 or 2016 car with autopilot and you can see the slightly different shape above the rear view mirror when looking at the front of the car from the outside. I got pretty good at identifying cameras from fuzzy front shots in ads.

    Other things are a bit easier to identify. Like with the power liftgate for me, it's easy enough for the dealer to go out and see if the liftgate opens and closes itself (although it's important to specify that you want it to close itself. I had one conversation with one dealer who told me a car had a power liftgate because he clicked the remote and the hatch popped open, but that was just what the standard non power liftgate does). With the cold weather package the car has heated rear seats and the standard car only has heated front seats, so if the cold weather package is important then ask the dealer whether it has heated rear seats. The premium audio package has a sub in the trunk, so if you want that, ask whether there's a speaker on the side in the trunk, etc.

    One thing I will note is that as near as I could tell cars built in early 2015 and 2014 did not have turn by turn navigation without the tech package. In the middle of 2015 when the tech package went away then turn by turn navigation became standard. So if you want turn by turn navigation and you're looking at a 2014 or early 2015 car then make sure it has a power liftgate as that was also part of the tech package.

    Also, ask if they have the original window sticker. For me most of the private party sales did and about 50% of the dealers did. The ones that had it were happy to send me a picture of it.

    Finally, I had mixed luck asking service centers to tell me what options cars had. I tried not to call too often because I didn't want to bother anyone, but in a few cases when I had identified a car that I was very interested in and I just wanted to be absolutely certain about some options I tried to call. I simply stated that i was looking at buying a used model S from a dealer or a private party and they weren't sure what options the car had. With the last 6 digits of the VIN the service center is able to identify the options the car has. But from the calls I made it didn't really seem like they had a list of options they could just read off to me. Instead I had better luck asking "does this car have autopilot enabled and the tech package?" A few service centers told me to call the 800 number and both the 800 number and a few service centers told me that they couldn't give me any information about a car that I didn't own because of privacy concerns.

    If you let us know what years you are interested in and what features are important to you we can probably give you some specific tips.
     
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  6. bharned3

    bharned3 Member

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  7. Lasttoy

    Lasttoy Member

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    Location:
    St Augustine, Fl
    Very easy, call Fremont or local SC. I called over 12 times, give vin. They tell you. I closed deal a few minutes ago. Believe me, 90% of used dealers have no clue. They buy them at auction.
     
  8. madmike

    madmike New Member

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    Jun 28, 2016
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    Location:
    Rockville md
    Thanks to everyone...very helpful.

    I'm looking for autopilot (first version is fine) 90D, and smart suspension and 19 inch wheels, second generation leather seats. Like to haves are cold weather package, some kind of glass roof and redesigned body (love the new nose). Color preference Red or Blue, with Black interior, but I can live with other colors.

    I'm more flexible than I sound above, my main concern is being able to compare the value of used teslas by knowing what options they have.

    I'm willing to pay an additional 7K or so for a CPO with a warranty...does this sound reasonable?

    I'm also a first day model three reservation holder and plan on making a decision on my next car after I can test drive the 3...so I'm in shopping mode right now.
     

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