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Considering a Model S. What should I look for?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Boourns, Apr 28, 2016.

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  1. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    I am considering buying a classic Model S and was wondering if there are any issues I should be looking for or aware of. Here are the details:

    2012 Model S (production date 12/15/12)
    85 kWh battery (non-performance)
    19'' wheels
    Pano roof
    Smart Air
    No tech package
    51k miles
    VIN # P02413

    This is actually a Tesla CPO, so I will have the 4 year/50k warranty, but was wondering if you all had any opinions on the expected reliability, issues to look for, or just general comments. I know the door handles were a source of problems but I believe since this has no tech package that shouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks for any input you might have.
     
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  2. CLLACAB

    CLLACAB Member

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    The car probably has an "A" battery which charges a bit slower at the superchargers. You can check by turning the wheels all the way to the left and looking behind the front right wheel. You can see the sticker on the front of the battery. You should also ask them to charge the battery to 90% and see what the mileage is. You should see about 230 miles at 90%. You should also inspect the car in detail and point out any issues. Check the glass, the fit and finish and ask for the alignment specs. Make them give you a Due Bill for anything you want corrected and be prepared to walk away if they don't agree to resolve any issues.
     
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  3. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    It will for sure have an A pack. If you're not supercharging a lot or supercharging at higher rates of charge this won't matter too much.

    What's the cost on this car if you don't mind me asking? Unless it's really cheap or you really don't mind the omitted features of the tech package I'd probably take a pass. Even if you don't want the NAV, non-tech cars of that vantage had other omissions such as halogen headlights instead of HID. No bueno.

    Other than that, you're looking for all the early build quality issues. Ill fitting door seals, mis-aligned trunk, condensation in the tail lights, drive unit noise, etc. If it's a CPO car there really is no such thing as a deal breaker because Tesla will fix it.
     
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  4. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    The whole "early build issues" thing is way overblown, I think. None of those issues on VIN #112. The car is AWESOME.

    On the other hand, we have heard from some very recent deliveries that have some serious problems. Some cars are good, some cars are bad, and there is no magic VIN cutoff where you are safe. You have to check each car out. Sorry.
     
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  5. Mike K

    Mike K Member

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    I too have a low VIN car but I'm not delusional about it. There's a litany of parts that have been replaced and improved on the newer cars that may not have been addressed on an older car. Just take a look through the service manual and you can see for yourself. For instance, on an older car you'd likely want to check that the TPMS system was updated with the new module and antennas. You wouldn't need to do that on a newer car. You might check if the center arm-rests are loose. You wouldn't need to do that on a newer car either.

    The newer cars might have random quality issues but the early cars have common and easy to identify problems. There is without a doubt issues with the early cars. It doesn't take anything away from them. It doesn't make them any less great. It just is what it is.
     
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  6. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    The car is $41,800, which I think is a good deal for an 85.
     
  7. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I am truly sorry if you car still has problems, but I don't think pointing out that my car does not have any common or easy to identify (or uncommon or hard to identify, for that matter) problems makes me delusional. I agree there were some well-known issues at first - pano noise, HVAC noise, door handles, defroster vents, etc. But those were all taken care of in 2012/2013. For three years now my car has been flawless - no squeaks, rattles, leaks, noisy drive units, nothing. Given that he's buying the car today, he should look for today's problems.

    My point is simply that whether a car has problems or not is not determined by the VIN number. An older car is probably (though we can't say for sure!) more likely to have problems than a newer one, but the OP is not looking to buy a statistical sample, so all that matters is checking out the car he's considering.

    Boourns, that price DOES sound awesome for an 85. My guess is it's because of the lack of tech package, which many people seem to want - of the options, it seems to have the largest affect on the price. If the features it's missing (Supercharging over 90kW, tech package, AWD, autopilot, etc) don't bother you, then go for it! Well, check it out for problems first...
     
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  8. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input. I am going to think a little more and have the CPO adviser check to see if there are any other options, but, barring that, I think I am going to pull the trigger (presuming there are no obvious problems on inspection). AWD and autopilot certainly don't bother me to not have, as any S with these options is beyond my budget. The bottom line is that this car would be my Model 3 placeholder/line jumper, so I think i can make due with this one for the next 1.5-2 years.

    I guess one last consideration is whether you all think this car would take a big depreciation hit in the next 2 years. I don't want to be upside down on this when time comes to trade it in for my Model 3.
     
  9. Muzzman1

    Muzzman1 Member

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    You really might looking for a car with the Tech package, unless you know you do not want those features.
     
  10. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I'm afraid determining depreciation is even harder than determining reliability, as it's the future rather than the past. Especially given that it's a new type of car, there's not a lot of history to compare it to. Most of it depends on whether the demand for EVs grows slower or faster than automakers ramp up production.

    At some point I feel demand is going to tip, which will create a supply squeeze and used EVs are going to command a premium as manufacturers scramble to increase capacity. But there's absolutely no way to say when. If Tesla and others ramp up production fast over the next two years, but demand in that time grows more slowly, resale value could take a hit. There's also a bunch of other factors nobody can predict - oil market shock due to demand changes? War in the Middle East destroying oil fields? Musk gets hit by a bus? Earthquake in Fremont? A popular TV show has a character with an EV that helps turn the public for or against EVs?

    All that said, buying an older car rather than a newer one is likely to protect you some from fluctuations. An older car will more likely have a steadier depreciation curve than a newer one. Any car purchase can go upside down if you put nothing down because depreciation is higher at the beginning, but if you put a reasonable amount down on an older car you should be fine.
     
  11. valkeriefire

    valkeriefire Member

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    $42k for a CPO 85 with a new 4 year warranty is impressive even if it doesn't have a tech package. When I first started reading this thread and saw there was no Tech on the car, my answer was NO, but the price more than makes up for it. I'd buy this car if I could. I want a nice model S with the large Frunk for all my dirty work equipment and the slower supper charging and lack of Nav wouldn't hurt me since I'm just looking for a nice commuter car. In the end my wife and I totally went crazy and opted for a new 90D which will be our family car and I'll be stuck driving my Prius until the model 3 arrives.

    If this car is just a 2 year band aid to keep you happy until the model 3 arrives, then I don't think you'll find a better deal than this.
     
  12. RogerHScott

    RogerHScott Active Member

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    On one hand, this statement puts a tiny bit of meat on the bones of my theory that the pent-up demand for M3s will bolster used MS prices for some time to come. On the other hand, I hope you're realistic about how long it will be before you actually have an M3 in your driveway. You should be prepared for an extended relationship (love affair :)) with your MS, not a brief fling.

    Do you see any way that M3 production is going to come anywhere close to demand in that time frame? Even if new orders went to zero tomorrow the backlog alone will outstrip supply for longer than that, as I see it.

    I think this is a key point here. The second derivative of the value of a car is almost always negative, so the older it is when you buy
    it the less "downside risk" you incur. In the time frame the OP is thinking about (and even in, IMO, more realistic somewhat longer
    time frames) I think resale value of his MS -- assuming he takes good care of it -- will be the least of his worries. Model S is hot
    and getting hotter, so I expect more and more people to be looking for ways to own one, by hook or by crook.
     
  13. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Welp... I put the deposit down. Surprisingly it actually has a B battery pack, so that was good news. I decided for the price I can live without the tech package. Delivery tentatively set for May 27th. I honestly can't believe that I am going to own a Model S. It is something I never thought would be within reach, and I am beyond ecstatic right now. Thanks for all your help and input.
     
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  14. RogerHScott

    RogerHScott Active Member

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    Were you able to test drive this specific car, or one as similar to it as possible?
    If so, I assume you've known all along, deep in your heart, that you must have it. :)
     
  15. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    Congrats Boourns, enjoy your Model S!
     
  16. Boourns

    Boourns Member

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    Yes, I first drove a P85 in 2013. I have been obsessed ever since. This car is in Illinois so I have not driven this one yet. It will be difficult to explain to my mom that I bought a car based on an excel spreadsheet row!

    Thanks!
     
  17. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    #17 purplewalt, Apr 29, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
    Boourns may want to know everything that is included with THIS SPECIFIC Car.

    My example of another CPO:
    I have a friend who bought a CPO Signature P85 in December.

    It has a new drive unit.
    It has a "D" battery pack, rated at 271 miles of range.
    It had four brand new tires.
    It had (original) performance Leather Interior, and Carbon fiber dash and spoiler.
    It has twin chargers.
    It had a full pano roof.
    It has the Tech package.
    It has premium sound.
    It has premium interior lighting (now standard).
    It came with another 50,000 miles, 4 year warranty from existing mileage and date of sale.
    It is a Signature, so it was one of the first 1,200 cars built.

    Summary: in my opinion, he basically has a new Model S.
    At least ALL the really expensive stuff has been sorted out to be new.

    No, it does not have the parking sensors, or the retractable mirrors, or the longer visors or 18 or 20 other various upgrades and modifications that are now standard or available.
    But all the important stuff is there.

    Not saying any of the above is applicable for any other CPO (older or newer) or not, but for that Car, it all came together.

    Now, if it was my money, and $41,800 is within the OP's budget for a Classic 85 with just 51K miles...
    ...I would say, hell yes.
    IMHO, that is an extremely good value for the money.
    Where do I sign?

    A couple of things for OP to check:
    I would check and confirm battery pack type ("A", "B", "C" or "D") that is in the car. Unless you plan on a lot of long trips using Superchargers, it won't make any difference to you. Certainly not as far as day-to-day use and charging.
    I would check battery full charge mileage (range). My thoughts: it needs to be no less than 245 rated miles for a car of this mileage, probably going to be above 250 miles of range.
    I would have a frank discussion and discourse with the Service Advisor about the status of what is known about the drive unit in the car, and their take on it. The good news is, the entire car is still under full Warranty for another 50K miles.

    As a temporary car for the OP until Model 3, or even as a long term car, this appears to be a very good deal.
    The bulk of the depreciation has already occurred, but it will continue to lose monetary value with time.

    <<<<<While I was typing the above, you pulled the trigger!!!! Congratulations!!
    Seems you got a great car with a "B" pack.
    ENJOY!>>>>>
     
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  18. brantse

    brantse Member

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    Awesome, glad to hear that you pulled the trigger. It seems that most of these early (2012) CPO's are being proactively upgraded with newer generation batteries and most likely have had a drive unit replacement at some point along the line. I have a very basic 60 that I got CPO last year, also without the tech package and have no regrets. They're all amazing vehicles that are still years ahead of most anything else on the road.
     
  19. Bridor

    Bridor Member

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    I just bought a used 2014 85 for $70K - so I would jump at that price...
     
  20. Casavant

    Casavant Member

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    Congrats Boourns! Can't wait for you to share you first drive story!
     

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