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How many miles is too many for a used Tesla?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MattinAustin, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. MattinAustin

    MattinAustin New Member

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    Please don't flame way as this is my first post and I'm sure somewhere deep in the search I could find an answer but haven't seen it yet. With that disclaimer.....

    I was looking at buying a 2013 P85 with almost 40k miles on it. Car looks in great shape but seems to have double the miles of most of the other 2013's that I'm seeing. Its a good price but should I have some concern? I thought with the lack of moving parts that the life of these cars was expected to be pretty long.

    Thanks
     
  2. davidc18

    davidc18 Member

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    is it a good price relative to the cpo prices?
     
  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    My 2013 has about 62,000 miles currently. With an EV, mileage should really be less of a concern than with an ICE because an EV has none of the things that wear out and become troublesome on a high mileage gas car. No exhaust system, transmission, worn piston rings/valves, and so on. An electric motor will operate reliably for a very long time. I think it might be a while for this reality to set in, and people are still going to think of high(er) mileage EVs the same way they think of high mileage ICE cars.
     
  4. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    Welcome to the TMC forums, MattinAustin!

    The short answer to your question is, honestly: no one knows! I sold my 2012 Sig S with about 39K miles on it, and it still seemed like a new car to me. The drivetrain has a theoretical design life of a million miles or more, but the model's track record is too short and the number of cars too small to make any conclusions yet, so far as I know (Consumer Reports' latest reliability data notwithstanding). I bet Tesla knows a lot at this point, but they're not talking; around here we have only anecdotal evidence to suggest that certain components are more subject to failure than others. If the car you're looking at is in good shape and you have access to the maintenance records and you can get a fair price from the seller, I wouldn't hesitate. Model S is a great automobile.
     
  5. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    Well, there is one exception to this rule, isn't there? A battery is fundamentally a consumable. Yes, there is the unlimited mile warranty on the battery, but how this exactly would play out, what is considered "normal degradation", etc? Unclear.
    The numbers people have posted on this forum overall seem encouraging with on average relatively limited degradation, but still, this has got to be something to take into account.
     
  6. benjiejr

    benjiejr Technogeekextraordinaire

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    Hello @MattinAustin,

    I agree with those above and believe we can start to think of mileage differently in Teslas. I used to be careful how many miles I put on my car (for resale and because I worried about what would break) but not anymore - actually it's the opposite! I look for any excuse to go for a drive and with this gorgeous weather we've been having in our area I've been racking them up! I'm over 20k now and I've had the car for 10 months. Recently did a long road trip from San Antonio to Key West - I would have never done that before. I didn't care how many miles I put on the car and I saw it as an adventure and a challenge. It was a wonderful trip and I saw a lot of things that I never would have if I had flown. I would do another road trip in a heartbeat.

    Good luck with your purchase and I personally wouldn't worry about the miles if the car is in great condition and appears to be well taken care of.

    Regards, Ben
     
  7. Drucifer

    Drucifer Active Member

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    Agree, but there are things that wear out on all cars, and Tesla doesn't get a pass.

    Power window regulators, power roof, power seats, power rear lift-gate, air suspension, a/c compressors, coolant pumps for the battery and so on.
    Also, the rugs, seats etc. all will show signs of age and wear with use.

    The Tesla Model S should do better or even much better on drive train and drive train accessories, but the car isn't made of pixie dust and magic.
     
  8. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I suppose that's true, but I think battery issues may be more a result of age than mileage. I come to this conclusion due to the fact that Tesla's warranty has no limit on mileage, but a cap on age.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Depends on how it's used and cared for, but sure. My seats are set and haven't moved since I got the car, so miles aren't going to affect that. Other components will surely wear, but more so based on frequency of use vs. how far the car is driven. Usually when I talk to someone about a used car, the biggest concerns are around how well the engine and transmission are holding up.
     
  9. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    IMHO the only consideration for a high mileage EV would be battery degradation. Specifically to Model S, I probably wouldn't recommend a private party sale unless it includes the ESA (extended warranty/service agreement). I also wouldn't buy if there is not a service center within reasonable driving distance.
     
  10. ChadFeldheimer

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    I'll second this, with a minor tweak: not having the extended warranty is OK so long as the price is somewhat lower to compensate. As far as I know, you can purchase the extended warranty up until the standard warranty expires.

    With 40k miles on the clock, you only have 10k left before the standard warranty runs out. There is real value in having a car under warranty.

    The cost of the extended warranty is $4000, but under warranty repairs incur a $200 deductible (no deductible under the standard warranty).
     
  11. Fiver

    Fiver Member

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    Just because there isn't an engine doesn't mean there's nothing to wear out over time/miles. Tesla's are heavy, give the suspension a good check out before purchase.
     
  12. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    well I have 90k miles on my P85 and it's still running great....sooo 40k miles doesn't seem like much to me lol
     
  13. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I agree with mknox, EVs don't have the type of engine that just goes bad over use. The electric motor and electronics will last much longer than an ICE. All other parts are the same. AC, brakes, mechanics of doors, sun roof and such. a 2013 model is still only 2-3 years old right now. That's no age for a car. Of course the battery is the key part. Unfortunately Tesla doesn't have a way for the user to check the battery aging. It's all guesswork based on how many 'rated miles' it shows when fully charged. But that is also just a good estimate.

    My car is a 2014 and has 61k miles. Would I consider buying it? Absolutely. Everything is in good shape, the battery has been holding up extremely well. Tesla's service has taken care of everything so far. We all know a new car loses most of it's value in the first year, so you are getting a very good deal on a Model S. When my car was new the sticker said EPA rated range is 256 miles. It showed 270 miles, though! Today I get 248 miles. That's a very small loss for 61k miles. In other words, I wouldn't be concerned about buying a Model S with lots of miles.
     
  14. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    I would not worry about the extra mileage but I would definitely ensure the car is sold to you with an extended warranty, partly due to the lower than average reliability predicted by the Consumer Reports survey. Even without the Consumer Reports report, I'd be weary of owning one out of warranty since only Tesla can fix any issues that come up.
     
  15. Sasmania

    Sasmania Member

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    I bought mine at 35K from a private party (before CPO program existed).... I now have 80,000 miles and then chose NOT to pay the $4000 to extent the warranty to 100,000 miles. I've been driving the last 30K on no warranty besides the 8 year unlimited battery/drive train. It's cost me $400 in repairs so far. Is it a gamble? Sure. I might come out ahead, or I could come out behind....but I felt comfortable enough at 49,999 to go without the extended warranty. Like others mentioned, it's really about how the car was cared for and what condition is it in? A high milage car thats had 1 passenger and always garaged may be in better shape than a low milage car kept in the street and used to carry all the neighborhood kids around.

    To me, it's an excellent way to get a great car for much less. That said...use your apprehension about limited miles left under warranty to negotiate the price down even further....
     
  16. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I should probably go look this up myself, but as I recall, these warranty issues, although "higher than average" are all small things. Even the drive train replacements were done for fairly minor issues because it is easier to replace the drive train than tear it apart to replace a shim. Most fixes are like when the door handles don't work as expected: Replace. Done. But it's recorded as a warranty issue. My hood latch bent. It was replaced. I can't think of anything that was major, and the car is still the best thing out there. Pano roofs had squeaks. They were fixed. Shoot, with a gas car, you couldn't even hear the squeaks.

    When Tesla gives a warranty of "eight years, unlimited (or infinite) miles", mileage becomes meaningless: What percentage is 80,000 miles out of infinity?

    But warranty? It all happens right at first. Especially with early production, there were known problems. Windshields cracked, and were replaced. Inverters failed. And were replaced. All for free.

    I don't see the concern and worry over maintenance issues. I would far far rather have this fantastic new technology, and maybe stop by the service department once every hundred thousand miles, than have a hundred year old technology that needs maintenance every few thousand miles, plus needing to add polluting, planet destroying fuels and lubricants every week.

    No comparison.
     
  17. ChadFeldheimer

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    Tesla arguably knows the value/cost of the extended warranty better than anyone else. So consider how much they charge for the extended warranty:

    The extended warranty originally cost $2500 and extended coverage on the drivetrain. The same warranty now costs $4000, but no longer extends coverage on the drivetrain (8 years and unlimited mile battery/drivetrain warranty coverage is now standard).

    This is a strong indication to me that the warranty (standard or extended) has non-negligible value.

    When considering a pre-owned Model S, my biggest considerations would be: the overall condition of the vehicle and the remaining warranty period. Mileage is a key component of the second factor.
     
  18. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    I think it's a great question but we must be a brutal bunch if new people are worried about being flamed!

    Ask them to test drive if you haven't already and tell them you want to charge the vehicle to 100% to see the rated miles. Maybe they can have it ready for you at 100% just before you test drive it since you don't want it to sit for long at full. Then test every control on the screen. Check the door handles for any squeaks or issues, take it on a bumpy roads to check for rattles, and see if you can find anything wrong with it.

    With regard to the battery, from what I've read about lithium ion batteries, and from my own experience, time takes a greater toll than use. For example, my Nissan Leaf just lost a capacity bar recently and I only have 25.4k km on it but it's over 3 years old. Others with much higher mileage, and a good battery climate like mine, lost a bar around the same time. So that told me a lot.
     
  19. demundus

    demundus Member

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    just hit 66k, bought used as well. No real issues... I put about 9k on it since I purchased it. There are some minor wear issues but nothing glaring. I still drive a F@#$in Tesla everyday! :)
     
  20. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    See if you can find out when the last Drive Unit replacement occurred in the car. Keep in mind that they're all failing (developing a milling noise, clunking noise, or worse) - sooner or later, you'll need to have it swapped.

    Tesla will replace the DU free of charge, so don't be too concerned about cost, but right now the Service Centers seem to be holding out for a more permanent fix from engineering, and don't just swap out all Drive Units with problems.

    My milling noise is bad enough that it gives me a headache within 10 minutes of driving - so I avoid driving with the Model S wherever possible. But I've had the car for 2.5 years so I'm willing to wait a couple of months for a proper fix coming from engineering. However, if this was a car that I just bought, I'd be seriously upset about this.
     

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