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Ready to join the Tesla club- 2nd hand model S questions

Jonnymack74

Member
May 8, 2021
5
11
Liverpool
Hi all,

I'm in the market for a model S.
My budget means I can only really get a 75d between 2017 and 2018 although there are a few 90d that are 2016 and some high mileage 2017 versions.

My question is, how much difference is there between 2016, 2017 and 2018 models apart from the MCU?
Some of the 2016 models I've seen so have enhanced autopilot and all the bells and whistles, but I heard later models have better cameras for sentry mode etc. Is this true?

Also with the car having so few mechanically moving parts, is high mileage a problem provided the paintwork is up to scratch?

Thanks all

Jon
 

HenryT

Member
Jan 29, 2020
640
542
Manchester
Hi all,

I'm in the market for a model S.
My budget means I can only really get a 75d between 2017 and 2018 although there are a few 90d that are 2016 and some high mileage 2017 versions.

My question is, how much difference is there between 2016, 2017 and 2018 models apart from the MCU?
Some of the 2016 models I've seen so have enhanced autopilot and all the bells and whistles, but I heard later models have better cameras for sentry mode etc. Is this true?

Also with the car having so few mechanically moving parts, is high mileage a problem provided the paintwork is up to scratch?

Thanks all

Jon
Useful list of how the MS has evolved here - Tesla Info: Model history and key changes by year

Autopilot comes in three flavours - Autopilot, Enhanced AP of full self driving (FSD). Most MS cars have enhanced autopilot, some will have FSD if the buyer specified and paid for it on ordering or subsequently, so long as the car had the required hardware. Biggest hardware change occurred in 2016. Pre 2016 (and some 2016 cars) cars cannot be upgraded to FSD (typically the 'nosecone' versions).
 
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Yev000

Active Member
May 3, 2019
1,334
909
Knaphill
Also keep in mind the S has a bit more to maintain and the repairs can be more expensive. Door handles are one thing that can fail. The panels are aluminium so more expensive to fix dents.

Inspect the brakes carefully, they might not have been used much which can cause some issues.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,792
2,903
Scotland
Also keep in mind the S has a bit more to maintain and the repairs can be more expensive. Door handles are one thing that can fail. The panels are aluminium so more expensive to fix dents.

Inspect the brakes carefully, they might not have been used much which can cause some issues.

Air suspension may be a complicating factor too ...
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,280
1,085
Uk
My question is, how much difference is there between 2016, 2017 and 2018 models apart from the MCU?
Some of the 2016 models I've seen so have enhanced autopilot and all the bells and whistles, but I heard later models have better cameras for sentry mode etc. Is this true?

As mentioned already get a car with AP2.0 hardware (any car with camera in the pillars/fender indicators) as its fully upgradable to AP3.0 CPU and will run the yet to be released code FSD beta code.

The other biggest difference between 2017 car and 2018 was the MCU, but since Tesla now offer a retrofit for £1500 that isn't as much of a decider anymore. The cameras are the same expect for the color filter, they work the safe for AutoPilot which is the important bit.

Tesla have also been through some 'odd' behaviour with battery pack limitations on charging speeds, it really isn't clear at present why/what Tesla is doing on that front, apart from to say a battery that has been Supercharged ALOT will have worse performance than one that hasn't.

If you are thinking about long-term term ownership Tesla is now selling a brand new 85kWh pack (same usable capacity as the old 90 packs) for $20k fitted in the US. Hopefully this price will fall in a few years time, which will means in 2025 you could have a 2017 car with a new battery that will be fine for another 8 years+......well that's my plan with our X anyways :).
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,280
1,085
Uk
Air suspension may be a complicating factor too ...

Not necessarily, it appears the original struts can be good for 200k+ miles. They also appear to be Bilstein so replacement via third party repair shops is straight forwards.

Bjorn has done a series of videos on his original 85 and it seems pretty solid for a car that's covered some massive miles in harsh conditions and varying temperature ranges.


My personal hope anyways is our X will be in my family till my daughter is old enough to operate it by herself - another 13 years should be long enough for Elon to deliver on FSD!! That might be wishful thinking, as she certainly doesn't remember her first time in a X :).

28709774022_12f33a103c_c_d.jpg


My colleague still owns a 3 series from the 1990s, if Tesla is serious about 'sustainable' transport than these cars need to have a similar if not better sustainability, otherwise the whole 'green' angle of EVs will be as big con as 'clean diesel'.

49872373458_dbcd2e1af4_o_d.jpg
 
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Slow_Lane

Member
Sep 11, 2019
14
2
London
Sounds odd but try getting insurance quotes on different models. A 2016 75 was way more expensive (like 50%) than a 90d for some reason, despite being slower, so worth checking.

I find MCU1 a bit slow however I'm not really that bothered and it wasn't worth the jump up in cost to a slightly newer MCU2 car. Bonus is that Tesla are now fixing the mmc issue.

I also wasn't bothered about getting a car to then upgrade to FSD. Read the large thread for a balanced view but I'm happy enough with autosteer to sit on the motorway and get 80% of the benefit. The extra benefit of potential FSD at some point in a number of years meant I'll probably have got a newer one by that point.

I went for non Air suspension on the basis of less to go wrong.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Mar 16, 2018
1,158
711
UK
I'd read this


And this


Lots of detail in these to be aware of.
 

Jonnymack74

Member
May 8, 2021
5
11
Liverpool
Thanks for all the tips guys. I just want to ensure the car I get is as future proof as possible. I'll be getting a face lift model and these are some low mileage 2016 90d that looked appealing over 2017/2018 75d worth similar or higher miles. Based on the above I think I'll likely go with a 75d, if possible uncorked to get a bit of additional performance. The main thing I noticed from 2016 to later years sere the sea head rest designs. Now I'll ensure I look on the camera pillars too.

Now I just need the right one to pop up on auto trader 👍
 
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DrJFoster

Member
Aug 27, 2019
126
89
UK
Thanks for all the tips guys. I just want to ensure the car I get is as future proof as possible. I'll be getting a face lift model and these are some low mileage 2016 90d that looked appealing over 2017/2018 75d worth similar or higher miles. Based on the above I think I'll likely go with a 75d, if possible uncorked to get a bit of additional performance. The main thing I noticed from 2016 to later years sere the sea head rest designs. Now I'll ensure I look on the camera pillars too.

Now I just need the right one to pop up on auto trader 👍
I'd forget using autotrader directly, use the site listed above by George and sign up to their mailing list. You'll get all the autotrader listings but also ones from other websites including Tesla themselves and Tesla often have some well priced cars.
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,280
1,085
Uk
Now I'll ensure I look on the camera pillars too.

A 75D S will have plenty of range, but far more importantly make 100% sure you get a car with AP 2.0 hardware, and if possible one with 'FSD' paid for - you may get 'lucky' with FSD as some dealers may have no idea what it means.

When we first got out 2017 AP2.0 Autopilot wad next to useless as Tesla had just split up with mobile eye, if I remember correctly it could barely do lane keeping! But Autopilot really has improved alot, and the very latest build does seem to have reduced phantom braking significantly.

We just did 150 miles+ on the M6/5/4/69 yesterday and Autopilot did 90% of lane changes/driving. I wasn't quite brave enough to let it negotiations the M6 junctions though am sure it would have.

The best bit is the FSD beta software shown off in the US already simply looks amazing and its only a matter of time before we get in Europe.

So if you find the right car (FSD option ticked), by the end of the year you may be able to experience the very cutting edge real world AI neural network implementation......in a car that was made 4 years ago!!! The only other way to experience this level of cutting edge tech is to go to Phenoix and find a Waymo self driving taxi.

For all the mental instability Elon Musk displays I've NEVER seen any manufacturer offer so much retrospective support for their products.

Add in MCU2/CCS charging retrofit, now an option for a battery upgrade, Tesla has done more to keep older cars updated than any other brand. BMW/Audi etc would just rather sell you another brand new car. Tesla really dose deserve praise on this front.
 
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Fly.guy

Member
Feb 11, 2019
88
82
UK
I wouldn’t completely discount the AP1 cars up to 2016. our Oct 2016 MS75 is not the fastest Model S but is still, almost 6 years on, faster off the line than 99% of the rest of the traffic, has the new nose and AP1 is more than good enough for most motorway cruising and is way better than AP2. Also, most of those cars have free for life (of the car) supercharging. Which can be a worthwhile bonus if you do a lot of it...

Our also has the rare as unicorn poo opening glass sunroof - which I personally really like on the days / trips where its viable.
 

gangzoom

Active Member
May 22, 2014
1,280
1,085
Uk
A promise we've been given every year for 4 years.

Gang has also said before now his Model X has been the most unreliable car he's ever owned

And it is, but I would buy it again no questions asked. Am also be keeping it longterm.

If you want reliability buy a Lexus :).
 

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