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Things to Consider When Buying a Used Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by sd11, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. sd11

    sd11 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Maryland
    Hello,

    Long time lurker of the forum - been in love with the Model S since 2012. My father recently came across an opportunity to buy a used 2012 P85 with <10000 miles on it for $60,000. After searching through some threads, I still do not feel like I have a confident grasp of everything that needs to be taken into account when buying a used Model S.

    Here's a few things I plan on doing:
    * Looking at the VIN and recall work done
    * Taking it to a service center (Maybe?)
    * CARFAX

    If there's any suggestions that you have I'd really appreciate it!

    Thanks for reading!

    sd11
     
  2. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    Location:
    New York
    Been discussed so many times over and over again... To summarize don't buy a used car (Model S or not) without doing the following:

    1. Look up the CarFax for any obvious accident damage reported.
    As a bonus you get to know the in service date and whether car was bought "new" or as an inventory "demonstration" vehicle based on the mileage of the car when it was titled. You also get to know how many past owners the car has had.

    2. Take the car to a high end body shop for a Pre Purchase Inspection.
    Will cost you $100-$150 but you will have the peace of mind knowing that the car has not had body panels repainted or accident damage that was poorly repaired. Have them put the car up on a lift and inspect the underside of the car for damage as well, especially since the battery pack is there.

    3. Refuse to accept delivery of a car until you've been able to go over the entire service and repair history.
    If you are buying from a private party, go with the original owner to a Tesla service center and ask to review the car's entire service history. Whatever problems or issues with the car, you are about to own them so better know what the past service history has been. If it is a CPO car ask them to e-mail you the full service history of the car. Also keep in mind that if you are buying from a private party with an Extended Warranty, Tesla may refuse Extended warranty repairs if the car has not been regularly serviced according to how the Extended Warranty contract is written. In any case if you are buying a used Model S and you find out the owner has not maintained the car according to the Tesla recommended maintenance schedule, that's useful information to know and you will not know that unless you pull up the service history of the car. Also might as well pay the $600 and have Tesla perform the next "service" as they will then go over the entire car so it is almost like a Pre Purchase Inspection.

    That's really all I can think of and this is what we plan to do when we buy our Model S. Inability to exercise items #2 or #3 would be a huge red flag for us as if the seller has nothing to hide, why would they be against it...
     
  3. theganjaguru

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    La Jolla, CA
    Don't trust carfax

    I recently sold my truck (which had never been in an accident). Carfax made the process a nightmare. Turns out that they reported my truck as a total loss. I didn't find this out until someone contacted me via autotrader to ask how/why I thought I could ask so much for a salvage title. This person sent a screen shot along with their message. Not being one to believe them, I purchased a carfax report on my truck and sure enough it came back as a total loss.

    I contacted carfax and they put me on hold and told me that, they had most definitely "confirmed" that they were indeed correct, my truck (hat had never been in an accident) was definitely a total loss. Carfax then refused to provide the source of their information (due to "financial contracts"). They sent me an email and put me in touch with the national insurance crime bureau..

    Funny enough was the fact that the language in the email sent from carfax stated that carfax does not verify the information they have and use to provide vehicle history!!!! But I digress..

    My point is after three weeks, carfax finally corrected report. After hundreds of potential buyers walked on my truck after seeing the bogus carfax report. If you want to check a vehicle history report, go to NICB.org and use their FREE vin check.

    There are literally thousands of complaints of carfax backdating vehicle history reports or making false reports on clean vehicles because they use unverified data! My personal opinion is that dealerships send cars that have known to have accidents to auction where they are sold cheap. Carfax doesn't update the records on these cars for up to a year and dealers know this. Thus they can sell a vehicle with a "clean" history for top dollar. From there carfax backdates the report.. Most people never know because most people never sell a second hand car. Don't believe me? Just check out this complaint board on carfax. DON'T TRUST CARFAX
    Top 536 Complaints and Reviews about Carfax
     
  4. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    Obviously CarFax should never be trusted as the sole method of due diligence. It should be used in conjunction with other methods of discovery about the car you are about to buy. CarFax provides a baseline in the due diligence process by revealing obvious accident claims, establish the initial in service date for the car, and gives you some idea about how many past owners the car has had. All very useful information to know. Though errors and omissions are always possible it is by far the most comprehensive publicly accessible source of information and a good starting point.

    CarFax information needs to be corroborated and this is where going over the service records of the car along with a pre purchase inspection at a body shop comes in.

     
  5. theganjaguru

    Joined:
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    Why pay to use carfax when you can get the same information from one of the main sources carfax uses FOR FREE?
    VinCheck
     
  6. sd11

    sd11 New Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions! I appreciate it!
     
  7. MsElectric

    MsElectric Active Member

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    Except VinCheck only covers salvage and reports of theft.

    The issue with CarFax is that many use it to check cars before purchase so even in cases where there is erroneous information associated with a VIN in CarFax, you should have the current owner resolve that before you buy the car. Otherwise when it comes time to sell the car later any negative CarFax entries are going to depreciate the value of the car. I know when we look to buy a car we don't even bother looking at any car that has had accident damage. Granted the damage is sometimes minimal but all things equal we'd rather buy a car that has not been in an accident.

    CarFax provides a basic starting point but there is nothing like having a used car inspected by a professional at a body shop before purchase.
     
  8. Olle

    Olle Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I have seen used 85s and even 60s listed as P85s and more often than not, half equipped cars are advertised as "fully loaded". Therefore, make sure to read the VIN decoder to check that you are buying the correct model and that it in fact has its advertised options.

    Decoding Tesla Model S VINs
     

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