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Thinking of buying a used performance Model S, and have some questions

tangent

Member
Feb 2, 2018
122
64
Fairfax, VA
Hi, I am currently a happy Model X owner, and am thinking of getting a used Model S too, but the ideal price point would be around $35k for a performance model. That basically means I would probably look into model year around 2013 / 2014 with 60k+ miles. Without knowing the quality and durability of Model S of that age, I wonder if any one should share your thoughts and experience about the following:

  1. What kind of battery degradation would I generally see with the Model S of that age, and generally when the Model S may need a new battery?
  2. For a performance model of the age, any issues with the drive train/power train?
  3. How much maintenance/fixes an old Model S would incur from you experience?
I would imagine when it comes to a used car, there are a lot of wildcards out there, I am just looking for a ballpark idea to anticipate my ownership experience.

Thanks!
 

AEdennis

Active Member
Jul 23, 2013
2,719
938
Hi, I am currently a happy Model X owner, and am thinking of getting a used Model S too, but the ideal price point would be around $35k for a performance model. That basically means I would probably look into model year around 2013 / 2014 with 60k+ miles. Without knowing the quality and durability of Model S of that age, I wonder if any one should share your thoughts and experience about the following:

  1. What kind of battery degradation would I generally see with the Model S of that age, and generally when the Model S may need a new battery?
  2. For a performance model of the age, any issues with the drive train/power train?
  3. How much maintenance/fixes an old Model S would incur from you experience?
I would imagine when it comes to a used car, there are a lot of wildcards out there, I am just looking for a ballpark idea to anticipate my ownership experience.

Thanks!

I don't have a Performance S85, but do have a 2013 S85 with 119k miles. Range Charge is around 243, and was at 265 brand new.

I've had TWO drive train swaps under warranty and still have the 8 year, unlimited mile warranty on the drive train.

Out of warranty repairs are expensive NOW because of the hourly rate that Tesla charges... But it IS an out of warranty luxury car, and I had the same things with the older BMWs that I had owned in the past.
 
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amiral_sub

Member
Sep 20, 2019
134
88
Bordeaux, France
I just bought a 2013 P85+ last week, very happy with this car. It had the drive unit replaced last year under warranty. Wonderful and beautiful car. I think it is the best sedan of history !
 
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Retrospected

Member
Sep 29, 2017
128
52
New Hampshire
I bought my used 2013 P85 in late 2017, where it had 85xxx miles. During that time I have had: 2 rear door handles replaced (through EG),
Coolant pumps replaced (though tesla, out of warranty), TPMS.. sensors (the things that sense TPMS readings/ through tesla), and most recently the entirety of the battery (through tesla, in warranty). I had previously about 242 miles of range at 100%, but with the new battery pack I'm back to 254miles at 100%. Unfortunately they did not have 90kW battery packs, so they replaced it with a "new" 85kW pack. Hope some of this info helps!
 
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XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,141
1,794
SWFL | Vegas
Fit and finish (int. & ext.), door handle present problems sorted, seat material improvement, headlights LED from HID, coolant pump issues, drive unit failures addressed. (new cars have M3 motors)
 
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Doanster1

Member
Feb 14, 2018
985
532
Oregon
I see reports that 2012/2013 drive unit needs frequent replacements. Do 2014 models have better DUs?
Some 2014 models still suffered from the known milling noise issue. The rear DU in my P85D was replaced at ~55K miles. Other things replaced include 3/4 orig door handles, rear lift gate struts, and rear window regulator.
Battery/range answers aren’t going to help you much because it’s completely dependent on how the previous owner(s) treated it in terms of charging habits. Just gotta investigate each possible candidate individually as they come up on your radar.
 
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glide

Active Member
Jun 6, 2018
3,319
3,454
USA
Do you have some specific examples regarding how its worlds better? I'm just curious to know what the differences are.

Yes - they have done a lot with insulation and soundproofing. The wind/road noise on an early model is very noticeable.

Here is a test for you: close the door of a pre-2015 model and a 2019 model. You can literally hear the difference.

General fitment tolerances seem to be improved as well.

Build quality is not Tesla’s strong suit even in 2019. Back in 2013 it was waaaaay worse.
 

David_Cary

Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
1,231
763
Cary, NC
I had a friend with a 13 or 14 p85+. It was noticeably different from my 2015 70D.
His felt loose which was probably road noise.
The interior was borderline "kit car" quality compared to mine. Seats weren't great.
Overall my car was so much better in every way - even if a little slower. It was also a lot cheaper.
In the $30ks - I would be getting a 3 or something more like a 2015 non P.
 
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LoL Rick

Like Buttah
Apr 21, 2014
942
1,224
Land O Lakes, FL
I have owned mine since new, in June of 2014. I've also driven a lot of Model S from that era including loaners and friends' cars. They are not all bad. I've driven a couple that were extraordinarily good. The thing that you will see the most from the early years is variability. Some cars have continual problems and some have none. Some cars fit together really well and some are terrible. So you will want to be sure to see the car in person and drive it before making a decision. It would be a bad idea to buy one sight unseen from Tesla's used car program. You also need to experience the seats and decide for yourself if they fit you since a lot of people complained about the gen 1 seats.

As far as repairs, you need to be prepared to spend 4 to 5 thousand dollars at the drop of a hat if something major like the A/C compressor or the MCU goes out. That is not to say that it will happen. There are plenty of examples of cars out there who very high mileage and no high-dollar repairs. But you need to be prepared for such an event.

About the battery packs, the very early ones (Rev A) had a fair number of problems as well as a limited supercharging rate. But for the years in the range that you are looking for that will not be a problem. The 85 packs from 2014 through the end of the 85 era are generally very good. Of course you will want to verify the rated range at 100% for any car that you consider because variability is the key here. On the other hand, the early 90 packs are well known to suffer pretty bad degradation so you should stick with the 85s.
  1. What kind of battery degradation would I generally see with the Model S of that age, and generally when the Model S may need a new battery? Addressed above, but just want to add that you should not expect to replace the battery pack.
  2. For a performance model of the age, any issues with the drive train/power train? The milling sound affected a lot of the drive units and they were replaced under warranty. It took 3 or 4 revisions for them to get it right but eventually they did. Mine was replaced once and has been quiet for roughly 50K miles.
  3. How much maintenance/fixes an old Model S would incur from you experience? A common issue is rust on the axle splines and rear hubs. I had this happen and paid $500 to have it cleaned up and lubricated rather than $3500 for new half-shafts. It has been fine for 40K miles since then. Note that this issue is not covered under the 8 year battery & drive unit (not drive train!) warranty. Suspensions will get tired and need to be rebuilt with new control arms and bushings as the car ages. Mine is pretty much ready for that at 94K miles. Bubbles in the touchscreen are fairly common, requiring a screen replacement. Complete MCU failures are known to happen as well, although it is unclear exactly how common they are. Door handles are probably the best known problem and cost $900 per replacement. However, more recently there are parts available to repair the wire harness and paddle gears so that full assembly replacement is usually not required anymore.
 
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