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Used Model S vs New Model Y

My wife and I currently have a model 3, and it has been amazing so far. We have over 90k miles on it and we love it. However, generally she uses the car to go to her work which is farther away, and I drive our old Mazda CX9 to work. We have been thinking of getting a model Y, but 60k is hard to justify for the amount of driving that I do.

I would love to hear opinions about getting an older Model S. I have seen them available for between 30k and 40k. That is a lot more manageable for us. There is one specific car that is a re-built title even…will I regret it?

Environmentally speaking, it is probably better to buy a used car as well.

I guess the big question is this: How are old Model S holding up? Will they go to 300k miles?

Anyway, thanks for any advice!


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
I'd avoid the early cars, 2012-2014. Their battery and drive unit warranties are expired or soon to be and there were many more common issues with the earlier VINs.

Mid-2015 on up appear to be more reliable. I have 128,000 miles on my late 2016 and it's been very reliable and cheap to maintain.

You definitely don't want a salvage title. Tesla blackballs them, won't sell you parts, disables supercharging access, etc etc.


Jul 30, 2015
Denver, CO
Agree with @ucmndd on salvage, and on the early ones . I have a Jan 2015 MS and it too has had little go wrong with it.

Like any vehicle you can be lucky or unlucky with the specific car, and in most cases the way the prior owner treated it will have a huge impact on it's longevity. Sadly Tesla would not give you service history in the past, I doubt that has changed. Salvage title - not for me, the people who build their own from these I have great respect for, but as a used purchase I'd be very nervous.
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Do you need to tow at all? Use a bike rack? Is warranty important to you? If yes to any of these, I'd say go with the MY.

If you do plan to keep it longer, like 300k miles, the upfront cost difference won't be a real factor over its lifespan. Do you plan on financing? The super low rates on a new MY might help offset some of the up front costs. I think you can get 1.49% on a new one.

The MY will likely be Tesla's best selling car for the next few years so easy to resell if you want and a big market for them. Downside is the long wait for a new one.

Given what you want to spend, you are looking for a pretty old Model S so I'd likely pass. Out of warranty costs can be high for repairs. Seems like the cars themselves will go the distance but things like touch screen replacements can be spendy.
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I recently bought a used 2016.5 P100D (albeit from a dealer) and was able to purchase an x-care warranty after purchase from them directly. They were able to go 10 more years and 125k more miles from the date of purchase. I’m assuming they would have done the same if I had purchased a vehicle from a private party. There is a 1k mile and 1 month waiting period for the warranty to start once it’s purchased.

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