Is It a Bad Idea to Buy a Used Tesla? (A 2023 Guide)

Going for a used car is not easy; you need a lot of research and consultation to ensure your purchase makes the best value for your money. Cars, especially electric ones, are big assets. Making any mistake in their selection can cost you far more over time than you have saved. And Teslas are no different. If you are planning to buy a used Tesla, you need to be careful—these vehicles bear a hefty price tag even when they are secondhand!

It might be a bad idea to buy a used Tesla only if the disadvantages are too big a deal for you. Likewise, you need to be sure that the car is free from defects to the greatest extent. There also exist some advantages of buying a used Tesla that can make it a good idea instead.

4 Pros of Buying a Used Tesla

Less Price

Like all other brands, Teslas are cheaper to buy when in use. You do not have to pay more for the older models. Moreover, the older the model is, you can expect a further decrement in the price. To give you an idea, the standard-range 2023 Model 3 costs around $45,000, while the secondhand 2019 model can cost as low as $30,000. Much depends on the condition of the vehicle too.


Plenty of Choices

Tesla holds a large share in the pool of used electric cars. If you decide to buy a secondhand Tesla, you will be very fortunate to have a wide variety of options. The Tesla Model 3 alone makes up between 40 to 50% of the used cars market. Longer lead times in order manufacturing and the rising popularity of Tesla could be the reasons. This situation can benefit you in several ways. If you are not satisfied with one used Tesla, you can easily get another one at a competitive price.

Good Resale

Tesla is a trending brand, meaning that it is expected to hold a large market in the future; hence, its resale value will remain intact. The company currently holds 85% market share—investing in its products is certainly not leading to any significant loss. However, some reports suggest that this share percentage is decreasing as of late 2022, but as long as it is above 50%, the figure is still huge.


Teslas are the “cars of steel” in the world of electric vehicles; they are safe and depreciate at a slower rate, both in terms of value and quality. These cars are built to last longer and are continuously improving and innovated since day one. If maintained well, Tesla cars can last easily for up to 400,000 miles! Whether you buy an old vehicle or a new one, you will get these essential benefits for sure.


4 Cons of Buying a Used Tesla

Battery Degradation

EV batteries deteriorate over time as they are charged and discharged. Unfortunately, this means that used Tesla cars have degraded batteries to some extent. And since batteries are the most expensive replaceable parts in an electric car, they are the chief concern when going for a secondhand Tesla. (You can expect to pay up to $22,500 for a brand-new Tesla battery! Tesla batteries can last between 300,000 to 500,000 miles on average. The more a car is driven, the worse off its battery would be. Hence, if you opt for a used Tesla, you must also prepare to purchase a battery earlier than expected.

Repair Costs

Used Tesla cars generally have some kind of defects incurred mainly because of old age and possible accidents. And since Teslas are notorious for high fixing costs, saving money on a brand-new car might not make any difference. On average, Teslas have a higher repair cost than other EV brands. It is estimated that the average maintenance cost for Tesla cars is around $832 a year, whereas the same for other electric cars is only $652. However, note that Teslas are among some of the safest EVs on the roads. If you are buying a secondhand Tesla, chances are, it has never suffered any accident.


Short Warranty Period

Used Tesla cars do not come with a full warranty period. If you are going for a secondhand Tesla, you would either get fewer years of warranty or not get it. Tesla does not offer a lifetime warranty to its customers: it only provides a warranty with 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Nevertheless, there is a relief in terms of the battery warranty: Tesla offers up to 8 years and 150,000 miles warranty for the battery.

Less Featured

Old, used Teslas do not have the features available on the latest models. Hence, you will pay less for the older version, but you will also be deprived of certain cool things. Take the autopilot, for instance. The feature was first introduced in 2014. All Teslas manufactured before September of that year do not have it. If your secondhand Tesla happened to be manufactured before that, you will surely not enjoy the road trip with your car bearing the headache or driving.

What to Look for While Buying a Used Tesla?

  • Body Damage: Observe the dents and paint. Note that small scratches or dents are generally not an issue, but if they are fairly large or deep, the repair cost will be high, and you will also need a professional to do the job.
  • Rust: If there is rust on the body, you should say no to the seller. Rust can “eat” the whole body in no time. You should also check for it over the suspension area.
  • Tires: Tires wear and tear quickly. Generally, they need a replacement every 50,000 miles. Always check the tread and grooves of the tires, and if they are not deep enough, bear in mind that you will have to replace them as soon as possible.
  • Upholstery: You do not need to check for anything except for the overall condition. It is a sign that the car was kept in good condition if it is flawless.
  • Media Control Unit: Make sure the Media Control Unit (MCU) works fine. You are going to use it a lot! The unit is already notorious for causing issues.

Read: What Is Cheaper to Rent Between Tesla and Lamborghini?

How Much Does a Used Tesla Cost?

Model Year Price (US$)
3 2020 62,000
2019 58,000
2018 52,000
S 2020 87,000
2019 74,000
2018 62,000
Y 2020 69,000
X 2020 99,000
2019 98,000
2018 98,000


Model Year Price (US$)  Range
3 2020 62,000 250 to 330
2019 58,000 240 to 310
2018 52,000 220 to 310
S 2020 87,000 348
2019 74,000 270 to 335
2018 62,000 249 to 315
Y 2020 69,000 316
X 2020 99,000 305 to 325
2019 98,000 289 to 325
2018 98,000 237 to 295


Which Used Tesla Model Is the Best?

Choosing the best Tesla in use depends upon several factors and personal choice. However, the Model 3 is the most recommended Tesla by various sources. The primary reason is the price: no other secondhand Tesla is going to cost such low. Similarly, it is a popular car and is expected to keep its market value for a long. It has all possible features the Tesla brand is known for: high torque, performance handling, awesome range, and supercharger support, to name a few.


To decide whether a used tesla is a good option for you. Consider these three things:

  1. Price – Compare prices of used Tesla models in your area to find the best deal.
  2. Market value/Resale value – Consider the model’s resale value to ensure you are making a good investment.
  3. Purpose of buying – Decide whether you need a luxury car or a practical one.
  4. Budget – Set a budget and stick to it.
  5. Mileage and condition of the car – Check the mileage and overall condition of the car to gauge its longevity.
  6. Features and options important to you – Consider which features and options are most important, such as autopilot, charging speed, and interior design.
  7. Service history and maintenance records – Check the car’s service history to ensure it has been well-maintained.
  8. Any known issues or recalls for the model – Research any known issues or recalls for the specific model you are considering.
  9. Availability of charging infrastructure in your area – Make sure there is adequate charging infrastructure in your area.
  10. Warranty and service plans available for the used car- Check the available warranty and service plans for the used car.

Keep in mind that Tesla Model S and Model X are luxury vehicles, so they will have a higher price point than the Model 3 and Model Y. However, they also have a higher market value and resale value. Ultimately, the best-used Tesla model for you will depend on your budget, needs, and preferences. It is always recommended to have a professional inspection before finalizing the purchase.

So, Is It a Bad Idea to Buy a Used Tesla?

It depends upon several factors and the analysis of the Teslas available before one can conclude it to be a bad idea. By and large, if the cons of buying a used Tesla do not matter to the purchaser, it is certainly not a bad idea to go for it. Do not forget that there are pros too. You can make a good tradeoff and save money if you happen to be lucky to get a secondhand Tesla in good condition. In simple words, it is no different from buying any other used car—you just have to make a good analysis and then decide.

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