Tips for Buying Used Model S Tesla for Sale

By Mike Richards Updated: 07/22/2018 Posted: 11/29/2017

When the Tesla came out, it immediately turned heads. It was a luxury car, but it was a luxury car that ran on electricity – entirely. In addition, Tesla Model S buyers had access to a cross-country network of fast electric Superchargers.

For those unfamiliar with the Model S, it has the designation of a luxury sedan but rather than a trunk, it has a hatchback with the option of a rear-facing third-row seat for children. Instead of an engine up front like a traditional luxury sedan, the Model S features a trunk.

If you planning to buy used Tesla Model S, there are a few things you should know first. We’ll go over some of these things below about used Model S.

First Generation Tesla – 2012 Tesla Model S

In December of 2012, Tesla began to deliver production 2013 models available to ordinary drivers, without Performance or Signature badges. The Model S 60 became available with a range of around 210 miles. There were also a limited number of 40 kWh cars with a139-mile range. However, those cars could be expanded for a further fee. The early Signature Performance was named the P85+, and the base Model S was the 85.


In 2014, Tesla changed the lineup to a huge extent. This included the addition of all-wheel drive models that had advanced safety features. The updates looked at the two primary criticisms from the first-gen cars, namely lack of all-wheel drive and the lack of modern safety features.

Autopilot Safety Features

When the Model S came out, it didn’t have the typical safety features of other luxury cars. There are no forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, or blind-spot monitoring. However, Tesla later bundled these together in a set of features called Autopilot.

The problem was that the name made people assume the system allowed just that, the ability to drive while doing other things. Many distracted driving accidents occurred before of it. As such, the 2016 Model S removed Autopilot and instead put in a second-generation system with more sensors and restrictions.


While most Tesla models before 2017 are allowed free access to the nationwide network of Superchargers, there are exceptions with the 2013 40 kWh models as well as early 60 kWh models whose owners didn’t pay for access. If one of those cars is on your radar, it’s best to contact Tesla to make sure that Supercharging is available. If not, it may or may not be worth buying, even on a used basis.


Tesla provides a four-year or 50,000-mile warranty on its used Model S models, but they must have been purchased through the company. If you choose to buy from a dealer or private owner, you will not gain access to the warranty. Also, the battery packs have an eight-year or 125,000-mile warranty provided they are 85 kWh or above. These do transfer to a second owner so that most used buyers will be protected on that front.


As far as options go, some of the things to consider with a used Tesla are whether you’d use a third-row seat, twin chargers, sports seats, or air suspension. These options only come on certain cars, so you need to do your homework. You can also look into the electronically controlled sunroof, but be aware it has no sun shade so heat can build up quickly.

Pricing on Used Model S

If you look on the Tesla site, a used Model S can start at around $50,000. This will net you a 60-kWh version with about 30,000 miles or an 85 kWh version with about 40,000 miles. Most of these cars are rear-wheel drive vehicles that were traded in for the all-wheel drive version with Autopilot. If you prefer an all-wheel drive Tesla, you’re likely going to be paying tens of thousands more.

One of the best options is a rear-wheel drive 85 for around $50,000, but they aren’t always available. However, this particular model has a larger battery and longer power potential. The 85 and 85D also have the most extended range except for the 90D and P100D, which are not seen on a regular basis on the used Tesla market.

All in all, the Tesla Model S is a unique and groundbreaking car and might be perfect for someone looking to stand out and drive something eco-friendly. However, prices are high enough to be prohibitive for most looking at used cars. This is one of the best used electric cars for sale.