When the Model 3 originally debuted, it was hailed as the beginning of a trend of affordable electric vehicles. A new one, though, still carries a steep price tag.
That’s why buying second-hand is a great idea. But there are a few things you should look out for before making your purchase.
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Check the Odometer
Teslas are new vehicles, meaning only a few are on the used car market. However, when you find one, it is crucial to take your time with the inspection and ask the right questions.
An excellent place to start is by asking the seller about their service history and if they have receipts for any work done. It is crucial if the vehicle has been in an accident, as you will want to know who was responsible for the damage.
Also, check the odometer and ensure it is accurate (it is not uncommon for Teslas to “fudge” their odometers). You should also test the brakes in both standard and low modes, as they are different from what you will find on other cars and must feel smooth and natural.
Lastly, ensure the parking brake is working (it’s easy to forget as it is hidden in a small lever on the driver’s side door). It can be perilous, so finding an incline and pushing down hard to see that it holds the car is an actual test.
Check the Glass Roof
Tesla vehicles capture the imagination of many people looking for something different in their next car. But, if you are looking at buying one, there are things you should look out for before you buy it.
There are a few issues that you need to check on a used Tesla Model 3. Firstly, if the car has been in an accident, it is crucial to ensure that any repair work has been done well. It is also worth checking that the damage has not been caused to areas likely exposed to salt and other weather conditions.
The next thing you need to check is the battery condition. There are no complex numbers for predicting how long an EV battery will last, but the current thinking is that it can go for about 200,000 miles without significant degradation.
It is worth pointing out that Tesla offers an extended warranty on their used cars. However, this does not apply to third-party sellers. You must contact the seller directly to see how much coverage is available on a used Tesla.
Check the Tires
Unlike many other vehicles that have a lot of issues with their suspension, the Model 3 seems fairly robust; however, if the car you’re test driving has a clunking or creaking sound when going over bumps or when changing from decelerating to acceleration, it could indicate that the fore links are failing. You should also check for a squealing sound when braking, which may indicate that the brake pads have worn out and are starting to rub on the discs.
Some suggest limiting your visits to Superchargers, as they can speed up degradation if you want the best battery performance. While this may be true for some people, it is still worth checking that the brakes work well.
Another thing to look out for is if the vehicle has been washed recently. Some sellers wash cars to hide bodywork issues that must be repaired. If you notice this when inspecting the Tesla, it’s worth asking if the owner has any problems with the car that still need to be fixed.
Check the Battery
As with any used car, it’s always best to physically inspect any Model 3 you consider buying. Try to find a local Tesla shop with experience handling and assessing EVs that will be happy to take on the task of doing so.
Another thing to check is the condition of the battery. You can do this by asking the seller to bring it to a Supercharging station and let it charge up to 100%. They should also be able to supply receipts for any work carried out on the battery.
You can also ask the owner to put it into eco mode and have it report to recurrent how much range it has on a full charge. It will give you a better idea of how the battery performs under different conditions.
You should be aware that all used Teslas, regardless of whether they are CPO, have a minimum of 8 years or 193,000 km (120,000 miles) of warranty left from the production date. That warranty does not transfer to new owners, but it is worth checking out as it should cover many of the normal wear and tear issues that can occur.
Check the Doors
One of the most common criticisms of Tesla cars is their relatively low panel fit and finish standard. It can result in significant gaps and paint runs, which can be costly. It’s a good idea to ask the owner/seller if they have any receipts for body work done on the vehicle and to see if any parts are missing.
Another issue that can occur with the Model 3 is corrosion. The car was made from aluminum, so it’s susceptible to rust, and checking for any signs is essential. If the owner/seller has washed the vehicle before you arrive, be wary – this could be an attempt to hide rust or other problems.
Lastly, be sure to find out whether the car you’re interested in has the free supercharging capability, and make sure it can do so at the stations where you plan on driving. The cost of using a supercharger can add up very quickly, and it’s worth bearing this in mind when looking at a used car.