Once you've ordered your Tesla, you'll be full of expectation ahead of its delivery. The wait can feel like a lifetime, but it can also be filled with anxious moments due to the way Tesla do things. This guide breaks it down into the key facts to help you prepare for what is to come and provides a useful checklist for use on collection.
You should have a Tesla account and within there see your order. This updates periodically to keep you informed of where your car is in the manufacturing process and sets some expectation of delivery date. It is also the place to find contract documentation and upload necessary documents that Tesla needs.
This works generally ok, however most of the content is updated manually and people make mistakes. You may see your delivery date jump forward or back, only to be corrected a few days later. It may also say "in production" for weeks, which doesn't make sense. Don't take anything to heart, treat it as no more than an indicator.
Tesla are also increasingly making cars for inventory and cars get matched up against existing stock so the "in production" status may not occur at all.
Delivery times can vary quite a lot depending on model, time of year, and other factors going on within Tesla. Typically, delivery takes 2-6 weeks for a custom order, with a further 4 weeks if shipped to Europe, Asia etc. Tesla are however increasingly delivering from pre built inventory and delivery in those circumstances can be down to a few days.
Quarter ends tend to be the race to delivery, so if you car is due for delivery in March, June, Sept or Dec you can be sure that Tesla will be doing everything to get it delivered, it's good for their company figures. This does however mean in Europe deliveries are light in January, April, July and October as those cars would be in transit during the last month of the quarter, a situation Tesla likes to minimise.
It's also worth looking at New Inventory cars, even after you've ordered, as Tesla are sometime amendable to swapping your order especially if that means the delivery makes a quarter, whereas your car wouldn't have been delivered in quarter. Be mindful of detail changes that occur all the time with Tesla as a car built 3 months ago may not have the latest hardware versions compared to a car built today.
Some report major issues with finance through Tesla and getting approval, but more to the point it's the communication and how quickly they act that gets people annoyed. People do get refused finance but it's often quite a long way down the line, so chase it up and make sure you get agreement as no news is not always good news.
Look out for the mileage excess payment. This has changed several times and there have been situations where the excess mileage penalty is lower than the difference in monthly payments when opting for a higher mileage deal. In those situations it is cheaper to pick the lowest mileage policy and pay the excess at the end. Check your offer, check its in writing and then decide.
Part ex your car can also be a challenge as Tesla really aren't into the used car business so even Teslas are treated like another make. Offers are very similar to services that will buy your car regardless and often linked to auction houses. Get a price, check the market using our inventory listings if its a Tesla, and shop around to get the best deal.
We would strongly recommend getting a quote before even ordering. For some the insurance is very reasonable, for others it's a non-starter. It's pretty obvious that if you're young, live in a dubious postcode/zip area and are buying the fastest, most expensive car, it's not going to be cheap, but we've also heard of "normal" people getting priced out the market. These cars are often expensive to repair, have been known to be the target of theft and this all adds to the premium.
Also be mindful that Tesla don't have a recognised tracking system and it can be easily defeated. If your insurance asks for a specific standard of tracker, check the Tesla one is covered because in general, it isn't
On the big day, it's worth giving your car a good check over. There should be no problems raising these retrospectively with Tesla, but it's always better to raise them at the time as it removes any doubt however caused, especially useful for paint and trim issues. We've marked these accordingly, and while you could do all the checks before driving away you may just want to just get out and drive. Some faults also take time to appear.
They will almost certainly run through all the paperwork with you carefully anyway, but please check they are correct! It may sound stupid, but check the number plates are correct, front and back both match your insurance and what you expected. Check your name and address are spelt correctly on the forms so the car gets registered correctly.
Check the finance one last time and ensure it all works out. It's not unknown that a deposit has been forgotten and not taken into account.
Check the paintwork for blemishes, damage including dents, stone chips and swirl marks. Look down each side of the car at an angle and try and catch the light so any dents show up.
Check the alloy wheels for any damage, primarily around the rim, but the wheels can also have damage on the spokes.
Check the panel gaps to ensure there are no unusually large or small gaps, and they should match on both sides of the car.
Check panels lie flat. As an example, it's been known for the doors to be slightly proud of the surrounding panels and the exposed edge is prone to damage. Check this along the length of the panel edges as it can align in the middle but be high at one extreme and low at the other as if twisted. Also check around the headlights as some cars have had distorted trim between the bumper and lights. It's worth doing this a couple of times as temperature can have an effect.
Recheck the paint, but this time play attention for defects such as excessive orange peel and buffer marks which tend to only be visible in good light. Tesla allow up to 100 miles to report any issues so if your journey home after collection is longer than this then check either before you leave.
Check the trim. There is a fair bit of decorative bits and bobs which are simply stuck on and hammered into place, primarily around the windows. Check the lines flow.
Check tyre pressures (which can be done using the built-in display).
On the model X, check the front wheels don't touch the wheel arch when applying full lock
Check for any obvious damage to the seats, the plastics, and the kick plates on all four doors and the boot.
Check any ordered accessories are present. You should at least have a UMC charger with appropriate adapters.
Check mileage. It should be relatively low at no higher than 50 miles if new.
Check all the controls including window operation work as expected. Check any options work including heated rear seats, sun roof, and cornering lights if fitted.
Check music from a variety of sources. Ensure DAB stations can be found. Check USB music plays without interference.
If you have ordered autopilot, check if has calibrated after about 100 miles, ideally on motorways.
Check for vibrations and excessive wind noise from the car.
Check you can charge the car.
If everything is fine, enjoy your car. If not, then make a list and raise witht he service centre.
There is some debate whether Tesla still run a Certified Pre Owned or CPO programme. We believe they do as they still check the car mechanically and they issue a fresh warranty, however they don't try to bring the car back to an 'as new' condition with regard to body work and interior. Tesla even have option codes in their data streams indicating whether the CPO checks have been completed. Irrespective of whether its a CPO or just a used car, there are still some reasonable precautions to take
A lot of the checklist is inspecting these cosmetic issues and clearly given their change in policy you can't expect the car to be fault free, but you can still do the checks and compare them to any photographs you have been sent prior to purchase. It is only reasonable that the car is not in a worse state than the evidence you were proided at the time of ordering.
Many of Teslas options or variations are hard to determine just by looking at the car. For instance which version of autopilot hardware does it have, does it have unlimited super charging etc. While some of this is clear from the age, it not foolproof.
We offer a facility where the owner of the car can safely log in and get a full breakdown of all the options on the car so long as the car is on their myTesla account. This will provide a detailed configuration of the car. Otherwise we suggest you get any options that are important to you in writing before purchase.