Tesla delivery guide and check-list

Last updated 05-Jan-2023

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 check-list for use on collection.


You should have a Tesla account already as part of the ordering process. Within there you will see your order. This updates periodically to keep you informed of where your car is in the odering process and sets some expectation of delivery date. It is also the place to find contract documentation and upload the necessary documents that Tesla needs.

Delivery timescales

Delivery times can vary quite a lot depending on model, time of year, and other factors going on within Tesla. There are a few key points to recognise about the way Tesla does things:


Typical emails when ordering a new car include the following although this will vary depending on how quickly your car arrives and whether you have opted for a trade in or finance :

  • An order thank you - almost immediately after ordering
  • Delivery next steps - typically same day as order
  • Trade in request acknowledgement - varies
  • Finance approved - varies
  • Review invoice and pay balance - up to a few weeks before delivery
  • Your registration - up to a few weeks before delivery
  • Delivery appointment - up to a few weeks before delivery
  • Delivery appointment reminder - a few days before delivery
  • Tesla ownership resources - day of delivery
  • Your Tesla = feedback request - day of delivery

Hidden VIN allocaion

Many people are desperate to find their VIN before being formally told. VIN allocation usually happens not long after the boat has departed (for deliverines where the cars are shipped), and the VIN can often first be seen in hidden data on your account. The easiest way to find this information is to follow the link below once you have logged into your Tesla account on a web broswer.


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 Tesla's are treated like another make. Offers are very similar to companies that will buy your car for cash and who are often linked to auction houses.


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 as it is not a monitored system which is usually required. Many still accept the Tesla system but it is worth confirming with your insurer and keep a record of any agreement.

Before collection

It's worth taking a look at the user manual or guide and if this can't be found on the Tesla website, we include copies on our website for all the models. Tesla also have a number of video guides on their web site which can be watched.

Before collection, install the Tesla Application on your smart phone.

And of course, make provision to pay for the car as necessary!

The BIG day

On the big day, it's worth giving your new car a good check over. There can be problems raising these retrospectively with Tesla, so it's always better to raise them at the time as it removes any doubt however caused, especially useful for paint and trim issues as Tesla can easily claim they occurred after you picked up the car. We've marked these checks 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.

Tesla are increasingly saying some issues are within tolerance although they don't publish a set of tolerances. These can include slightly blemishes, alignment issues and water in lights, and are largely cosmetic. The more worrying aspect of this is they agree issues are warranty at the time of collection and then in some instances reject them when the car is in for repair. We would try and agree in righting any issues will be rectified if you are particularly concerned about them when picking up the car. Even if this is a one-way email to Tesla with the snagging list you have a record that these were the agreed issues that would be subsequently addressed.

For convenience we have created a printable checklist for the collection day that you can take with you or download to your mobile device with the 'before you drive away' points.

If everything is fine, enjoy your car. If not, then make a list and raise with the service centre.

We have also created a list of things to do within a few days of collecting your car to make the experience more enjoyable.

Taking delivery of a used/CPO car

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 check-list 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 provided at the time of ordering.

Taking delivery of a used car at an independent dealer or privately.

Many of Tesla's 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 fool-proof.

We provide a guide on how to check which features a Tesla has to help cross check what an advertiser says as some dealers sadly get it wrong. Also check our advice on Tesla changing the specification of cars which is included in our used car buyers guides.

Check status of free supercharging and get this in writing if the car is meant to have it.

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