Selling a Tesla

Last updated 05-Jan-2023

Mainstream Tesla's have been around now for several years and more and more owners will now be looking to sell their Tesla, even if that is just so they can buy a new model. Tesla are not known for generous part exchange prices on their cars and so owners are increasingly looking for alternative ways to sell their existing car. Selling a car differs from country to country, however there are some general rules that are useful when it comes to selling a Tesla, how to communicate clearly the options the car has, and how to remove your details from the car when you finally wave it goodbye.

Some of the things we suggest are just the sellers equivalent of what to look for when buying a car, and covered in our guide to buying a used Tesla.

Where to sell

There are a number of ways you can sell your car, the most typical methods are:

We will focus on these last options. The earlier options regarding selling into the trade simply require you to follow their procedures. We would however advise against selling to any trader who you feel uncomfortable with or seems to know little about the cars.

Sale or return

When looking for a dealer to operate on a sale or return basis we suggest looking at the dealers who have a lot of inventory of a similar type. A number of dealers have set up specialising in Tesla or EVs and these will appreciate the value of the car better and be able to advise any potential buyer easing the sales process.

We have however come across a number of so called dealers who simply operate from their driveway and the service they offer is no more than writing a good advert for you and taking the initial phone calls. Some get a following on owners groups but in practice they offer no increased value to the buyer or the seller, and charge a commission for doing so. Tesla cars are popular and when priced correctly they sell well. They will claim to get more money than selling to an auction house, but they rarely achieve more money after fees are deducted than if you sold directly to the public with a well written advert.

We would therefore recommend a dealer with a forecourt, service facilities so they can prepare the car professionally and are approved to offer credit. Buyers will pay a premium on a $30k+ purchase for a true dealers facilities compared to buying from a driveway. Check the website of the dealer and look for reviews on their trading activities for help in establishing how reputable they are. We would also use Google maps street view to see their premises. If you would not buy a car from them, why would you trust them to sell your car?

Fees are typically $2-3k, sometimes less on cheaper cars, but remember older cars may need more preparation and some form of warranty to give buyers confidence, all of which will also be deducted from the sale price but should still result in a higher sale price.

What is it worth?

The price of the car is what somebody is willing to pay. You may see adverts for cars similar to yours for more than you thought but that price may not be achieved, and they may have benefits that you don't offer, such as warranty, part exchange, finance, or features such as full self driving.

To work out a rough figure you can use our guide to Tesla depreciation and current value. Simply find the nearest comparable car model to the one you have and you will see the current valuation and market. Then apply some simple adjustments based on condition, features etc. These are advertised figures so expect to sell for slightly less to a dealer.

Selling privately.

When selling privately there are a few key steps to remember:

When sold

If you have agreed a sale then there are a few steps we'd recommend on top of any best practice for selling cars in your country. This list is to be seen in addition to general best practice when selling a car where you live:

We also suggest following our guide to resetting your Tesla and removing it from your account.

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