Tesla Model 3 Ultimate Buyers Guide

Last updated 12-Jul-2024

The Tesla Model 3 was launched in 2017 and gradually started rolling out to different countries. The model was Teslas first genuinely high volume model and there are now many thousands of used examples on the market in many countries. In late 2020 it went through a fairly significant update, and then in late 2023 Tesla revealed the "Highland" update which moved the quality of the car on and is slowly rolling out around the world. There have also been many variations of the model, both in terms of specification and where in the world they are made. We run through the history, the options, what we think are the common issues and make some suggestions on what to buy.

Why the Model 3?

You may already know the Model 3 is the car you want although it is worth reflecting briefly on the other choices for similar money, especially if you're looking at new or nearly new Model 3 cars.

  • You'd buy a used Model S over a Model 3 if you wanted more space and comfort, although the Model 3 is not small, and the comfort has improved with the Highland model. Whilst one of the initial claims of the Model 3 over the Model S was that it came with "newer technology", this is only partly true. The older Model S can have the MCU (media screen) upgraded if it was of the older type, and Tesla will also upgrade the Autopilot hardware on cars built since late 2016. The 2021 facelift car now has more advanced technology than the Model 3, although these will be more expensive, and in general you will get an older Model S for the equivelent money to a Model 3. The Model 3 is the more agile car, but the Model S, especially with the 100kwh battery packs used since 2017 are surprisingly quick and great cross coutnry cruisers with a more refined suspension.
  • The Model Y offers a lot more practicality over the Model 3 for relatively little extra money, although this is primarily due to the higher sitting positions and the hatch boot. It was hard to argue a case in favour of the Model 3 however the Highland model has changed that up to a point, and it is more nimble to drive and arguably looks better. We would argue that pre Highland, the Model Y is the better car, since the Highland model the choice is harder to make. Of course, value comes into play, so if buying used, the Model 3 does start considerably cheaper than the Model Y which would also sway some people towards it.
  • The Model X is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to the Model 3 being bigger, heavier and more expensive. It's hard to imagine potential Model 3 buyers would consider a Model X. A similar argument can be made for the Cybertruck.

Alternatives

The Model 3 has had an increasing number of competitors over the years. The obvious contenders are the Ford Mach E and Polestar 2 and from 2022 cars such as the BMW i4 and Hyundai ev6 which combine the performance needed to match the Tesla with a step up in refinement and luxury against the original Model 3, something Tesla have addressed with the Highland version. People are still often drawn to Tesla for the supercharging network although in Europe this is increasingly being made available to other makes of EV, and in the US the market is standardising around the Tesla charging connector to allow the same. There is also more widespread public charging and the cars in general have better range, and as a consequence the supercharging advantage is not what it was 5 years ago.

The Highland update in 2023 is still very new and not widely available. Initial impressions suggest significant improvements in refinement with the only downside being the removal of indicator stalks, although some are questioning the performance of the Highland model, especially the Performance model which seems to over heat when driven enthusiastically.

New or used?

The updated Model 3 is now available everywhere with just a few of the old cars left in inventory, and these do not seem to offer particularily good value. Tesla have moved away from discounting but 0% finance is often available, and there are suggestions that Tesla help finance a car with competitive part exchange prices, whilst others feel the Tesla part ex prices are very poor.

When considering new or used, the key differences in summary however are:

History of changes

The Model 3 had a soft facelift in 2021 and a further significant update in 2023, we have a buyers guide for the highland model if this interests you.

The 2021 model year included a number of fairly substantial technical changes plus the notable change to the car window trim:

  • new centre console
  • dark window trim instead of the chrome
  • introduced the heat pump previously seen on the Model Y
  • added a heated steering wheel (to LR and P models, and later the SR+)
  • changes to the front door cards carrying the dash accent onto the door
  • laminated front side windows, although this appears to make no difference to the sound insulation
  • battery size changes although these vary by country

The changes did not all occur at the same time, 2021 model year cars delivered at the end of 2020 may not have all the changes listed. The Made in China LR models still seem to ship with the slightly smaller battery which are sold into right hand drive countries. For a full list of the changes and in which year see our guide to Tesla model 3 history and changes over time.

Further changes occured at the end of 2021 with more battery changes, changes to the MCU processor (introducing the Ryzen MCU), tweaks to the motors etc. These changes are more evolutionary in nature.

The 2023 "Highland" update was more significant:

  • updates to the interior including ventilated seats, more ambient lighting, a brighter MCU and upgraded hifi on the Long Range and Performance model.
  • A revised front, without fog lights, and new thinner headlights.
  • The rear receiving a new lower bumper that follows the DNA of the Model Y
  • Significant improvements in efficiency increasing the range from new tyres and changes tot he shape, although the motors and batteries are unchanged.
  • New wheel designs and some new paint colours.
  • Overall improvements to sound insulation.
  • Updates to the suspension refinement.
  • The Performance model has a new rear motor, sports seats and adaptive suspension.

The new Highland Model 3 is now widely available and such is the level of change, we have a dedicated guide to the Tesla model 3 Highland which goes into more details about the good and bad of the car.

Ultrasonic Sensors (USS) for parking

For many years, Tesla used Ultrasonic Sensors, also known as USS sensors, or parking sensors, to advise drivers of the provimity of objects close up to the car when parking. In a controversial move, Tesla removed these from the car specification and expected drivers to rely on either the backup camera, or a software generated version of parking sensors using the cameras around the car as part of a software suite they call Tesla Vision. The performance of this is still very variable, and a number of features are currently not available on cars without USS.

The key dates are:

Media control unit (MCU) processor

The Media Control unit or MCU came with an Intel processor for many years. This is a power processor and in many regards did not need to be changed, however Tesla changed the procesor to a Ryzen one, similar to the one installed in the 2021+ Model S and Model X. This is the basis for more the latest software development and some features are only available on the Ryzen processor sich as Zoom. On the Model S and Model X, the Ryzen processor has more memory and can play Steam games, and it is possible that this type of technology will also pass to the Model 3 in time.

The key dates are:

Battery size and range

At launch Tesla promised the $35k car which was the standard range, however few cars were delivered in this spec. In some countries compliance cars were made to meet regulatory targets and these are similar to standard range cars and are stripped down and reduced feature cars. The Standard Range Plus, Medium Range, Long Range and Performance cars followed with a combination of rear wheel drive and all wheel drive specs. The Long Range and Performance models were full premium specification with rear heated seats and higher spec sound systems and the larger battery also means it can charge slightly faster. Over time, the premium specification became standard on all cars with the exception of the HiFi. We generally advocate larger batteries, but for a entry level car especially if primarily a local run around car, the SR+ model is perfectly viable for most. As a rsult of the continued improvements to specification we would also advocate a later SR+/RWD model with heated steering wheel and heat pump over an earlier Long Range model without those items.

The Model 3 is one of the more efficient EVs you can buy, but that efficiency also means any changes in inefficiency can be magnified. The WLTP and EPA test results are also fairly limited in what they tell you as the weather, driving style and speed can all cause significant fluctuations in the available range. In cold weather energy is required to heat the cabin and the car efficiency is reduced as the battery warms up, the smaller the battery the larger the proportion of available energy goes to heating, as a result, stop start journeys in winter are worse than a single continual drive, and we've a page dedicated to cold weather driving to provide tips on how to improve range.

The cars with the heat pumop fair better in the winter, and the LFP battery cars with their willingness to charge to 100% can use more of their quoted range in the the real world.

Which model?

When buying new, the choices are now:

We feel the Long Range offers the best value for money on older cars, although if looking at new, the RWD models are a great lower cost entry point. The performance of the LR model can be improved for relatively little money becoming virtually on a par with the M3 Performance, it can also be specified with a tow bar, and has all the features on offer such as heated steering wheels. If looking at older cars we are put off slightly by the SR+ as the specification of the car is lower thant he Long Range, although if budgets are tight, then these are probably the best entry level choice to Tesla ownership, preferable to the early Model S cars which are older and increasingly out of warranty.

Battery codes

Tesla use 2 different conventions for naming batteries. In the car configuration which you can sometimes access through MyTesla and can see when looking at inventory cars they use a code such as BT37, whereas on formal import paperwork they use a code such as EC5D. Websites like TMC often discuss the batteries using the E5CD type codes but potential buyers then have difficulty matching that to inventory in their region as Tesla don't use these codes in their inventory listings. EC5D also decodes as the first E signifies Model 3, 5C is the battery, and D or R represents either dual or rear motor cars. The table below helps match one to the other:

Standard Range+ (or just "Model 3" from late 2021)

  • BT35 which is the Panasonic 53kWh battery with 2170 NCA cells, coded 1/1C
  • BT41 which is the Panasonic 55kWh battery with 2170L NCA cells, coded 1L
  • BTF0 which is the CATL LFP55 55kWh battery with Prismatic LFP cells, coded 6C
  • BTF1 which is the CATL LFP60 62kWh battery with Prismatic LFP cells, coded 6L
Long Range and Performance models
  • BT37 which is the Panasonic 75kWh battery with 2170 NCA cells, coded 1/1C
  • BT38 which is the LG Chem M48 75kWh battery with 2170 NMC cells, coded 5/5C
  • BT42 which is the Panasonic 82kWh battery with 2170L NCA cells, coded 3L
  • BT43 which is the LG Chem M50 79kWh battery with 2170 NMC cells, coded 5L
Each Tesla has a model code which is a combination of various factors including the battery. There are a surprising number of permutations which list in the table below. This is important the model code is relatively easy to find in MyTesla just by looking at the image link of the car. From this model code you then determine the battery code and using the table above the alternative battery code if you so wish.

Model codes

Tesla make changes in several ways to the cars, not all of which are immediately obvious other than through the performance statistics. Tesla use an internal model iteration code to denote the differences and this matches performance, both range, top speed and acceleration to the car, ignoring options such as performance boost and any other software unlocking that may take place. The model code can be relatively easily found for your car.

Below we list the details for each code including the battery, production windows by both date and VIN number. The ranges are approximate and based on a sample, albeit reasonably large, of Tesla production. What we occassionaly see is both overlaping periods of production, even in the same factory, and the odd data mistake. The data is taken directly from Tesla sources but we have seen mistakes before. We have ignored any obvious data outliers. The overlapping production will however be genuine, and care built int he overlap period could be either model if you are trying to determine the model from the VIN/Data range. You may see reference to Fremont production VINs such as 2/230k. The VIN sequence number only runs to 999999 at which point it rolls over, we signify the roll over by "2/xx". The cars themselves are uniquely identified by other digits including a year of manufacture so there should be no confusion.

The model code is relatively easy to find for any car if you have access to the car on MyTesla. We have guides showing how to do this on the website. While there looks to be a lot of versions, not all are applicable to each region, but it does highlight the number of updates Tesla have made over the years.

We are not going to maintain the list below as Tesla are not revealing data about the build on newer cars.

MT301 Standard Range+

Unusually the model code used two different battery codes. The initial battery was the BT3D on VINs 297k to 362k built between March 2019 and April 2019 and were only destined for the NA market. Production from April 2019 and VIN 362k switched to the BT35 battery and included export to Europe. This continued until VIN 573k which was built around Oct 2019.

The EPA range was 240 Miles/386km, or a WLTP 254 Miles/409km WLTP. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT308 Standard Range+

Produced in Fremont using the BT35 battery from Oct 2019 and VIN 425k until VIN 810k in Oct 2020. During this time, production went to the NA market. Europe and APAC also received these cars until Aug 2020 and VINs around the 782k mark. The slightly earlier end date reflects the cyclical nature of Teslas quarterly build phases, with Aug production being delivered in Oct after shipping, effectively the same delivery dates as the NA production.

The EPA range was 250 Miles/402km, or a WLTP 254 Miles/409km WLTP, it's unclear why the EPA rnage grew but the WLTP range stayed unchanged. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT320 Standard Range+

Produced in small numbers in Fremont using the BT35 battery from Oct 2020 and VIN 816k. though to VIN 832k in Nov 2020. None of these appear to have gone to the NA market with most being exported to Europe, and more specifically the UK and Ireland, and a few markets in APAC. These are RHD cars only. The LHD countries in Europe and APAC were being sent cars from China, and NA had moved to a larger battery.

The WLTP range was 267 miles. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT314 Standard Range+

Produced in Fremont using the BT41 battery from Nov 2020 and VIN 838k, through the VIN roll over in June 2021, and on to VIN 101k in Dec 2021. There have been the odd VIN later than this, but may be data errors. During this time, production went to the NA market. Europe also received these cars between Jan 2021 VIN 883k until Feb 2021 VIN 911k. APAC had very few cars although the odd one has been detected.

The EPA range was 263 Miles/423km, or a WLTP 448km WLTP. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT331 Standard Range+

Produced in China using the BT35 battery from Oct 2019 and VIN 0, through to VIN 3k in Jan 2020. Essentially these were some of the initial China built cars using battery packs shipped in. These car were built specifically for the APAC market.

MT332 Standard Range+

Produced in China using the BT35 battery from Feb 2020 and VIN 3k, through to VIN 46k in June 2020. Essentially these were the second batch of China built cars still using the BT35 battery pack.

These car were built specifically for the APAC market.

MT333 Standard Range+

Produced in China using the BT34 battery from Feb 2020 and VIN 5k, through to VIN 130k in Nov 2020. These car were built specifically for the APAC market.

MT336 Standard Range+

Produced in China using the BTF0, the first LFP battery from Oct 2020 and VIN 89k, through to VIN 152k in Dec 2020. These car were shipped to both Europe and APAC, but seemingly on available in LHD countries

The WLTP range was 440km. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT337 Standard Range+

This car was produced both in China and Fremont, in both factories it had the BTF0 battery. China production ran from Dec 2020 and VIN 150k through to Dec 2021 and VIN 476k and went to Europe and APAC.

Fremont production started later and ran from Aug 2021 and VIN 43k (after the roll over) through to Oct 2021 and VIN 96k and went to the NA market.

The WLTP range was 278 Miles or 440km. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.3s, 0-100km/h 5.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT327 Standard Range+

Produced in small numbers in China using the BTF1 battery from Oct 2021 and VIN 381k though to VIN 418k in Nov 2021. These car were built specifically for the APAC market.

MT322 Rear Wheel Drive

With the shift to the slightly larger BTF1 battery, Tesla dropped the Standard Range name and the SR+ became known simply as the Rear Wheel Drive. This car was produced both in China and Fremont.

China production started in Oct 2021 and VIN 382k and continues, the last seen VIN was Dec 2022 VIN 727k. Production goes to Europe and APAC. Fremont production started in Nov 2021 and VIN 101k and continues, the last seen VIN was Dec 2022 VIN 430k. Production goes to NA

The EPA range is 272 Miles, and the WLTP range is 305 Miles or 491km. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.8s, 0-100km/h 6.1s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h. This represents a circa 10% increase in range but a reduction in acceleration performance

MT351 Rear Wheel Drive (Highland)

Sept 2023 saw the announcement of the Highland refresh Model 3 although the availability in different countries varies with production expected in China initially from late Sept and deliveries occuring from late 2023.

The Highland update includes many notable changes, the most controversial of which is the removal of the stalk controls for indicators, headlights, windscreen wiping and autopilot, replacing these with buttons on the steering wheel.

The batteries are unchanged from previous models but improvements to efficiency have resulted in changes to the performance. WLTP range is 513km, up from 491km. It can still do 0-100km/h 6.1s but the top speed is now 201km/h, down from 225km/h.

MT305 Mid Range RWD

The battery was the BT36 and built between Nov 2018 and Feb 2019 in Fremont. VIN numbers range from 130k to about 250k albeit in relatively small numbers. The cars were soley for the NA market.

The EPA range was 264 Miles/425km. It could do 0-60 mph in 5.2s, 0-100km/h 5.5s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT302 Long Range RWD

The battery was the BT37 and built between July 2017 and Sept 2019 in Fremont. VIN numbers range from 0 to about 530k. The majority of the cars were for the NA market although there were small numbers shipped to Europe which were built around April 2019 and cars were also shipped to the Asia Pacific (APAC) region in 2019.

The EPA range was 325 Miles/523km. It could do 0-60 mph in 5s, 0-100km/h 5.3s and had a top speed of 140mph or 225km/h

MT334 Long Range RWD

The battery was the BT38 and built between May 2020 and Dec 2020 in China. VIN numbers range from 33k to about 130k. The cars were only available in APAC.

MT303 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT37 and built between July 2018 and Nov 2019 in Fremont. VIN numbers range from 54k to 590k although there appears to be the odd car with VIN either side of this.

Europe and APAC deliveries started a little later with VIN 198k built in Jan 2019 and stopped with VIN 570k in Oct 2019.

The EPA range was 310 Miles/499km or a WLTP 348 Miles/560km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.4s, 0-100km/h 4.6s and had a top speed of 140mph or 233km/h

MT310 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT37 and built between Oct 2019 and Oct 2020 in Fremont. VIN numbers range from 485k to 812k. The cars were distributed to all markets. This was one of the earlier examples of Tesla starting to shift to a soft model year where major range and feature changes happened near the end of the year with the first deliveries of the new model year happening in the last 6 weeks or so of the previous year.

The EPA range was 322 Miles/518km or a WLTP 348 Miles/560km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.4s, 0-100km/h 4.6s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT315 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT37 and built between Oct 2020 and Nov 2021 in Fremont. VIN numbers range from 815k, go through the VIN roll over and on to 98k. The cars were distributed to all markets, the US mainly until Dec 2020 / VIN 880k, with a handful between Jul and Nov 21. Europe and APAC had deliveries until March /April

The EPA range was 353 Miles or a WLTP 360 Miles/580km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT316 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT38 and built in both Fremont and China. Fremont production was from Oct 2020, VIN 817k through to Apr 2021, VIN 944k and went to Europe. China production was between Jan 2021 and Nov 2021, VIN numbers range from 164k through to 418k and went to Europe. APAC also had China produced cars although these stopped in Aug 2021. No cars went to NA.

The WLTP range was 360 Miles/580km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT321 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT42 and built in Fremont. Production was from Feb 2021, VIN 900k through the VIN roll over and on to Jan 2022, VIN 149k, although few cars seem to have been built after Oct 2021 and VIN 2/94k. Most cars went to NA, with some LHD cars going to Europe up until May 2021 and VIN 973k. A handful of cars also found there way to APAC.

The EPA range was 353 Miles/568km, the WLTP rating was 614km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT323 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT43 and built in China and was fairly short lived. China production was from Oct 2021, VIN 383k through to Nov 2021, VIN 345k. Cars went to Europe and APAC in both LHD and RHD form.

The WLTP rating was 614km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT324 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT42 and built in Fremont. Production was from Nov 2021, VIN 100k through to Nov 2022, VIN 392k, although most production stopped in Sept 2022 at VIN 350k. Cars went to NA, with a few cars going to APAC.

The WLTP rating was 614km. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT328 Long Range AWD

The battery was the BT43 and built in China. Production was from Nov 2021, VIN 430k and continues. Cars went to Europe and APAC.

The WLTP rating was 374 miles. It could do 0-60 mph in 4.2s, 0-100km/h 4.4s and had a top speed of 145mph or 233km/h

MT352 Long Range All Wheel Drive (Highland)

Sept 2023 saw the announcement of the Highland refresh Model 3 although the availability in different countries varies with production expected in China initially from late Sept and deliveries occuring from late 2023.

The Highland update includes many notable changes, the most controversial of which is the removal of the stalk controls for indicators, headlights, windscreen wiping and autopilot, replacing these with buttons on the steering wheel.

The batteries are unchanged from previous models but improvements to efficiency have resulted in changes to the performance. WLTP range is 629km up from 601km. It can still do 0-100km/h 4.4s but the top speed is now 201km/h, down from 233km/h.

MT304 Performance

The battery was the BT37 and built in Fremont. Production ran from July 2018, VIN 55k through to Oct 2019, VIN 583k. Cars went NA, and to Europe and APAC from Jan 2019/VIN 192k.

The EPA rating was 310 Miles/499km, the WLTP rating was 329 Miles/530km. It could do 0-60 mph in 3.2s, 0-100km/h 3.4s and had a top speed of 162mph or 261km/h

MT311 Performance

The battery was still the BT37 and built in Fremont. Production ran from Oct 2019 for 12 months. Cars went NA, Europe and APAC. This aligns to Tesla starting to move to a model year cycle with the Europe production finishing slightly earlier to allow time for shipping withn the quarter. The APAC numbers were pretty small.

The EPA rating was 299 Miles/481km, the WLTP rating was 329 Miles/530km. It could do 0-60 mph in 3.2s, 0-100km/h 3.4s and had a top speed of 162mph or 261km/h

MT339 Performance

The battery was the BT38 and built in China and was purely for the APAC market. It appears Tesla used a smaller battery for some APAC markets, probably China, while using the larger BT43 battery at the same time for other markets.

MT317 Performance

The battery was now the BT42 and built in Fremont and China. Fremont production ran from Oct 2020, VIN 812k through the VIN roll over and on to Nov 2022, VIN 420k. China production started in Apr 2021/VIN 226K and ran through to Jan 2022/VIN 480K. Fremont production went to NA and continues. Europe and APAC received Fremont cars until China production started and a switch to the BT43 battery, with a small overlap.

The EPA rating was 315 Miles, the WLTP rating was 352 Miles/568km. It could do 0-60 mph in 3.1s, 0-100km/h 3.3s and had a top speed of 162mph or 261km/h

MT340 Performance

The battery was the BT42 and built in China. Production ran from Jan 2022, VIN 478k through to Feb 2022, VIN 520k and was a relatively short production run to help bridge the availability gap of the BT43 battery and in relatively small numbers.. The car was purely for the Europe market.

MT325 Performance

The battery was now the BT43 and built China as part of a general switch to this battery instead of the BT42 as used in Fremont. Production ran from Dec 2021, VIN 447k through to Dec 2022, VIN 446k. Production went to Europe and APAC and is still the car in production today for those markets.

The WLTP rating was 340 Miles. It could do 0-60 mph in 3.1s, 0-100km/h 3.3s and had a top speed of 162mph or 261km/h

It is worth noting that Tesla list performance model specifications with 1 foot roll out. This reduces the time by approx 0.2s, so this should be added to the 0-60 times to get a comparable time to those of the other models.

Autopilot

All Model 3 cars come with Autopilot hardware so the only material choice is the software level installed.

With the removal of the ultrasonic parking sensors (USS), a number of EAP features are not yet fully operational. As a result we feel paying for Enhanced Autopilot is not currently worthwhile and is not even available in North America. The Full Self driving option is only worth considering in North America where you have access to FSD supervised. Our estimation is FSD adds about 25% of the option purchase price to the value of a car on resale, so if you are looking at a car with FSD and one without, expect to pay about $2k more. We don't feel the current asking price from Tesla is ever reflected in used car prices.

It is believed that the Highland update included the shift to HW4.

Options

The Model 3 has few options besides exterior and interior color. There are however a few things to look out for:

What features does the car have?

To find out what is activated in the car follow this guide on how to find out what hardware versions a Tesla has. Many dealers are now including the required pictures in their adverts and those that do, clearly understand the cars.

Where was it made, and does it matter?

The simplest way to tell where the car was made is to look at the VIN. Using the 11th digit of the VIN tells you the factory, F is Fremont, and C is China. Some use the first 3 letters of the VIN (5YJ and LRW respectively) but this rule does not apply to all Teslas. Our VIN decoder provides additional information on the car. You can also look at out factory production plots to work out more or less when the car was built.

Free Supercharging

No model 3 came with unlimited free supercharging for the life of the car. Tesla have however offered a year free supercharging to cars delivered at the end of 2020. It is not clear if this is transferable to new owners within the year, generally speaking since 2017 any free supercharging given to new car buyers has not been transferable..

Common Model 3 issues

The model 3 was a new platform and Tesla seem to have learnt from a number of the previous issues, however they have also introduced some new ones. Most of the Model 3 issues are factory issues and not ones that develop over time so the owner or a good condition car is likely to run into fewer problems over time, however getting a car in good condition can be harder than it should be because of Tesla's stance.

Warranty

Model 3 cars come with 2 manufacturer warranties. One covers the battery and motor for 8 years and 100k or 120k mile warranty depending on battery size, whichever comes sooner. This covers the owner against failure or battery degradation although Tesla have written into the warranty that that battery losses due to software changes are allowed.

The second warranty is the general car warranty for everything else. This lasts for 4 years or 50k miles, which comes sooner. Few Model 3s will be out of warranty except based on mileage.

What would we buy used?

We don't particularly have a favourite. The SR+/RWD models tend to be significantly cheaper and offer good entry level value, the Long Range offer a more comfortable ride than the Performance and have better range, but the performance cars are great fun. We'd question buying FSD for a SR+ car and would suggest a Long Range without FSD for the same money would be more sensible and hold its value better.

The facelift cars starting in 2021 also have a number of advantages over the earlier cars with items like the heat pump and heated steering wheel.

If you're looking to buy new, we'd recommend the Highland RWD model, if you're looking at a slightly older car then we'd probably look at the Long Range Model. The performance models are typically valued more highly by their owners than warranted especially as a LR car offers nearly the same performance. The Highland Performance car is also more power than most need and some find the seats uncomfortable.

You can check the whole market and compare prices between models on our Inventory listings.

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