Best Way to Sell Your Used Tesla (Dealer Vs Private).

Few predicted that Teslas would retain as much value as they do or that the value of used Teslas would increase with time. Tesla owners are a happy lot, considering the unprecedented rise in the desirability of used Teslas. Offloading a Tesla today at a good price is relatively easy if you nail the sale process. 

The best way to sell a Tesla is to have a well-regarded dealer sell the vehicle for you. A highly-rated dealer will ensure you get the best price for your Tesla. Also, a dealer manages nearly all aspects of the sale, allowing you to relax as the vehicle finds new ownership. 

This article explains why you should use a dealer to sell your Tesla and what your other alternatives are to using a dealer. 

tesla ev car for sale in showroom crop

Benefits of Using a Dealer To Sell Your Tesla Car

Some car sellers frown upon the use of middlemen when selling vehicles. However, when selling Tesla cars, they are the best option. 

Dealers Get the Best Price for Your Tesla

Getting the right sale price for an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle is straightforward. By scouring online used-car marketplaces, you can accurately estimate the cost of your unit.

Used-car marketplaces for Teslas exist, but I wouldn’t advise you to use them to gauge the current market value of your electric car. 

The used-car value of Tesla is constantly rising, so you might undervalue your Tesla by referring to outdated figures. Furthermore, a Tesla’s worth extends beyond the physical features and condition of the vehicle and into the car’s software. 

For instance, two Tesla Model S vehicles with the same physical specs and mileage can have vastly differing values.

Tesla allows owners to upgrade their vehicles by purchasing software, including Full Self Driving, which costs thousands of dollars. So, a used car with optional upgrades should cost more. 

Therefore, it can be tricky to estimate the correct value of your used Teslas. Dealers are Tesla and market experts capable of valuing your car at just the right price. 

Furthermore, most dealers use the commission-based system to earn their pay, which motivates them to appraise Teslas correctly. If they underprice the car, they’ll get a low commission, and if they overprice it, they risk failing to get a buyer. 

You retain the right to repossess the vehicle if the dealer fails to sell the car within the agreed period. A dealer loses the time and money used to advertise the car if the owner repossesses the vehicle. Therefore, dealers work overtime to sell your Tesla at the right price. 

Before you settle on a dealer, check user reviews to see if customers are satisfied. Renowned Tesla dealers might have higher commission rates, but they are much more likely to get your Tesla sold fast and at the right price. 

Whatever dealership you use, just make sure to check the necessary paperwork for any hidden fees and have them explain the entire process to you.


Using Dealers Is the Stress-Free Method of Selling a Tesla

Dealers take away the inconvenience of selling a Tesla privately, as they handle most aspects of the sale.

Selling a Tesla isn’t as easy as selling an ICE vehicle. Potential buyers have become increasingly skeptical of used Teslas due to the experiences of disgruntled buyers. 

A key issue affecting used Teslas is the value and transferability of purchased software. Alec’s case provides a perfect illustration of this issue.

Alec, a second-hand Tesla buyer, famously bought a used Model S from a third-party dealership assuming it had software extras worth $8,000. The previous owner had purchased the extras before hardware issues forced them to return the car to the manufacturer. 

Tesla fixed the issue before selling the vehicle to a third party, which sold the car to Alec. The third-party and Alec bought the Model S at a higher price because of the software upgrades. 

After Alec’s purchase, Tesla wiped the extras from the vehicle, alleging that the extras weren’t linked to Alec’s Tesla account. 

After selling a Tesla, the previous owner resets the car and delinks his Tesla account from the vehicle. Tesla claimed that the upgrades belonged to the previous owner and that Alec had to re-purchase them after buying the car. 

Yet, Alec bought the vehicle inclusive of the upgrades. Tesla only restored the extras after widespread public outcry. 

Alec’s ordeal is hardly isolated. A used Tesla car buyer purchased a vehicle Model S 60, with the upgraded range of a Model S 90. After a computer upgrade by Tesla, the manufacturer reduced the range and demanded $4,500 to restore it to pre-upgrade levels. 

Such stories have prompted used Tesla buyers to take extra caution when scouring the market. A smart buyer will ask many questions, some of which you might struggle to answer. 

Tesla dealers are vehicle experts capable of fielding queries from apprehensive buyers. They are better equipped to handle any claims a buyer might have after purchasing a vehicle. 

So, when selling a Tesla, the purchase price you give up to the dealer is well and truly worth it. 

Alternative Ways of Selling a Tesla

If using a dealer isn’t a viable option for you, explore these alternatives. 

Private Sale 

By selling your Tesla privately, you retain all control over the sale. The process involves the following:

  • Setting the selling price: Use online resources to estimate the sale of your Tesla. Consider software updates when setting the price.
  • Preparing the vehicle for sale: Ensure it looks as attractive as possible before placing it on the market. A car that appears well-maintained attracts more offers and sells faster. You might want to get a cleaner for the Tesla vegan leather seats. Some people go as far as getting a ceramic coating for their Tesla, which is an investment, but allows you to raise your asking price.
  • Posting the vehicle on used car platforms: Place the vehicle on reputable online marketplaces. Upload as many pictures as you can to give prospective buyers a complete view of the vehicle. 
  • Educate yourself: Given the unique problems faced by Tesla buyers on the used car market, you’ll have to educate yourself on issues affecting Tesla sales. 

Besides selling your used Tesla on used car platforms, you might try online forums, which can be very targeted, perhaps even Tesla-focused. You might also try social media, such as Facebook groups, to broaden your net.

When selling your used Tesla yourself, it helps to have some experience in selling a used vehicle. But whether you have done so before or not, you will need to check off the following things:

  • Car Title: You must provide the new owner with the car’s title.
  • Bill of sale: a written, dated document showing all the details of both the buyer and seller, explicitly stating that you have sold the vehicle in question to the stated buyer for the agreed price, as well as the vehicle details.
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement Form: The seller of any motor vehicle is legally required to provide an odometer disclosure to the buyer at the time of sale.

Thankfully, the turmoil in the Tesla used-car market hasn’t dampened demand. If you nail the advertisement, you’ll sell your Tesla relatively quickly and at a reasonable price. 

Trade In Your Tesla

Trading in your Tesla is an option if you have no time to get your vehicle’s optimum value and have your eyes set on another car. 

Also known as “part exchange”, the seller of your new car sets the price of your Tesla. You then top up the balance to purchase the new vehicle, relinquishing ownership of your Tesla to the car dealer. 

It’s a quick way to sell the Tesla, but the car dealer will undervalue the vehicle. Their goal is to profit from the transaction by selling the car. Therefore, they’ll lower the vehicle’s value as much as possible.

It’s important to bear in mind that if you are selling your old Tesla to get a new one, Tesla itself accepts trade-ins and I would recommend you read my article explaining how Tesla trade-ins work.

Transferring Ownership From Your Tesla Account

Regardless of how you sell your Tesla, a necessary step is to transfer the Tesla account ownership to the buyer. This is done by logging into your account via the Tesla app or web browser and selecting the option to remove your vehicle.

Follow the steps in my complete guide to transferring Tesla ownership via the Tesla app.


For the best deal, hire a reputable dealer to sell your Tesla. Their expertise and experience make them the best people to sell your Tesla. 

You can get more money by selling the Tesla privately, but there’s a chance you’ll make a novice mistake with the advertisement or set a price that’s not right.

We live in fast-changing times, and for a long time now, a Tesla has been a best-selling used car; in part, truth be told, due to the worldwide chip shortage and subsequent delays in new vehicle deliveries. However, whether used Tesla values rise or fall, I hope this article helped you understand how to sell your Tesla, and I wish you a good sale!

Did you know that it is possible to lease a Tesla? Read this article on how Tesla leasing works to find out more.

Jonathan Rice

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