Does Tesla take trade ins? Tesla has a trade-in program that allows users to exchange eligible cars for a new or used Tesla vehicle. Although Tesla’s cars are among the most sought-after models in the EV segment, the company keeps exploring new ways to attract more consumers.
Apart from frequent price cuts to its vehicles across the lineup, Tesla’s lucrative trade-in program makes upgrading to one of its cars easier on the pocket.
Affordability remains a barrier to EV adoption, but swapping one’s car for a used or new Tesla is a less expensive path to the electric mobility experience. The automaker currently recognizes passenger cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs for possible trade-ins.
Both electric and gasoline models are eligible. This means that current Tesla vehicle owners can also trade in the cars toward the purchase of a new one. Vehicles that don’t qualify include motorcycles, recreational vehicles (RVs), and non-driveable cars.
Does Tesla Take Trade Ins?
Like other car dealerships, Tesla takes trade-ins when buying a new or used Tesla. They take all vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans, that you can trade-in for credit towards a new or used Tesla vehicle. The best part is that Tesla accepts gas-powered vehicles for trade-in, not just electric ones.
Again, like other dealerships, Tesla will calculate the trade-in value based on several factors such as year, model, make, and condition of your vehicle. This means that if your car is newer and in better shape, you can fetch a reasonable price. Conversely, the opposite applies if your vehicle has high mileage and worse condition.
Tesla states that your car must be in drivable condition to be even considered for a trade-in – except for salvage and flood designated vehicles even if they’re still in working condition.
If you receive an initial estimate from Tesla, that number is good for seven (7) days. Once Tesla sends you the final offer, it will be valid for 30 days and within 1,000 miles of the odometer. Exceeding the limit of the term’s value will likely change the trade value.
How to Calculate Tesla Trade-In Value?
If you’re looking to buy a Tesla and want to know how much your old vehicle will get you, you can use Tesla’s Trade-In Estimate Calculator. All you have to do is to input your vehicle’s VIN along with other information – such as model, make, year, and a couple of photos – to get an estimate of your car’s trade-in value.
However, as mentioned previously, several factors are considered for calculating your vehicle’s trade-in value. Thus, don’t take the value from Tesla’s calculator as the definitive price but simply a ballpark figure that you’ll be putting towards a new Tesla. This way, you’ll have a rough idea of what to expect once you visit the dealership.
By far, the best way to calculate your vehicle’s trade-in value is to head to the Tesla dealership near you and speak to a sales representative. The sales rep can provide you with the best estimate, and you can dispute their valuation if needed.
How to Allocate a Trade-In When Buying Online
Car buyers who are placing an order for a new Tesla model might wonder how they trade-in their vehicle. Tesla has an entire page on its website devoted to the trade-in process.
Those who are ordering a Tesla online can enter their trade-in information via their Tesla account. The company explains that a Tesla Advisor will be in touch. Car owners may need to submit some crucial information about their trade in, including:
- Zip code
In addition, car owners also may need to include photos of the vehicle that they wish to allocate as a trade-in. Tesla values the vehicle and contact the owner with the trade-in offer.
Tesla notes that positive equity can be allocated towards the purchase. The company explains negative equity might either need to be paid upon delivery or included in the financing agreement with Tesla (per the company, this is contingent on credit approval).
Trading In a Vehicle That’s Being Leased
Some drivers decide to lease their vehicles. Can a car with a current lease agreement be allocated as a trade-in for a Tesla?
Using a car that is under a lease agreement for a trade-in is sometimes possible, but other times it isn’t possible. Tesla advises drivers to contact their lender to inquire about any restrictions related to a lease buyout from a third party.
In addition, Tesla includes a list of lenders that restrict third-party lease buyouts. Those who are thinking about using a car with an active lease for a trade-in should review Tesla’s list and reach out to their lender with any questions.
Is a Title Required for a Trade-In?
The vehicle’s title is a bit like its passport or birth certificate, and the title has to follow the vehicle to each owner. For this reason, a title is necessary for a trade-in.
Again, though, some car owners who are still making payments on their loan might need to send a Letter of Guarantee (or send an image of the title).
Some cars also have rebuilt titles or another type of title. Tesla explains that some of these vehicles might still be eligible to be used as a trade-in (there are exceptions related to Tesla vehicles that have a salvage, junk or other title). Ultimately, if Tesla buyers have any questions about if their car can be used as a trade-in, they could reach out to their Tesla Advisor.
Understand the Value of the Trade-In
As with most trade-ins, the value of the equity of the vehicle will help offset the price of the Tesla model. The exception, though, is if the car has negative equity.
Before using a car as a trade-in at any dealerships, car owners might research the value of their vehicle to better understand how much it’s worth. For those who are still making payments on their vehicle, understanding the value also can help the owner determine if any equity exists or if the car is underwater.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is a trusted resource for uncovering the trade-in value (or resale value) of a vehicle. Car owners will either need to include the VIN or license plate information or just choose the make/model/year of their vehicle. Car owners also will need to select the car’s trim, color and any features. KBB also will ask about the condition of the vehicle.
Once car owners enter all this information, KBB will show an estimated trade-in value for the vehicle and provide a value range, too. Car owners also could choose to view the resale value of their car if they are interested in selling it privately.
Tesla notes that any aftermarket additions to the car tends to have a negative impact on the trade-in value. Car owners might keep this in mind if they made some mods to their trade-in vehicle.
Trading In a Tesla
Some car owners already drive a Tesla and want to trade-in their older electric vehicle for a new model. The site Teslarati wrote a story about how a Tesla owner found the best offer for their vehicle. Teslarati’s article included the trade-in offers from numerous companies. Interestingly, Tesla offered the lowest amount for the owner’s trade-in.
Again, Tesla owners could research the value of their model via KBB and they also might get different estimates or offers for their trade-in to get the most money for their car. However, this could be good advice for all car owners.
Wait or Buy Now?
The purchase price of new cars is now more than $48K. With electric vehicles, though, the prices might be higher. For buyers who are wondering if they should buy now or wait might consider multiple factors.
For example, as the Fed has bumped interest rates, the interest rates for car loans could be higher. Buyers might face higher monthly payments. However, if they offer a trade-in, they could possibly lower the purchase price. A higher down payment also could help decrease the cost of the purchase and help lower the impact of inflation.
Buyers who want a Tesla also could look at used models. When perusing older electric vehicles, though, buyers might want to research the battery warranty and the range. Older models could only have a few years left on their battery warranty, and replacing a battery for an EV can be expensive.
While current Tesla models have longer ranges, older models might have had less impressive ranges. Again, though, buyers may want to research their used options to understand vehicle specs and warranties.
Cleantechnica offers an infographic (produced in 2016) that details the specs of earlier Tesla models; according to the site, the 2012 Tesla Model S offered an estimated range of 294 miles.
Important Details About the Tesla Trade-in Process
While trading in your car to Tesla is straightforward, there are some essentials to be aware of.
- Tesla will accept most gas-powered or electric vehicles for trade. The vehicle must be in operating condition and have a clean title.
- Non-Tesla vehicles will be sold at a wholesale auction, while the company may resell Tesla cars through its used car program.
- Tesla will accept a trade-in with a loan balance. Any equity will be applied to your Tesla purchase, while any negative balance will need to be paid off or added to the Tesla loan or lease.
- Only one trade-in vehicle is accepted for each Tesla purchase.
Is A Tesla Trade-In A Good Deal?
The quick answer is, maybe. Tesla’s trade-in offer is non-negotiable, just like the sales process. So, you may get a competitive offer, or you may not. At one time, Tesla would match purchase offers from CarMax, but this is no longer the case.
Using a 2018 Toyota Camry LE in excellent condition with 15,000 miles for an example, Tesla made an online offer of $18,300 for the car. Is this a good deal? Read on to see.
How Does a Tesla Trade-In Offer Compare?
It’s impossible to make a blanket statement that one company’s trade-in or buy offer is better than another’s. Numerous variables go into this formula, including the car’s make and model, its condition, and the demand for a particular vehicle. For example, Carvana may need Honda Accords in its inventory while AutoNation can’t give them away.
Let’s get back to that Toyota Camry trade-in pricing from Tesla at $18,300. How do other offers stack up? The differences are substantial. Kelly Blue Book’s $19,851 price seems like a nice improvement.
But then we get two near-identical offers from CarMax ($20,800) and Carvana ($20,832)—which top Tesla’s pricing. Yet, it gets even better with Vroom and a $21,363 offer. In this case, trading in your car to Tesla would leave more than $3,000 on the table.
Of course, Vroom won’t come out on top all the time, nor will Tesla always be at the bottom. This disparity in pricing confirms the importance of getting multiple offers before swapping wheels.
The Tesla Trade-In Experience: Pros and Cons
As with anything in life, there are always pros and cons…and Tesla’s trade in program (while pretty good) is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of trading a Tesla back in to Tesla.
Benefits of Trading in to Tesla
- There really aren’t a lot of steps in Tesla’s trade-in process; it’s pretty simple. Tesla makes the procedure relatively clear, and they don’t ask for excessive proof of your car’s condition.
- Some states offer a tax benefit that allows you to pay sales tax on your final purchase price after the trade value is factored in.
- Tesla does calculate any negative equity or remaining loan payments you may have on your current car into your purchase amount.
- For non-Tesla vehicles and ICE cars, Tesla often does provide a no-hassle, final trade-in quote that’s comparable to other online dealerships like Carmax, Carvana, or Vroom.
However, while Tesla’s trade-in quotes are pretty decent for non-Tesla vehicles, trading in your used Tesla to Tesla typically won’t get you top dollar. Here’s a few reasons why:
Disadvantages of a Tesla Trade-In
So why shouldn’t you trade your Tesla back to Tesla? You can get a much better deal selling online in a private sale or to a specialty dealership.
The amount of money left on the table in a trade-in deal with Tesla can amount to thousands of dollars for several reasons:
- Tesla’s no-hassle offer policy leaves no room for you to ask for a better deal; it’s a non-negotiable, take-it-or-leave-it offer.
- Tesla doesn’t give trade-in value for software purchases and other perks. For example, if you have Full Self-Driving (FSD) or transferable Free Unlimited Supercharging, you will miss out on getting any added value for these features.
- The market for used Teslas is still strong enough that most Teslas can be sold far above Tesla’s trade-in quote.
- For Tesla vehicles, the tax savings from a trade to Tesla doesn’t add enough value to the deal to make it financially worthwhile. We see Teslas listed on our site sell for several thousand over Tesla’s quoted trade-in price. The savings on sales tax through a Tesla trade-in typically doesn’t come close to the value you would get for selling your Tesla privately.
- Shifting delivery time can invalidate your trade-in value. While Tesla’s delivery times are getting more consistent, it’s not unusual for them to be delayed beyond the scope of the trade-in offer. There are better ways to get value for your Tesla without worrying about whether or not your rate is locked in (we’ll get to that in the next section).
- Tesla notes that any aftermarket modifications made to the vehicle being considered for trade (whether from Tesla or another manufacturer) take value away from Tesla’s offer. For the best trade-in value, the car should be as close to the manufacturer’s stock condition as possible. If your vehicle has extensive or involved aftermarket modifications, it’s almost guaranteed to negatively affect offers from Tesla and most fast quote dealerships.
- You may not be able to get a trade-in estimate from Tesla until after you’ve purchased from their pre-order or New/Used Inventory. Current market volatility and extended delivery times mean that Tesla is moving away from offering estimates without purchase. This timeline constraint makes shopping around for a better deal difficult.
Which vehicles can be traded in?
Tesla accepts sedans, trucks, and SUVs for trade-in value toward purchasing a new or used Tesla. Both electric vehicles (EVs) and internal combustion engine vehicles are eligible for trade-ins.
Tesla won’t accept RVs, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles for trade-in.
Can I trade in more than one vehicle?
No. Tesla will only accept one vehicle for trade-in.
Can I trade in a vehicle that’s not completely paid off?
Totally. You can trade in a vehicle even if it’s still under financing. Tesla will simply calculate and compare the payoff amount and any positive or negative equity that will be added to your purchase agreement.
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