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How to Get a Used Tesla Model Y—And Save Big Doing It

Everything you need to know buying a used Tesla Model Y, including what to look for, and which incentives may apply.

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Peter Glenn

The Tesla Model Y has an excellent combination of ample interior space, impressive driving range, and trademark Tesla vehicle performance. The crossover has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, so much so that in 2023, it became the best selling car in world.

With so much demand for the Tesla Model Y, new models from the brand frequently seeing waitlists and markups. If you want to get your hands on one, you may consider looking at the used market. Buying a pre-owned Tesla offers a variety of benefits beyond availability, including significantly lower prices, no “new car depreciation” as soon as you drive it off the dealer lot, and additional vehicle options that might not be available on a new Model Y.

If that sounds good to you, check out this guide to help you find and purchase the right pre-owned Tesla Model Y for your needs.

Research Your Used Model Y Options

Just as with any used vehicle purchase, doing your homework up front is critical before committing to a used Tesla Model Y. Prices can vary significantly based on features, mileage, location, and overall condition.

Start by browsing listings from Tesla's online pre-owned inventory as well as third-party sites like AutoTrader,, and even local car dealership websites. Look for Model Ys that tick most of the boxes on your must-have features while still fitting your budget.

Pro tip: Expand your search radius to surrounding cities and states if you can't find what you want locally. The potential cost savings may make traveling a further distance worthwhile.

What to Look For in Used Tesla Vehicles

Buying a used Tesla is like buying any other used car at the dealership. Once you identify some promising candidates, you'll want to thoroughly inspect each prospective vehicle—in person, if possible. If you’re buying from a private seller, meet in a safe, public location. For purchases from a dealer, give the vehicle the same rigorous check you would a new car.

When inspecting the exterior, look for any signs of damage like dents, deep scratches, chipped paint, or misaligned body panels. Check that all lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals) are working properly. Examine the tires and tire treads, looking for any uneven wear or bubbles.

When inspecting the interior, make note of any worn or torn upholstery, broken trim pieces, or non-functioning accessories. Evaluate the touch screen, cameras, and other technology features. Test all seatback releases and fold the rear seats down to inspect the cargo area.

During your test drive, be on alert for any unusual noises, vibrations, or inconsistencies in performance. Make sure all the safety features engage correctly, like the automatic emergency braking system, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Don't forget to inspect the charging ports and cables for any damage, obstruction, or corrosion. You can even plug the car into a Level 1 charger to confirm it begins charging properly.

Use a Tesla Model Y VIN Decoder

For maximum transparency on any used Tesla Model Y you're seriously considering, be sure to decode the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This 17-character code contains details like:

  • Year, make, and model
  • Trim level and drivetrain type
  • Battery pack size
  • Production location
  • Build date

Once you decode the VIN information, cross-reference it against the listing details to verify accuracy. Any discrepancies could be a red flag.

Check the Battery Health

The battery is one of the most important components on any EV, and one of the most expensive to replace. Battery degradation is a common concern with used electric vehicles,so it's crucial to assess the battery's health using a tool like Recurrent, which is basically Carfax for EV batteries.

You'll want to check two key metrics:

  1. Maximum Battery Charge Level. The EPA-estimated range when new is 310 miles for the Long Range AWD model, 260 miles for the base rear-wheel-drive trim, and 279 miles for the Performance Model Y.
  2. Battery State of Health. This percentage tracks battery degradation over time. Look for 90% or higher, if possible.

While Tesla vehicles and their batteries generally hold up very well, extra battery degradation could impact your driving range down the road or necessitate an expensive battery replacement.

Verify Warranty Coverage

Tesla's warranties for new vehicles are quite comprehensive, but in order to find out whether they still apply, you'll need to verify if any remaining coverage transfers to the used Model Y you're purchasing. Be sure to check on the status of these warranties:

  • Basic Vehicle Limited Warranty (4 years or 50,000 miles)
  • Battery & Drive Unit Limited Warranty (8 years or 150,000 miles)
  • Supplementary Restraint System Limited Warranty (5 years or 60,000 miles)

Depending on the Model Y's age and mileage, having some remaining warranty coverage could save you thousands in unexpected repair costs.

Vehicle History Report

As with any pre-owned car, obtaining the full CARFAX or AutoCheck vehicle history report is a must. Carefully review the report on your used Model Y for the following:

  • Previous Accidents and Damage
  • Flood/Water Damage
  • Odometer Rollback
  • Any open, unresolved recalls from Tesla or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Number of Previous Owners
  • Service and Registration History

If anything looks amiss or raises red flags, discuss it with the seller. You may be able to negotiate a lower price, or walk away and find a better deal if there are too many unknowns.

Get the Lowest Rate on a Used Tesla Model Y


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Other Considerations Before Buying a Used Model Y

Beyond the condition of the Model Y itself, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind as you go through the car buying process.

Home Charging Setup

One of the biggest benefits of owning an EV is the ability to charge from the convenience of your home—but in order to do so, you'll need the proper home charging setup. At minimum, you should have access to a standard 120V outlet for Level 1 charging, which will add around 3-5 miles of range per hour.

For daily drivers and commuters, this won’t be enough. However, in order to get the 20-30 range miles per hour of a Level 2 charger, you may need to have a 240V outlet or Tesla Wall Connector installed in your home garage.

Pro Tip: Tesla does offer pre-owned buyers the option to add the Wall Connector installation during the checkout process for $400 once you've found your Model Y.

Out-of-Warranty Repair Options

While Teslas are generally quite reliable, out-of-warranty repair costs can get expensive, especially for major components. Battery replacements can easily exceed $10,000 from Tesla if degradation becomes too severe.

You'll want to explore pricing options and locations for independent Tesla service centers or shops that specialize in EV repair and maintenance. Mobile services may also be an option in some areas.

Save Big On Your Used Tesla Model Y With EV Incentives

Once you've covered all your bases and found the perfect pre-owned Model Y that checks all the boxes, it's time to focus on maximizing your savings.

The 2024 Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

Your first step is the Used Clean Vehicle Tax Credit.

Starting January 1, 2024, qualifying drivers can now receive a tax credit of up to $4,000 when they purchase an eligible used electric car from a participating dealership—regardless of tax liability.

The clean vehicle tax credit gives you a point-of-sale rebate that covers up to 30% of the purchase price, with a cap of $4,000.

Note: In order to qualify for the credit, the sale must be completed through a licensed dealer participating in the program.

Income Limits for the Used EV Tax Credit

To qualify for the used EV tax credit rebate, buyers must fall under the following modified adjusted gross income (AGI) limits based on their latest tax return:

  • Single: under $75,000
  • Head of household: under $112,500
  • Married filing jointly: under $150,000

The IRS also says that the used Tesla Model Y must be purchased solely for personal use rather than business purposes, and the buyer cannot have claimed the used vehicle tax credit in the previous three years or intend to resell the car right away.

Used EV Tax Credit Qualifications

In addition to the income restrictions for drivers, there are stipulations around the vehicle itself. Used Teslas are only eligible if they are sold from a participating dealer for $25,000 or less and meet the following criteria:

  • The Model Y must be at least two model years old
  • The Model Y cannot have been transferred to a private party after August 16, 2022
  • The Model Y cannot have previously been used to claim the used EV tax credit

Save Even More With EV Life

When you’ve found a solid deal on that perfect Model Y and you are ready to buy, EV Life can help get you behind the wheel by offering attractive finance rates and affordable loan payments for your budget.

EV Life offers competitive financing terms and makes sure you get every EV tax credit, rebate, and incentive you qualify for. Our EV financing experts will help you get every dollar available so you can maximize your savings.

Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-qualify for more than financing. When you pre-qualify for an EV Climate Loan on your used Tesla, we help you maximize your federal and state tax credits and other incentives you’re eligible for. We then help you apply for all the paperwork with our easy-to-use “Turbo Tax-style” incentive filing tools.
  • Bundle charging. EV Life can also help you get an instant quote for EV charging equipment installation and bundle it into your auto financing—all with one lower monthly payment.
  • One low payment. Once we’ve determined every available dollar you’re eligible for, EV Life will gather all your savings and apply them directly to your loan, significantly reducing the monthly payment on your Tesla Model Y from the moment you drive off the dealer lot.

Between the $4,000 federal tax credit, additional state and local grants, rebates, and trade-in programs, not to mention smart financing options from EV Life—now is the time to go out and get a pre-owned Tesla.

Get pre-qualified today to discover how much you could save on your used Tesla Model Y.

Maximize your savings with hassle-free EV financing

We're on a mission to make buying an EV easier and more affordable than a gas car

Maximize your savings with hassle-free EV financing

We're on a mission to make buying an EV easier and more affordable than a gas car

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