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Does Tesla Take Trade-Ins: Potential Buyer FAQs

Does Tesla Take Trade-Ins: Potential Buyer FAQs

Do you have an existing vehicle that you’d like to trade-in when buying a new Tesla? While it’s expected that you could trade in a gas vehicle at a normal dealership, it’s a good question to consider when purchasing from one that only sells electric vehicles!

Tesla will accept both gas and electric vehicles for trade-ins to apply towards the cost of purchasing a new or used Tesla. As with all dealerships, the vehicle’s trade-in value will be less than a private sale, but the trade-in will lower your sales tax on a Tesla purchase.

Would you like to know more about the trade-in process and how you could get more for your trade-in vehicle to put towards a new Tesla, then keep reading and find out what is possible for you?

Tesla Trade-In Process

tesla employee assisting customer

This might sound like an odd question to have to ask. Most car companies will allow you to trade in any type of vehicle to use that money toward another vehicle purchase.

So, if this is a normal thing to do, why would Tesla be in question?

Well, this is likely because Tesla operates differently than many other car companies!

As a rule of the company, Tesla dealerships do not negotiate on price for any reason. This is not typical of car companies and one of the many things that set them apart from others!

Haggling over the price is what many people are used to, but this often makes the car buying process a big headache for buyers. Trying to see what the lowest price is for the vehicle you want can take some time, and you might get pushback on everything that you try to negotiate about. 

However, with the Tesla no-negotiation policy, you know the exact price of the vehicle and don’t need to haggle over the price. This makes the car buying process easier and simpler, which can ensure that you get in and out of the dealership in record time.

This cannot be said for other car dealerships and is one thing that many people seem to love about the company. But, because of this strict guideline and the fact that all Tesla cars are electric vehicles, it makes people wonder if they can trade in an internal combustion engine vehicle (or ICE for those in the know).

However, no matter what kind of car you currently have, they will take a trade-in. Be it a car, truck, SUV, or van, they’ll take it!

This is good news for those who want to get a newer vehicle that is better for the environment but still want to get good money for their current vehicle to put towards their new Tesla.

tesla service lobby

Is a Tesla Trade-in Negotiable?

The trade-in process by Tesla is easy to navigate, and you can do it all online.

You’ve got to put your vehicle’s information into their calculator on their website, and it’ll give you an estimate as to your car’s worth.

Tesla uses common value calculations to determine the trade-in value of any vehicle. If you’re ok with their estimate, you can take it!

You’ve simply got to upload a few photos of your car so that they’re able to verify its condition. Then, you’ll have to send them proof of ownership.

Tesla will send you a final quote after you’ve sent them all the information. You can accept this quote if you’d like to trade-in your car. They’ll accept the trade whenever they’re delivering your new Tesla.

Unfortunately, you’re not able to negotiate on price with them, though. They’re only going to make you an offer once.

If you’re not happy with it, then you’ve got to find someone else to buy your car.

Will Tesla Match Trade-in Value?

There was a time when Tesla would match trade-in offers from other places. However, they’ve changed this rule so it’s no longer in play.

Today, you’ve got to accept whatever they offer you for your car.

You’re not able to negotiate a better price after they’ve sent you a quote. That’s the most you’ll receive from them if you decide to trade a vehicle.

How Long Does A Tesla Trade-in Valuation Take?

Usually, the process only takes as long as you make it! If you’re able to get them all the info fast, they’ll give you a quote quickly.

It doesn’t take long for their calculator to determine a car’s trade-in value. You’ll receive your initial quote within moments of submitting your car’s info.

You do need to send them pictures of your car after they’ve sent their initial quote, and this part can add to the total time it’ll take for their trade-in process.

Sending everything to them quickly will help to speed up the whole process!

Their quotes are good for 30 days. So, you’re able to think about your decision after you’ve received one. Just make sure to respond within a month. Otherwise, you’ll have to get another quote before proceeding.

If you’re good with what they’re offering, you can accept the quote. You’ve got to send them proof of ownership to move forward with the trade.

Upload it to them, and they’ll pick up your car later. Usually, they’ll accept the trade once they’re dropping off your new Tesla.

Does Tesla Give Good Trade-In Value?

Well, the price that they give you for your vehicle will depend on multiple factors. If your vehicle is in good condition then you will be able to give you a higher price for the car. 

However, if you have a lot of miles on the car or need repairs, that adds to the cost that they will have to take in when accepting that vehicle for a trade-in. This means that they will need to give you less for the vehicle if there is more they will need to put into it to sell it for a decent price. 

Tesla will determine the value of your trade-in vehicle by using a calculation that takes a year, model, mileage, and condition into account. This will help you get what you deserve for your vehicle with the current market value.

It should be noted that the rumors about Tesla lowballing their customers are not true. Tesla is fair with its pricing and takes each vehicle for what it is.

This means that if you have a car in great condition, you are likely able to get a good price that allows you the amount to act as a down payment for your new Tesla purchase. You will just need to enter your vehicle’s information into your online account. 

How To Get Your Vehicle’s Trade-In Value? 

If you are interested in buying a Tesla but want to know what your trade-in vehicle will get you, then you can look it up on the calculator featured on the Tesla website. This will allow you to see what your trade-in will get you and how much you will be putting towards a new vehicle. 

Doing this before you go into the dealership will let you know what you should be getting for your trade-in and helps you know what kind of down payment you might need to make. Depending on the vehicle you have, you may or may not need to pay anything out of pocket that day. 

However, this isn’t the only way to get your vehicle’s trade-in value. If you would like to speak to someone in person, then heading to a Tesla dealership near you will allow you to talk to someone directly. 

They can help you get the best read on what your current vehicle is worth and why. And, if you have any reason to dispute the value they give initially, you can talk to them about what could be a reason that your car should be worth more. 

Tesla Trade-In Timeline

Keep in mind that Tesla’s final trade-in valuations are only good for 30 days or 1,000 miles.

This means that you’ll want to be pretty close to making your decision before going through the process, or you may risk a decrease in the vehicle’s valuation. Depending on your daily driving mileage, you may have to closely monitor things to ensure that you don’t go over the 1,000-mile cutoff.

Don’t forget to account for the mileage that you’ll accrue driving to Tesla for your scheduled delivery appointment!

The time of pickup for your new vehicle is the only time that Tesla will accept the trade-in. Unfortunately, dropping it off before or after is not allowed.

If you do decide to use the car for some time after the evaluation, be extremely careful with your driving! While certain accidents are unavoidable, the last thing you want at this stage is a fender bender that results in damage to the vehicle.

What Does Tesla Do With Trade-Ins?

Another big question that people often ask is what does Tesla do with trade-ins?

Do they sell them to another dealership, sell them for parts, or get rid of them altogether? 

Tesla does not sell other companies’ used vehicles, so it is a good question to ask about what they do with these vehicles. So, let’s take a look at the process of trading in your vehicle with Tesla!

Used Vehicles 

Tesla dealerships only sell Tesla vehicles, so they don’t have any use for them on their car lots. However, like other new car dealerships, they can get a sum for the car when they sell it to a used car lot.

This enables the used car dealerships to keep getting vehicles to sell, and it ensures that Tesla doesn’t have to deal with anything other than the sale.

Many large dealerships only sell used cars, and they thrive. This is because they have cars with higher mileage, and are usually older, which can be bought at a reasonable price.

This is enticing to customers who want to own a vehicle, but can’t afford to pay a high monthly payment for the next few years to pay it off. This also helps those who might not have very good credit at the moment get a vehicle. 

However, this is not handled by Tesla. This is all done by the other dealerships, so Tesla will get the car from you, sell it to a used car dealership, and collect their payment.

This is not something that makes them much, if any, money, but it is a great way for them to get rid of the vehicles that they don’t need and be able to exclusively sell Tesla vehicles.

It also helps you pay less upfront when purchasing your new Tesla, or from having to attempt to sell it online before going to the dealership.

Can I Trade In More Than One Vehicle at a Time? 

Being able to trade in two basic vehicles for one luxury vehicle sounds like a good idea if you don’t need two cars, or if you have another car to use. However, you cannot do this when purchasing a Tesla vehicle. 

Tesla has a purchase contract, which will only allow you to use the equity of a single vehicle when doing a trade-in. So, you will not be able to use any other vehicle to put off making a down payment.

Instead, you will only be able to trade in one vehicle, and you may have to put up some money for a down payment. This is something you should have in place before you even go to the dealership. 

What About Non-Operational Vehicles? 

If you have a car that you intended to fix, but you allowed it to sit in your driveway for years, getting rid of it to get a new Tesla would be nice. But this is not allowed.

Tesla only takes trade-ins for vehicles that are in working condition and can be driven to the dealership. If for any reason you are unable to drive your trade-in vehicle or it has been non-operational for some time, then you will not be able to trade it in. 

The best option for you in this situation is to sell the vehicle yourself and use that as your down payment on your new Tesla. 

Is a Tesla Trade-in Worth It?

Trading in your vehicle with Tesla is a good idea if you’re motivated by convenience. You can complete the entire trade-in process while you’re buying a new vehicle. You also don’t have to involve anyone else in the process!

Plus, they’ll even pick up the car as they’re dropping off the new one.

Other places might be willing to pay more for the trade-in. So, if you’re motivated by price, you might want to look elsewhere.

Look up what the used car market says about the price of your car. Then, try to find someone willing to pay a fair market rate for it.

Conclusion on Tesla trade-ins

Trade-ins are a great way to skip the down payment on a new car if you have positive equity in your current vehicle. This can help you get into a new car faster, and without having to save up for a big down payment.

While trade-ins typically fetch a lower value than a private sale, they do have the added advantage of lowering your sales tax on the new vehicle.

For easy math, let’s say your sales tax is 5% on a $50,000 vehicle, which would result in $2,500 in sales tax. However, if you’re trading in a $20,000 vehicle and buying the same $50,000 one, then you’ll only need to pay sales tax on the difference i.e. $30,000.

Taxes on the remaining amount come out to $1,500, saving you $1,000 in taxes.

If you’re confident that you can sell the vehicle for at more than $1,000 (or whatever the tax savings calculates to in your scenario), then you could certainly try to sell it via private sale.

Just make sure to factor in your own time and confidence level in selling the vehicle when considering this route!

If you’re less confident or simply short on time, then trading in your vehicle at the Tesla dealership is still a great option.

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!