Planning on Buying a Used Tesla? This Experienced Mechanic Has a Few Warnings for You

Pre-facelift Tesla Model 3 29 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
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Buying a Tesla, even a brand-new one, is a great option for most people nowadays. But you still have to be aware of a few things that might go horribly wrong. They might not have an engine and a fuel tank, but that doesn't mean these EVs can't complicate your life. After all, the saying "better safe than sorry" is still part of our lexicon.
If you want a Tesla, then you should get one. It's that simple. Despite a few loudmouths saying that the EVs this brand makes are too expensive for what they are, a Model 3 or a Model Y can become a trustworthy commuting appliance. Factor in the advantage of having access to the reliable Supercharger network, and you can also go on trips without experiencing range anxiety. Just stick to what the trip planner suggests, and you'll be fine.

But some problems arise when you're taking an in-depth look at what these so-called zero-emission cars represent. Fit and finish problems, high-voltage battery issues, mining and supply chain challenges, cabin materials of questionable quality, overhyped claims about pricey self-driving features, wild promises about cool capabilities that rarely come true, expensive parts, botched over-the-air software updates, costly out-of-warranty servicing ($600 for a diagnostic test!), tricky aging… All can become part of the ownership experience.

For example, Tesla is in hot water right now because of widespread suspension issues. Imagine if a failure happens while you're on the highway. Not good! We sounded the alarm about stuff like this, by the way! If you're one of our readers, you are well-informed!

However, Tesla's not the only car brand dealing with stuff like this. Other automakers have sold vehicles that had tons of issues. We even had recent recalls from Hyundai and Kia about potential fire risks. Apart from being inconvenienced by a few issues and a couple of catastrophic failures, you don't have to worry too much about your Tesla. After all, the Lemon Law protects you from dealing with stuff like this for too long.

Tesla Model 3
Photo: Tesla Inc
A mechanic known for being fond of building simplicity and Japanese-made vehicles got his hands on a used Model 3 Long Range. A customer bought it for around $43,000 and took it to none other than Scotty Kilmer.

The mechanic-turned-YouTuber didn't even need a minute before touching on the negatives of owning a Tesla. He claims the tires are wearing out "three times" faster because EVs, like the aforementioned sedan, have heavy high-voltage batteries. But he also points out that it might have to do something with the owner's driving style. The dual-motor Model 3 has impressive torque. If the driver has a lead foot, they will burn through those rubber rings faster.

Kilmer continues and says that Tesla is selling electric cars with an artificially limited power output. He doesn't like that the "Acceleration Boost" upgrade exists. The mechanic believes that if you're not getting a proper mod, you shouldn't have to pay for it.

Developers could argue that a software upgrade is a real mod resulting from extra work, but would car buyers listen? Wait until he finds out that brands like Mercedes-Benz or Rivian are doing the same. The Germans even wanted to transform increased power output into a subscription!

Inside Tesla Model 3 \(non\-Highland\)
Photo: Scotty Kilmer on YouTube
Scotty Kilmer also bashes Tesla EVs for not having a classic OBD II port. The brand's vehicles have a connector hidden in the center console, but you'll need an adapter to access more data and learn more about certain error codes.

The mechanic adds the absence of a driver's display (or instrument panel) to his list of dislikes about the Model 3. FYI: the Model S and Model X have one.

Surprisingly, Kilmer is aware that running through multiple sets of tires every year is dangerous for the environment. Microparticles can end up everywhere, including water and our bodies. Similarly, he underlines that EVs like the ones Tesla makes are often scrapped after minor incidents instead of being fixed. That's yet another environmental concern.

Despite all that, the old timer likes that the car's fast and has useful tech like Autopilot on board. He rides shotgun and doesn't have much to complain about, even though the non-Highland Model 3 is known for having a sporty (i.e., stiff) suspension.

One thing's for sure: if you'll treat the Model 3 Long Range like a normal car (i.e., don't hoon it around) and can charge mostly at home or work, there isn't a better option out there. Just make sure the one you're taking delivery of is not prone to falling apart on the highway.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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