Tesla Model 3 Depreciation – A Quick Look

It’s essential to consider the hidden costs of depreciation when buying an electric vehicle. The loss in value affects every make and model to varying degrees. With the Tesla Model 3, depreciation happens, just like every other car.

The primary vehicle depreciation factors include vehicle age, mileage, and condition. “You lose money the minute you drive off the lot” may be cliche, but it points to the massive plunge in value upfront. That’s why it can be advantageous to buy a previously owned car with low mileage – the first owner takes the deepest cut.

A row of Tesla Model S at the auction yard.
The auctions are packed with Teslas. Depreciation is always a factor.

Motor1 points out a significant warranty concern with used Teslas.

If you buy a used Tesla from Tesla, you’re okay. But “cars bought from third parties, including private sellers, are not covered by the Used Vehicle Limited Warranty.”

Out of warranty repairs can be quite expensive.

The service department in any dealership is the real money maker. There aren’t many independent Tesla repair shops, and aftermarket repair parts are limited. Although this is good for Tesla’s bottom line, the same might not be true for yours.

A Tesla Model X has its rear bumper resprayed before heading to the auction line.
Bumper resprays are quick. Panel refits, not so much?

Tesla Model 3 Depreciation Comparison

Here’s a quick depreciation rundown on a Silver 2018 Mid-range Model 3 with standard equipment, using KBB’s trade-in values.

Starting MSRP when new: $47,200


  • 2018 Model 3 – Very-good condition / 10,000 miles: $34,188
  • 2018 Model 3 – Very-good condition / 90,000 miles: $21,923
  • 2018 Model 3 – Good condition / 90,000 miles: $20,597
  • 2018 Model 3 – Fair condition / 90,000 miles: $19,130

Vehicle condition primarily relates to cosmetics. It takes into account the cost of getting the paint and bodywork into showroom condition. The cost of mechanical repairs gets added to this. The more miles you drive, the higher the odds that something will break. The passage of time can be costly.

While I won’t detail, it’s safe to say that Tesla has some unique cosmetic quality issues. The things that the owner lives with daily may not be a worry until the time comes to sell.

Tesla Model 3 Maintenance Parts

Brake and suspension components are regular maintenance items. Brake rotors, pads, and calipers are not a problem. Rock Auto offers brake parts from Wagner, Centric, and Dynamic Friction. But standard suspension replacement part support looks thin. If you want to bolt on a set of expensive aftermarket coil-overs, KW has it covered. Wrecking yards and eBay look to be the best sources for standard replacement suspension parts for the moment. If you’re handy and on a tight budget, previously owned parts can save a few bucks.

As with any major purchase, it’s wise to do your due diligence before stepping foot in the showroom. Take what the salesperson says with a fifty-pound bag of driveway salt.

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