How Drivers Can Get A Tesla For Less Than Their Current Car

These Teslas are available on Carvana. Credit: Carvana

16. Search on Carvana For Amazing Prices

Carvana is a website that allows you to buy a car online. Sure, the thought of buying a car sight-unseen may be a little bit scary, but their website gives you a 360-degree view of both the outside and inside of the car as well as close-ups of any potential damage. They’ll deliver the car to your doorstep and allow you to drive it for a week for free while you decide if you want it. If you choose not to buy the car, you’re free to change your mind without getting charged. 

Here is an example of a payment for a Tesla bought through Carvana. Credit: Carvana

In the example shown in the screenshot, this is a used 2013 Tesla Model S. On Carvana, it costs $34,600. When searching on their loan calculator, they estimate that if you had an “excellent” credit score and came prepared with a $3,000 down payment, your monthly payment would be just $487 per month. 

Example of a car available at an auction for $15,000. Credit: Copart

15. Check Out Local Auctions For Used Teslas

Ever wonder how used car dealers make a profit from selling their vehicles? Most of the time, they get amazing deals at car auctions, fix their problems, and flip them for a profit. If you’re looking to find a used Tesla, check out your local car auction or nationwide chains like Copart. Most auctions expect you to pay in cash, and you may even need to hire a broker to bid on your behalf. So always read the rules carefully, and call your local area auction for any questions.

Car auctions are a place where you can get a discounted price on vehicles. Credit: Shutterstock

Keep in mind that most of these cars are being sold by insurance companies after they have been in an accident. If you buy a car from an auction, there is a guarantee you’ll need to get repairs done. Usually, the listing will tell you exactly what’s wrong with the car. You can also find out the VIN number ahead of time and find out what happened to the vehicle during the accident. Then you can estimate the cost of repairs.

For example, at the time this article was written, a 2014 Tesla Model S sold in New York for $15,000. It had front-end cosmetic damage that cost a couple of thousand to fix, but the car was estimated to be worth $40,000. 

How much could you save if you had a Tesla? Credit: Shutterstock

14. Calculate Your Potential Gas Savings

Considering that Teslas run on electricity, you’ll save a tremendous amount of money on gas. This is especially true if you live in an area where you can charge your car for free. According to US News, Americans spend an average of $386 a month on gasoline, which would equate to $4,632 per year.  If this sounds accurate to you, calculate that in the total monthly upkeep for your car. For example, if your car payment is $300 a month, but you spend $300 a month on gasoline, that’s really more like a $600 budget. And as we mentioned in a previous entry, it’s possible to get a Tesla for less than $500 a month. You would spend $0 on gas and actually save $100 a month.

How much do you pay in gas? Credit: Shutterstock

According to Tesla’s website, people typically save $1,199 per year on gasoline once they switch to a Tesla. This number seems very low, but it may be accurate for the average Tesla customer who was driving a hybrid like a Toyota Prius before they made their switch. For anyone who has to commute a long distance to work, the savings may be even higher. Add up your gas receipts to calculate your own numbers.

It is possible to charge your Tesla for free. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Take Advantage of Free Charging

Some people make the argument that buying an electric car might cost just as much as a gas vehicle if they’re using their own electricity. If you have a plugin your garage, this might be true if you’re taking power from the grid. Luckily, there are plenty of places that will happily give away free electricity to people with electric cars. Tesla has their official charging stations all over the United States, and some cars qualify for unlimited free supercharging.

Some states have a lot of free charging stations available. Credit: Shutterstock

You can also find other electric charging stations on PlugShare. Most of these free plugs are located at universities or retail shopping centers. So it would be possible for you to plug your car in while you shop, or explore the campus library. If you coordinate your weekly schedule to fit in with these free charging stations, it can be easy to keep your Tesla fully charged without ever having to spend a time on energy.

It is wise to look for a car loan ahead of time. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Shop Around For the Best Financing

The financing you get directly through Tesla is just 3.75%, which is very low. If you are planning to purchase a brand new vehicle, it would make the most sense to buy directly from the company rather than getting third-party financing through a dealer that’s likely to charge you much more in interest. However, if you’re considering purchasing a used Tesla from a third-party dealer, you’ll most likely have to shop around for a loan.

Come prepared with your own auto financing. Credit: Shutterstock

Instead of trusting a car dealer to find a loan for you, do some research of your own. Whenever a car dealership searches for a loan, they might query multiple places at once. That will make your credit score drop. If there’s a bank or credit card company that you have a positive reputation with, go to them first. They’ll already have a history with you, and they are likely to give you a low-interest rate. Once you have your financing in hand, you can use it to buy a car from a third-party dealer.

Some people have a boat in their backyard that they never use. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Sell Unused Big-Ticket Items

Do you have an RV or a boat sitting in your backyard? You might enjoy those things one or two weekends every summer, and then they sit and collect dust for the rest of the year. Ask yourself how much happiness driving a Tesla would bring your life versus the joy that these other expensive items give you.

Vintage airstreams are still popular today. Credit: Shutterstock

If you feel as though you’d rather have a Tesla, go ahead and sell that RV. Once you have the cash in hand, use it towards your Tesla. In some cases, an RV can still resell for tens of thousands of dollars, and that can put a serious dent in purchasing the Tesla of your dreams.

If two people share one Tesla, it can be more affordable. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Share the Tesla With Your Partner

In the United States, it’s common for nearly everyone to own a car unless you live in a city. Considering that public transportation isn’t very reliable, it’s almost always necessary for every adult in the family to have a car. However, in some cases, it may be possible for couples to adjust their lifestyle to have just one car instead of two. If two people are spending $400 a month on their cars, that’s $800 total for the household. The payment on a Tesla may be closer to $500 to $600. 

Sometimes it’s best for two people to share the cost of a luxury car. Credit: Shutterstock

So, how can couples manage sharing a car? One partner may decide to stay at home with the kids, and they only need a car for errands. Or the working partner may have the option to get dropped off at the train station to go to work, instead of commuting in and out of a city. It’s not going to work for everyone, but some people may be able to make sacrifices to achieve their dream of owning a Tesla and actually save money overall.

You may want to get a cheaper second car if you want to afford a Tesla. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Replace Your Second Car With A Cheap Vehicle

We already mentioned the idea of how partners can try to share one vehicle in order to get a Tesla. However, there are plenty of households out there where it is completely necessary for both people to have a car. After all, stay-at-home moms need a vehicle to go grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and helping the kids while the working spouse commutes. Another solution is to trade in one of the household vehicles for a cheaper car.

Some households need two cars. Credit: Shutterstock

There are loads of car dealerships that sell vehicles for just a couple thousand dollars. If you’ve already owned your car for years, you may be able to swap for a cheaper one. Suddenly the monthly payments on your second car have disappeared. Whatever you were spending on the second car can go towards the payment for the Tesla. 

You should calculate the cost of a car over its lifetime. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Consider the Cost of Lifetime Ownership

Many people never stop to consider the cost of owning a car over its lifetime. This’s the total cost of gas, repairs, insurance, and maintenance over the number of years you expect to own the car. According to Liberty Mutual, the average cost of car repairs for Americans is $817 per year. If you own the car for 5 years, that’s $4,085. Compare that to owning a new Tesla under warranty, you would not have to pay anything.

Tesla’s self-driving cars are revolutionary. Credit: Shutterstock

Once you have made a budget over the cost of owning a car for five or 10 years, you’ll see just how much you may potentially save by owning a Tesla for the same length of time. Even if you still pay more to buy the luxury electric car, you might realize that the benefits it brings to your life far outweigh any savings you may or may not get.

Tesla has a referral program. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Take Advantage of The Tesla Referral Program

Once you own a Tesla, you can take advantage of their referral program. In the past, Tesla owners could get back a cash bonus every time they recommended one of their friends. It was a bit too expensive for the company, so they switched up the program. 

If you convince your friends to buy a Tesla, you get a bonus perk. Credit: Shutterstock

Now if you refer a friend, you get 1,000 miles of free supercharging. This may not be as valuable as cash, but it will help you save money on fast charging at official Tesla superchargers. 

How much do you spend on car repairs? Credit: Shutterstock

6. Calculate Annual Repairs

When you own a car, you also have to pay for maintenance and repairs on top of the monthly payment. If you are buying a used vehicle, you may find yourself spending a few hundred dollars a year in upkeep. Eventually, you may reach a point where the cost of repairs is so high that it’s no longer worth keeping the car. Tesla offers a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty that even includes roadside assistance.

Teslas don’t need to be repaired as often as gas-powered engines. Credit: Shutterstock

Whenever an older Tesla needs repair, it’s notoriously expensive and difficult to find a mechanic who knows how to work on them. Early adopters had to spend thousands of dollars on what would be easy fixes for other cars. However, according to people who’ve learned to do repairs themselves, it’s one of the easiest cars to work on for DIY repairs. If you are only planning to lease a Tesla or keep it for a few years while still under warranty, you’re likely to not have to repair the car at all.

Business owners can get a tax writeoff on their vehicles. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Business Tax Write-Offs

Do you own your own business? If so, you can write off the interest payments for your car loan on your taxes, if you use that car for work. You can also write off the depreciation in the value of your car. This is true for any vehicle, not just a Tesla. But it makes the prospect of owning the car seem much more affordable.

Business people need to file their expenses each year. Credit: Shutterstock

On top of that, you can also write off the miles you are driving for work-related commuting and trips. The standard tax write off for mileage is calculated based on gas vehicles. So you would actually get even more savings compared to the average person.

Owning a Tesla may help you score cheaper car insurance. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Cheaper Car Insurance

At the moment, insuring a Tesla may be more expensive than your current car, but that is not always the case. According to NerdWallet, there are some states that offer discounts for electric vehicles, so you may actually get away with paying your current cost to insure your Tesla. Check out your car insurance website, where they will offer you an estimation calculator of how much it would cost to insure a car on your policy.

Compare car insurance quotes online. Credit: Shutterstock

There’s even more good news because Tesla is planning to offer insurance coverage to their customers that would be more affordable than anywhere else. So, one day, you might be able to save even more every year by switching over to Tesla.

One day, there will be more Teslas in circulation. Credit: Shutterstock

3. As Demand Rises, So Will The Supply of Affordable Teslas

The Tesla Model 3 was $35,000, making it far more affordable to people in the middle class. As the years go on, there will be used Model 3s floating around that will make it even cheaper to own one. According to Gear Patrol, Tesla is the dream car in 20 states in 2019. The hype is mostly concentrated on the East and West Coasts. 

In the future, it will be more affordable to own a Tesla. Credit: Shutterstock

The Midwest is still lusting after Range Rovers and Jeep Wranglers, which is completely understandable considering the terrain. There are also very few places for people to charge a Tesla for free in the center of the country. However, the more people get used to never paying for gas, the more common it will become.

One day, it may not even be necessary to charge a Tesla battery. Credit: Shutterstock

2. The Million-Mile Battery 

In April of 2019, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would eventually have a battery that lasted for one million miles on one charge. This would be completely revolutionary for a number of reasons. First, it suggests that the car itself may last for the entirety of that million miles. 

Teslas are equipped with a lithium ion battery. Credit: Shutterstock

Most conventional vehicles only survive for around 200,000 miles. In the future, you may be able to buy one Tesla and keep it for the rest of your life. This may cost more upfront, but it will help you save money throughout your lifetime. According to Dough Rollers, if you own vehicles for 50 years of your life, that adds up to $443,800. So if you could buy just one Tesla and be set for life, that’s actually a great deal.

This person is using a Tesla to tow their boat. Credit: Teslarati

1. Replace Your Truck For Towing

There are some people out there who swear they need a pickup truck powerful enough to carry heavy loads. You may need to tow a boat, trailer, or camper. Many people have both a family car and a truck in order to maintain that lifestyle. Not many people know that Teslas can actually tow a tremendous amount of weight. There was even a demonstration showing that a Tesla Model X can tow an airplane. 

Teslas are strong enough to tow an airplane. Credit: Elektrek

You would no longer need a minivan or truck to tow your camping trailer or anything else. If you’re considering keeping a second vehicle for that reason, you may be able to sell your truck or minivan and get all of the same benefits from your Tesla.