While selling any electric car can feel daunting, there are plenty of tools and tips that can make the process easier and more understandable. We’ve created a checklist specifically for selling used Teslas, but you can apply a lot of this information to any EV sale.

(Note that if you’re selling on Find My Electric, you can use our title and payment partner—KeySavvy! They take the risk out of the transaction—making it quick, simple, and safe!)

Here’s the quick version of the Tesla pre-sale checklist:

  1. Inspection and maintenance
  2. Gather your paperwork
  3. Clean your Tesla
  4. Take photos
  5. Decide where to sell your Tesla
  6. Remove your stuff (physically and digitally)

In today’s blog post, we’ll go through each of these steps in detail. Let’s get started:

Part 1: Tesla Inspection and Maintenance

Fortunately, Teslas only have a few maintenance items to take care of:

  1. Tires: check your tires for proper inflation and wear condition
  2. Windshield wiper fluid: check your Tesla’s levels and top off as necessary
  3. Climate Control System HEPA Filters: check and replace filters as needed
  4. Brake fluid: check levels

As you gear up to start the process of selling your Tesla, consider getting a general inspection done at a Tesla-informed or certified EV mechanic (in many places, the Tesla Service Center may be your only option). And since it can be difficult to get a Tesla set up for tire rotation and alignment at other auto shops, you might as well get those done at the same time as the inspection.

Keep all records of this maintenance handy. You’ll need to keep this information along with the rest of your documents when preparing your Tesla for sale.

Speaking of documentation, let’s move on to part two:

Part 2: What Documents Do I Need to Sell My Tesla?

Sellers are in charge of the majority of the paperwork in a Tesla sale, so you’ll need to have a few things handy for most selling scenarios. Be sure to research your own state’s requirements ahead of offering your Tesla for sale.

(Note that if you’re selling on Find My Electric, you can use our title and payment partner—KeySavvy! They take the risk out of the transaction—making it quick, simple, and safe!)

The majority of states require the following documents:

  • Title
    • Note: if your Tesla was financed, you will need to confirm your lien transfer requirements with your financial institution.
  • Registration
  • Release of Liability
    • This document is filed with your DMV after the sale. It informs your state that you are no longer the Tesla’s responsible party.

We’d recommend also gathering or filling out the following documents, though they aren’t always required when selling a Tesla (some states only allow ownership transfer to take place on the actual title):

  • Bill of Sale
    • A Bill of Sale is not required in every state, but it may be a good idea to have one handy for your records. Your state’s DMV may have these available on their website.
  • Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement
    • This would be Your Tesla’s original build sheet or original sales invoice
  • Maintenance Records
    • Maintenance records can include (but are not limited to) things like tire rotations, brake replacement, safety inspections, open recall information, HEPA filter replacement, windshield wiper replacement, battery replacement (12v or high voltage), warranty repairs, and any commentary by your mechanic or service center about future maintenance needed.

One more document you may need to sell a Tesla is called the Seller’s Disclosure. Let’s take a look at some disclosure essentials:

What Do I Need on My Tesla’s Disclosure?

The Disclosure contains the maintenance, warranty, and recall history for your Tesla. You should always lean on the side of including too much information here; it’s better to have more documentation if a legal issue crops up later, not less.

Disclosure requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your state to see what info you legally need to include on a disclosure form. Most disclosures contain the following:

  • Known damage to the vehicle
  • Collision reports
  • Warranted repairs and replacements
  • Recalls (and whether or not your Tesla has had these recalls resolved)
  • Any other known issues or concerns

You’ll be able to find a lot of this information by getting a vehicle history report for your Tesla. The vehicle history report is also a great way to show potential buyers that the information you are including about your Tesla is verifiable.

We include a free AutoCheck report with our Featured Listings for exactly this reason. The AutoCheck report helps create buyer confidence, especially for private sales.

Want to know other ways to help create buyer confidence when you list your Tesla for sale? Read on to Part 4 and Part 5: cleaning and photographing your Tesla (spoiler: these are essential for creating top-tier used Tesla listings).

Part 3: How Do I Clean My Tesla?

A clean car will attract the most attention whether you decide to sell your Tesla privately or through a 3rd party. Even EV dealerships will look more favorably on your Tesla if it’s been thoroughly cleaned before they make an assessment.

At Find My Electric, we can vouch for the fact that the most pristine-looking used Teslas on our listing pages get the most views. This is especially true for higher-priced Teslas like the Performance Model S or X.

We’d recommend hiring a detailing service to save yourself time and to get the best presentation of your Tesla for an online or 3rd party sale. A decent detailing job should cost somewhere in the $200-$500 range, but the added value to your final sales price can be up to 10%, which could mean thousands back into your pocket.

If you want to DIY a full clean, here’s a list of exterior and interior areas to focus on:


  1. Body: Rinse off any dirt and grime with water, then clean the body of the car with a good auto soap and sponge. Follow up with a clay bar and rinse.
  2. Wheels: Dissolve brake dust and iron particles with a cleaner made for that purpose. Make sure to get into the crevices with a non-abrasive brush.
  3. Trunk, Frunk, and Door Sills: Clean and dry the plastic trim.
  4. Wax: After the Tesla dries, wax body panels. Detail smaller panels and accents with a light amount of wax.
  5. Tires: Apply a water-based wheel dressing.


  1. Dashboard/Console/Cup Holders/Steering Wheel: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the surfaces you can reach. Brushes and an air compressor can be handy for hard-to-reach areas.
  2. Carpets: Lightly shampoo carpets, brush, and vacuum.
  3. Seats: Vacuum the seats, then use the correct cleaning tools and products for your seat material (in a Tesla, this could be textile/cloth, Nappa leather, or vegan leather).
  4. Doors: You can typically get all the dirt and debris out with a vacuum and brush.
  5. Frunk/Trunk: Vacuum carpets and lightly shampoo. Wipe and clear out the extra compartments and the hatch hardware.
  6. Floor mats: Scrub and powerwash.

Next, we’ll walk you through one of the most important ways to advertise your Tesla if you are selling online: taking and using excellent photos.

Part 4: What Photos Should I Take to Sell My Tesla Online?

Getting the best possible price for your Tesla online means proving its worth and condition to your buyer through photos. Whether you have access to a good camera setup or are just using your phone, here are some tips for showing off your Tesla at its best:

When and Where Should I Take Photos of My Tesla?

Lighting: Early morning or early evening are the best times to take photos of your Tesla. At those times, outdoor lighting is indirect and shadows are gentle instead of stark.

Location: Choose an uncluttered backdrop to keep details of your Tesla in focus. A full frame view of your Tesla in your driveway or in a parking lot should be great if there are very few long cast shadows in view (via trees, electric poles, etc).

Try to keep other cars out of the background of your photos, and make sure to take your pics with the Tesla’s windows rolled all the way up (it really makes a difference in aesthetics).

If you live in a part of the country with great weather and scenery (like California), it doesn’t hurt to drive to a nice location for a bit of added ambiance and class to your images.

In terms of professional pictures, they do help vehicles sell faster, but it’s not always necessary to spend money on them. They do tend to help vehicles stand out though, so that’s something to consider.

Prep Your Tesla

Treat this photoshoot like staging a house for sale: present your Tesla free of your stuff and in a way that lets potential buyers see themselves in the driver’s seat. Before you start snapping pics, use a microfiber cloth to spot check for any dust that may have accumulated since you last cleaned your Tesla.

Make sure that you don’t take pictures with car seats and cookie crumbs or juice box spills in the background—this might sound obvious, but we’ve seen it all!

Which Pictures Are Most Important for Selling My Tesla Online?

All of your photos should be high-resolution. You’ll want a combination of big picture and detail shots. Try to focus on the kinds of features or issues you would personally want to know about if you were the one buying a Tesla through an online listing.

Here are the views we recommend:

Major Features:

  • Front
  • 3/4 Profile
  • Side Profile
  • Driver’s Side Interior (Front)
  • Back
  • Wheels
    • Tip: after you take your other exterior pics, turn the wheel to display the front tire tread.


  • Passenger’s Side Interior (Front)
  • Touchscreen
    • Tip: If your Tesla has additional purchases that will transfer (such as FSD fully purchased after delivery), you can snap some pics of the Purchases tab on the touchscreen. The software screen for Teslas is important as well, because it shows the mileage, VIN, and any purchased software.
  • Back Seat Interior
  • Badging
  • Original Build Sheet
  • Odometer Reading
  • Monroney Sticker
    • This window sticker should have come on your Tesla when it was delivered. It shows original pricing and options.
  • Frunk and Trunk
  • Model-Specific features or configurations
    • For example: Model X Falcon Wing doors, early Model S Panoramic Sunroof, Model Y with 21″ Überturbine Wheels, etc.
  • Any imperfections or damage

If you are listing your Tesla for sale online, you’ll want a generous number of photos. We’ve noticed that about 10-20 well-focused images that show off a variety of your Tesla’s features gives you the best buyer clickthrough rate on a listing.

Upgraded image hosting is often worth the investment. Whatever listing service you choose, make sure they offer a minimum of 10 images for each paid listing. At Find My Electric, we include up to 20 hosted photos in our Featured Listing package, which lets you include all of the detail shots we mentioned plus a few more.

On a free listing that includes only a few photos, focus your efforts on two main selling shots (front or side profile, driver’s side interior) and an important detail or two. We host up to three photos of your Tesla in Find My Electric’s Free Listing package, and we’ve found that a 3/4 or side profile shot works well for your main image. After that, the front driver’s side interior view should be your highest priority.

Should I Hire a Professional Photographer?

While we recommended earlier that you hire a detailing service to clean your Tesla and save time, but hiring a professional photographer is up to you. Will it help your listing get more views and potentially sell faster? Yes, most likely. But this generally costs a couple hundred dollars, so it’s not always necessary (you can take great smartphone photos, and other factors are a bit more important like how you price your EV).

Part 5: Should I Sell My Tesla Privately or To a Dealer?

Any Tesla owner has two goals they would ideally like to achieve when selling their Tesla: 1) to get the most money they can for their Tesla, and 2) to sell a Tesla quickly and easily. How much priority you place on these goals is entirely up to you, but your top goal will determine your ideal marketplace for selling your Tesla.

If you want to be completely in control of your own selling price, the best way to sell a Tesla is through a private sale. With private sales, you get to name the selling price and negotiate with buyers yourself. No middleman gets a cut of your sale. And since listing and selling vehicles online is the norm these days, you’ll want the best listing service you can find.

Shameless plug here: Find My Electric is the #1 listing site for used Teslas. We’ve been Tesla-focused from the very beginning, and we provide a listing platform that highlights every important feature that your buyers will be looking for. Create a listing that can go live in just a few minutes, served to an audience of EV buyers that are looking for exactly what you are selling: a used Tesla!

If getting a good price without spending extra time vetting and negotiating with buyers is your idea of a great sales outcome, we’d recommend a dealer sale. However, for EVs these sales can still be kind of a mixed bag. Not all dealerships have truly joined the EV revolution or taken the time to learn how much Teslas are worth based on software, perks, AP hardware, and so on.

We’ve found that the best place to sell a Tesla to a dealer is an EV-informed dealership. Dealerships who have made Tesla knowledge a priority are the only ones that make consistently reasonable offers for used Teslas.

To make it easy for you to get in touch with dealerships that have experience with Teslas and valuing their features, we’ve been vetting and verifying dealers and creating our own EV-informed dealership network. You can use our EV Cash Offer system to get a real offer from a well-informed dealership that knows what your Tesla is really worth on today’s market.

Selling a Tesla Out-Of-State? A Few Things to Consider:

While selling a used Tesla to an out-of-state buyer is common, you’ll want to make sure you add a few extra checklist items for out-of-state communication and state laws:


  • Video walkthroughs can make showing off your Tesla possible if a physical meetup can’t be arranged.
  • You may need to mail documents back and forth for signatures. Secure overnight courier services are the best way to get this done quickly. UPS, FedEx, and USPS all have options for overnight mailing.

State Laws

Transferring vehicle ownership between state can include extra paperwork, so make sure you check up on each of the following:

(Again, before we get into this—if you’re selling via Find My Electric, KeySavvy takes care of payment and titling for you—it’s safe and easy!)

  • General paperwork: Documentation requirements vary by state. Make sure you have the proper documentation to meet used auto sales requirements in both the buyer and the seller’s state.
  • Title Transfer Application: both you and your buyer need to get a Title Transfer Application from your respective DMVs. Some states may have additional inspection requirements, so it’s wise to ask the DMV about that as well.
  • State Taxes: check with the DMV to see if you or your buyer will have to pay additional taxes in order to transfer the title.
  • Transfer Plates/Tags: let your buyer know that you will be keeping your license plates. Your buyer should be responsible for transfer tags or plates whether they are driving your Tesla home or getting it shipped.
  • Miscellaneous problems: Some vehicle code violations, such as heavy window tinting prohibited by the buyer’s state, may mean that the buyer’s DMV will refuse to register your Tesla after the sale. Let your buyer know that they should check for restrictions at their DMV.


Shipping a car has become relatively common in out-of-state sales. While shipping is generally something that your buyer should be responsible for arranging with a legitimate shipping company, you will need to discuss what they expect regarding shipment.

Typically, when a shipping company has been contracted, that company will contact you to arrange pickup of your Tesla. Never ship a car until the last documents have been signed and payment has been secured (this is usually done through an escrow service to ensure that you are both financially protected).

Part 6: Remove Your Physical (and Digital) Stuff From Your Tesla

Note: This only applies to a Tesla that you’ve already sold, but before you hand it off to the shipping company or the buyer!

  • Get any of your stuff out of the car (don’t forget to check the frunk and the trunk)
  • Remove all peripheral devices (USB flash drives, phone chargers, etc)
  • Remove your license plates to take them with you
  • Clear and reset your Tesla to its factory settings
  • Hand over the Tesla’s key fob and and key cards
  • Remove the sold Tesla from your Tesla Account and choose the option to transfer ownership (only necessary if your buyer has signed up for a Tesla account)

The Post-Sale Checklist

After the sale, there are still a few for you to do as a seller:

  • File your release of liability with the appropriate office (check with your DMV or county clerk)
  • Cancel your Tesla’s insurance
  • Bonus: now that your old Tesla is off on its new adventure, why not start the search for your next EV through Find My Electric!

That’s it! If you have more questions or concerns about how to sell your Tesla online or through Find My Electric, feel free to reach out!