One of your Tesla’s most convenient features is its accessibility through the Tesla app. From accessing your Tesla’s records, updates, subscriptions, and even your Tesla’s door locks, the ability to track and access your vehicle has never been easier.

However, when it comes time to move on from your old Tesla to a new vehicle, you’ll no longer need access to all that data. Fortunately, the Tesla ownership transfer process is fairly straightforward, though there are several issues that can crop up if you don’t initiate an ownership transfer at the right time.

How do you transfer a Tesla from your account to someone else? Let’s dive right in:

A quick disclaimer here: these are our thoughts on practices we’ve found work best, but you need to be sure to do your own due diligence for payment and title transfer. We highly recommend using our partner KeySavvy to avoid risk when buying or selling used EVs from a private party.

Step 1: Finalizing the Sale (Do This First!)

First things first, never transfer a Tesla until the sale of the car is finalized. If you are selling privately, this means that you should not transfer ownership of the vehicle unless you are passing over the Tesla’s title to the new owner and all payment arrangements have been completed. Or, if you are shipping your Tesla, do not transfer ownership until the vehicle has been handed off to the shipping company.

Transferring a Tesla too soon can mean that the seller will be unable to access the vehicle without the Tesla’s key card or key fob. As a seller, you may also lose the ability to charge your Tesla at a Supercharger (a situation which has put several sellers into an awkward position while handing off the vehicle).

And what happens if a buyer backs out of the sale after the transfer has already been initiated in the Tesla app? Tesla requires you to submit proof of ownership to reassign your vehicle to your account, and this process can take anywhere from 3-5 days (or longer, in some cases).

We’ll say it one more time for emphasis, do NOT transfer a Tesla to a new owner until after the sale has been finalized.

If you are still in the early stages of preparing to sell your Tesla, be sure to read our Comprehensive Pre-Sale Checklist for more info on what finalizing a sale could look like for you and your buyer.

Before you initiate a transfer, you’ll need to take one more crucial step for keeping a seller’s personal data from mixing with a buyer’s data. We’ll cover that step in the next section:

Step 2: Removing Personal Data

After your sale is finalized and you are ready to hand your Tesla over to the new owner, you’ll want to wipe all of your personal data from inside the vehicle. This will remove your credit card information, streaming account info, map data, and other personal information so that the new owner starts their Tesla experience with a clean slate (and none of your login info).

For a full factory reset, use the main touchscreen menu inside the Tesla and navigate to:

Service -> Factory Reset

You’ll be asked to log in to your Tesla account and to confirm the reset. Note: you cannot undo a factory reset once it is completed.

After the request for a reset is confirmed, your Tesla will cycle through a power down and restart/reboot. The restart/reboot cycle may occur more than once before the process is complete.

Once the reset is finished, your driver profile should be missing from the touchscreen.

For a full discussion on Tesla factory resets, be sure to check out our previous article: How to Clear and Reset Your Tesla.

Step 3: Transferring a Tesla to the New Owner

After you’ve finalized the sale of a Tesla and done a full factory reset, the steps to transferring ownership are pretty straightforward. You can initiate a transfer through your Tesla account online, but the easiest way to transfer your Tesla ownership is in the app.

Make sure you’ve updated your Tesla app to the most recent version before you continue.

Seller Transfer of Tesla Ownership

The first step to transferring ownership is for you (as a seller) to remove the Tesla from your app. To complete these steps, you’ll need your buyer’s name and email address.

  • In the top-right corner of the Tesla app, select the menu
  • Go to My Products -> Remove or Transfer Ownership
  • Follow the on-screen prompts to finish the transfer request

Tesla Transfer Instructions for Buyers

When you buy a Tesla from a private seller, you can accept the transfer of that Tesla via an email link that Tesla will send you within 3-5 days of the Seller’s transfer request. You can use the link in the email to set up an account if you don’t have one already.

However, in the situation where you buy a vehicle from a dealer or 3rd party who has not initiated a transfer through the app, you can claim your Tesla by following these steps:

  1. Ensure that you have access to both wi-fi and your Tesla.
  2. Download the Tesla app and set up an account. Or, if you already have the app, make sure to download the most recent version
  3. Have your Tesla’s VIN and bill of sale handy, plus any other supporting documents for the sale
  4. In the top-right corner of the Tesla app, select the menu
  5. Select the name of your Tesla model -> Add Product
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions

How Long Does It Take to Transfer Tesla Ownership?

According to Tesla, it typically takes 3-5 days for Tesla to process transfer of ownership from one account to another. However, if both the buyer and the seller have a Tesla account already, the transfer may only take a few minutes before the buyer is able to accept the transfer.

Claiming ownership of your Tesla through the app without a seller-initiated transfer should not take too much longer than the 3-5 day window we’ve already mentioned, but in some cases it may take longer, possibly up to two weeks. This will greatly depend on whether you’ve submitted all of the supporting paperwork for the transfer.

Note: during the waiting period while the transfer is processed, you will need to make sure you have either the key card or key card with you to drive your vehicle.

What Features Transfer with a Tesla?

Non-subscription features, such as fully-purchased Full Self-Driving (FSD) and Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) are typically tied to each vehicle and will transfer with the vehicle as ownership changes.

Tesla FSD transfer can be tricky depending on when the vehicle was purchased and how access to FSD was granted: we cover some of these scenarios here.

In some cases, Unlimited Free Supercharging is also transferable. We cover a number of known free Supercharging transfer scenarios in this article.

Premium Connectivity is also transferable for some earlier Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles. However, most vehicles purchased after 2018 will not have a transferable version of Premium Connectivity.

What Features will NOT Transfer with a Tesla?

In most cases, Tesla supercharging credits and subscriptions will not transfer as the vehicle’s ownership changes hands. Tesla keeps most of these “intangibles” tied to each owner’s account and does not usually permit their transfer.

In vehicles purchased after 2018, Premium Connectivity is also generally non-transferable.

Can You Transfer a Tesla Lease?

While the details of ending or transferring a lease on a Tesla are always subject to the lease agreement that was signed at the beginning of the lease period, you may be able to transfer a leased Tesla to a new lease holder.

For vehicles leased by Tesla, your lease must still have more than 12 months left for a transfer to be valid. If you have already located a potential leaseholder, you can initiate a screening for them through the app.

For more information on Tesla lease transfer conditions and procedures, see Tesla’s article “Ending Your Lease Early.”

However, subscriptions or supercharging credits that you purchased while leasing will not be transferable to the new lease holder.

Can You Transfer Tesla Reservations?

The short answer to whether or not Tesla allows the transfer of a new vehicle reservation is no. A reservation is not a claim to ownership, so you cannot transfer the ownership of a reserved Tesla.

While Tesla does use a reservation system for new vehicle releases (as of May 2024, we are definitely still talking about the Cybertruck), that system is meant to hold a place for the original potential buyer only. If Tesla discovers that you have attempted to transfer a reservation by means such as transferring your full Tesla account access, you may be blacklisted from buying a Tesla in the future.

Looking for Your Next Electric Ride? Find It Here!

Looking for the best way to buy or sell a used EV online? We’ve got you covered!

With our advanced filtering system, finding the perfect EV with all the features you are looking for couldn’t be easier. Our used EV listings are EV only, with no similarly-named gas cars bogging down your search results.

Plus, thanks to our partnership with KeySavvy, you may be able to take advantage of the Used Clean Vehicle Credit even in private party sales (and they also help with secure payment and title transfer as well, which we highly recommend)! Don’t wait to take advantage of today’s prices, take a look at what’s available in our used EV listings today!

As a seller, you can get your EV listed online in minutes, with no competing ICE ads to distract potential buyers. Control your own listing to maximize your potential sales price or get a quote from our own vetted and verified dealer network with an EV Cash Offer.

Register here to get your used EV on the market today!