Whenever the words “used Model S” are thrown around, undoubtedly the term “CPO Model S” is tossed in alongside it somewhere. What does that mean, exactly? Well, it refers to Tesla’s factory Certified Pre-Owned program.
Technically, Tesla doesn’t “certify” pre-owned vehicles anymore (the used to restore them to like-new condition), but people still refer to them as “CPO” cars in the Tesla community. Essentially, you’re buying a used car directly from Tesla that they’ve taken back on a trade, lease, or in some other way and then they check the car over and issue either a 2-year or 4-year warranty on the vehicle depending upon the year and mileage (older vehicles with higher mileage get the 2-year warranty, new vehicles with lower mileage get the 4-year warranty). The 2-year warranty goes up to 100k miles, and the 4-year warranty typically goes an additional 50k miles above the current mileage on the vehicle, and is similar to the initial factory warranty.
The fact that you get a warranty is definitely a benefit to buying directly from Tesla, but the problem is that this comes at a higher cost, and you can often add an extended warranty to a used Model S as long as there is some remaining balance of the factory warranty. In addition to that, many used Model S vehicles for sale still have a balance of the factory warranty too. So, you might be able to get a better deal from a private party and then just add your own extended warranty direct from Tesla.
In the next few sections, we’ll look directly at some of the pros and cons related to buying a used Model S vs. a CPO Model S.