Kevin Cleaning Tesla Model 3

How do we prepare our EVs for you?

September 8th, 2020 by

Just because you’re looking for a used car doesn’t mean your car should feel used.

We are committed to offering high-quality pre-owned electric vehicles at great prices, and that means ensuring each vehicle is in tip-top shape before sale. Not all vehicles can be in like-new condition – we’re not miracle workers – but you can expect each vehicle to be clean inside and out, free of major cosmetic damage, and minimal visible wear-and-tear (commensurate with vehicle age).

It starts with inventory selection – we do not bring in vehicles that have been in accidents or have significant interior or exterior damage. It’s much easier to take a car from good to great condition than it is to go from bad to good condition.

Almost every car has some sort of visual blemish. From the moment a new vehicle is driven off the lot, it is subject to all sorts of dangers, most notably road debris and driver error. Drive any car long enough, and rock chips will begin appearing on the front bumper and hood. The dreaded runaway shopping cart threatens door dings. Many drivers inadvertently give their wheels some curb rash, or otherwise suffer some walking-speed collisions. It happens, it’s okay.

We put in the time to recondition all of our vehicles, so many such visual blemishes are removed. We refinish curbed wheels, we remove dents and dings where we’re able, and we buff out light scratches or scuffs. Chipped or cracked glass windshields (and/or roofs, in the case of Tesla) are replaced or repaired. Our goal is to improve the car as much as possible while leaving it as original as possible.

Sometimes a small ding, scuff, or scratch is in a location that a fix would require significant repainting, Bondo filler, or panel replacement. In these cases, we prefer to allow the blemish to remain. Panel replacement and repainting risks non-matching paint, and Bondo repairs can begin to show after a few years. In these cases, leaving the vehicle with a small blemish is the right and necessary decision.

Plus, some repainting work isn’t cost-effective for us or customers. Rock chips are essentially unavoidable and they’re usually very small. Repainting a surface is expensive and like anything else, warrants a cost/benefit analysis.

Two practical examples include a Model 3 that suffered a really nasty cracked roof, and a Volkswagen e-Golf that had a few dings and scuffs.

Cracked Model 3 Roof

Thankfully, Tesla makes replacement roof panels.

The Model 3 had a perfectly intact roof when we bought it, but something went awry during transport. Thankfully, all vehicles are insured while they are being transported both to our HQ and to the home of their new owners. Since the glass roof is a Tesla-specific part, we sent the car to Tesla service to have factory replacement glass installed. Now, you wouldn’t know the difference.

The Volkswagen e-Golf that we took in had several spots that needed attention: scuffs on the bumper, and multiple dings on panels. Thankfully, we could address almost all of these spots with paintless dent repair, buffing, and retouching. Unfortunately, there are two spots that we couldn’t clean up.

e-Golf Ding

This small ding is in one of the few places impossible to fix with paintless dent removal.

First is a ding on the right rear quarter panel. The ding is perfectly situated along a raised edge of the body panel, making it impossible to pull it back into line. The second is a slightly bent piece on the front left corner of the bumper. It can’t be bent back into shape any more than it is – a full repair would require a new bumper – which isn’t cost-effective for such a small blemish.

Overall, the vehicle is in much better condition than it was when we purchased it, with two blemishes so small most people wouldn’t notice unless pointed out.

e-Golf Wide Ding

The ding from the close-up above is also pictured here. Can you find it?

Beyond cleaning up visual imperfections, we detail our cars inside and outside. They should look and feel as clean as they did when they were new, so their next owner feels like they are getting a fresh vehicle.

Of course, pre-owned shoppers care about more than just appearance. They want to know the car they’re buying is in good mechanical shape, has tires with lots of life left, and to be sure it won’t spontaneously combust on their way home.

Customer satisfaction and our reputation for providing it are our biggest priorities, so we put all of our vehicles through a thorough inspection as soon as we get them. Most cars we’re selling are relatively new, so problems are rare, but there are occasionally items that need addressing. If tires have less than 5/32” tread, the car gets new tires. If the brakes are worn, it gets new brakes. If the air conditioning doesn’t work, it gets fixed. If a door handle is broken, if the MCU isn’t turning on, if the suspension is making a noise… you get the idea.

Model 3 Tire Gauge

These tires have about 7/32″ of tread – they are barely worn at all.

Ultimately, some people want to purchase a vehicle that’s in perfect, like-new condition. If that’s the case for you, then buying pre-owned might not be the right route, and that’s okay! Everyone has different priorities when car shopping: some people want a low price, others want a specific interior or exterior color, and some want to know their vehicle is perfect and untouched.

It’s our mission to help people switch to sustainable transportation, and a big part of that is carrying electric vehicles that people actively want to drive. That means taking care of each car and ensuring it feels new to its next owner, even if we can’t literally deliver a brand-new vehicle in perfect condition.

Tesla Model S Ready to Go

Tesla Model S all cleaned up and ready for its next owner.