PSA: Tesla Does Not Remove Features from Privately-Sold Tesla Vehicles

There have been rumors circulating around the internet that Tesla occasionally removes features such as Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability after a used Tesla is sold. We’re here to clarify that that isn’t the case.

The story of a Tesla buyer was widely reported in the press after Tesla remotely removed both Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability from a Model S he had purchased from a dealer. The full story is that the vehicle was a lemon buyback and as a result the features hadn’t actually been paid for even though they were on the Monroney sticker, but that’s irrelevant: Tesla has since rectified the issue and restored both features for the buyer.

Tesla has started that they do audits to remove features that hadn’t been paid for, but buyers can take precautions to avoid these extenuating circumstances. Whether purchasing from a dealer or private seller, check both the sticker and in the case of a private seller ask for a screenshot of their Tesla account to ensure that Autopilot and/or Full-Self Driving Capability has been paid for and is active on the vehicle.

While buyers may have to exert extra caution when purchasing a lemon buyback, it seems that Tesla has since backtracked on its policy and will leave these features active provided that they’re already on the sticker. In other words, our stance on is not to worry about it as long as the sticker and the interface on the car reflect these features being active. (If the features were purchased after delivery of the vehicle, they will be reflected in the owner’s Tesla account.)

When purchasing a privately-sold Tesla, buyers shouldn’t be concerned about Tesla removing features that have been paid for and already active on the vehicle.
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