The Value of Modifications on a Used Tesla

Oct 8, 2019   

A growing number of owners add modifications to their Tesla to protect and customize their vehicle: how much resale value do those mods add when they eventually sell or trade their car?

We surveyed a community of Tesla owners and prospective buyers, and found that 42% of people thought that modifications made no difference in their purchase decision. 33% will take modifications if they’re already included, with minimal impact on their overall decision. 19% of those polled cared about having modifications on a used Tesla, but weren’t interested in paying more for them. Only 6% of prospective buyers were willing to pay for a portion of the original cost of the modifications.

Unfortunately for many sellers that like to modify their vehicle, modifications don’t add a lot of value. The general consensus is that they can help sway buyers towards one Tesla over another comparable Tesla, but the majority of buyers won’t pay more for them. This applies to just about any vehicle, though high-end vehicles like Tesla’s are more likely to benefit from modifications even if the effect on resale value is minimal.

It isn’t all bad news for those that like to modify their cars. The purpose of a modification like paint protection film is to keep the paint in pristine condition during original ownership, so that when it comes time to sell the vehicle is essentially in like new condition. Maintaining the condition of the paint can help net several hundred over vehicles that may have the wear and tear associated with several years of ownership. There is also a certain niche of buyers who may have already been planning to add a more common mod such as paint protection film or chrome delete, so finding a vehicle that already has it applied can help save them the cost and time involved.

Dealers find that modifications can actually detract value from a car, since customers are typically looking for vehicles that are as close to stock as possible. Modifications add cost for a dealer to remove so that they can restore the vehicle to its original configuration. The best way to sell a modded Tesla is privately.

It can be argued that owners that achieve a particular style (such as a blacked-out vehicle or a unique wrap that gains popularity) may find a buyer that falls in love with the customizations and may be willing to pay a premium for it. In that case, the added value will typically be a fraction of the initial costs so vehicles should be priced with that expectation. We help sellers get top dollar for their vehicles, and can help tailor to a unique Tesla. If there’s a buyer out there that’s willing to pay more for a personalized Tesla, we’ll find them.

The bottom line is that personalizing a Tesla’s appearance or taking extra steps to protect the paint is primarily for the original owner’s own personal enjoyment and benefit, and modifications shouldn’t be applied for the purpose of resale value as the return on investment is minimal if nonexistent.

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