We’ve found some users are concerned about purchasing a Tesla and having Tesla remove software features, such as Autopilot or Full Self-Driving. We’d like to alleviate those concerns.
The long and short of it is that Tesla can only remove Full Self-Driving from a Tesla that’s been traded in to Tesla. The vehicle is then reconditioned, and may have software features such as Full Self-Driving added or removed based on Tesla’s own analysis of the vehicle and its intended market.
It should be noted that base Autopilot (the ability for a Tesla to steer and keep within its lane) is included on all new and used Tesla’s purchased directly from Tesla, so this feature wouldn’t be removed: only added to a traded vehicle with HW2.0+ that isn’t already equipped with it.
Enhanced Autopilot is no longer offered by Tesla, so for the sake of consistency Tesla will remove it and replace it with either a base version of Autopilot or Full Self-Driving again based on its own analysis of the market where a particular configuration will be sold and only when that vehicle is traded in to Tesla.
Some prospective buyers may be wondering: since these are software features, can Tesla remove Autopilot or Full Self-Driving from a vehicle that’s already been purchased? The definitive answer is no. These features are tied to the vehicle itself and not a specific Tesla account, so in the case of a private sale all software features will transfer and remain active within the subsequent owner’s Tesla account.
There was one case where a Tesla was incorrectly sold at auction with features that weren’t paid for, so dealers do have to be cautious and try to seek confirmation from Tesla. Those Autopilot features were then removed after a user purchased the vehicle. However, this is the exception and by no means expected. Even in this scenario Tesla did eventually reactivate the features.
We recommend getting confirmation from the Tesla’s touchscreen as well as from a private seller’s Tesla app that Autopilot/Enhanced Autopilot/Full Self-Driving features are active and paid for. Provided that’s the case, there should be no concern about Tesla removing these features as they’re tied to the vehicle from the time of purchase in perpetuity.
Purchasing a Tesla from a third-party dealer can carry additional risks. Please verify that features such as Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are active and will remain active for the life of the car by contacting Tesla prior to purchase. Tesla may send a car to auction then remove software features that are listed on the bill of sale.
There should be no concern about purchasing from a private seller. Although it is technically possible for an owner to dispute a charge on a credit card for up to 180 days following the transaction, we have heard zero cases of this occurring. Features that have been active on the for a duration of time or at purchase will remain on the Tesla in perpetuity.
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