Tesla Delivery Appointment: What Happens & How Long It Takes

So you’ve made it through the agonizing waiting period and your Tesla delivery date is finally confirmed and approaching. It’s a welcome day, but do you know exactly what’s going to happen during your Tesla delivery appointment? 

If not, today’s blog is for you. We’ve prepared a full guide on what to expect on your Tesla delivery appointment: what happens, how long you can expect it to take, and so on. If you’ve got a Tesla delivery date coming up, this is a blog not to miss.

Background: What Happens Before Delivery Day?

Estimated delivery dates on Tesla.com for the Tesla Model 3
Estimated delivery dates on Tesla.com for the Tesla Model 3

Before the delivery day arrives, other steps in the process should already have been completed, these include:

  • Placing your initial order
  • Submitting your profile
  • Checking (and re-checking) your estimated delivery day 1,000 times..!
  • Receiving your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Schedule Delivery

The receipt of your VIN is seen by most as the first good sign that your vehicle will be with you fairly soon because at least you know with a VIN that the vehicle has been built and it does physically exist.

One way that people try to ensure they are prioritized for receiving a VIN is to confirm their delivery details within their profile as early as possible, and it seems to work. At least, Tesla recommends doing that to get prioritized for receipt of a VIN.

What You Need to Do Before Your Delivery Day

A woman checking loads of paperwork and financial documents
A woman checking loads of paperwork and financial documents

Once your delivery date is fully scheduled and confirmed, you need to prepare several important things. There’s paperwork and finances that need to be confirmed before you can take delivery of your Tesla. First of all, prepare all of the necessary documents. They include:

You need to make the final payment if you’re cash buying, or e-sign and submit any additional documents indicated in your Tesla account for financing. It’s worth noting here that according to the Tesla website, credit cards are not accepted for the final payment.

Before your delivery day, check your Tesla account to be sure you’ve uploaded and submitted any documents that are needed, and if you’re financing, you should keep chasing the finance department to get confirmation on your approval well before your collection day. No news is not always good news where Tesla finance is concerned.

If you’re trading in, you should also stay on top of your point of contact with Tesla on that. They aren’t very familiar with the used car market and so their workings are not always as efficient as they are with companies like Carvana. Even trading in a Tesla can be hard, so ensure you get confirmations on the trade-in price for that car, too.

What Happens on Delivery Day?

However or wherever you are collecting your Tesla, the following basic requirements should always apply. First of all, remember those key documents or copies to take with you as proof that all is above board and correct:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Evidence of finance
  3. Insurance documents.

Those three things are critical. Also you’ll need proof of ownership for the trade-in if you are doing a trade-in.

Collection from Tesla Location

Someone inspecting a Tesla Model S being delivered
Someone inspecting a Tesla Model S being delivered

When collecting your Tesla from the agreed-upon location, the most important thing you can — assuming you have all the paperwork in hand — is a full and thorough inspection of the car. This is arguably even more important than the “tour” of the vehicle that the Tesla rep will want to give you to set up your profile and show you the main features.

By all means, take the assistance from the rep in setting up your in-car profile, key cards, vehicle settings and whatnot. Make sure you are fully cognizant of those main features, how to activate and deactivate them, and so on.

You’ll more than likely find, however, that your new Tesla is very intuitive and user-friendly, and it’s not unlike using a good smartphone in the end.

More important is the inspection. You should report any problems you find to your Tesla rep at the time of collection. To try and do it retroactively after having the car for several days will make things very difficult a lot of the time. Below is a useful checklist of things to look for:

Inspect Before Confirming Receipt and Driving Away

For the exterior, check the following:

  • Paintwork – any signs of dents, chips, swirl marks, blemishes or other damage? (If you’re in China and ordered wrapping, check the condition of all wrapped panels too).
  • Specification – is this the car you ordered? Compare to your order details
  • Alloys – any signs of damage? Scuffs, scratches, chips, dents?
  • Glass and lights – check for chips and cracks
  • Doors and windows – open and close to make sure they work, especially check if doors open and close easily and without sticking or getting jammed

For the interior, check the following:

  • Seats – any signs of damage, tears in the upholstery, discoloring
  • Interior materials and surfaces – dash, plastics, kick plates, floors
  • Touchscreen – make sure it’s clean, responsive and working smoothly
  • Other devices – check main functions, USB ports, charging, rear-view camera, etc.
  • Check mileage on car – should be under 100
  • Check they have provided proper charging cables

Check within 24 hours or Before Driving 100 Miles

An empty highway
An empty highway

These are things that if you miss in the first inspection, you should try to make sure they are alright within the first 24 hours. If you wait longer, it can be a problem:

  • On the road, make sure you drive the car through some varying road types and situations so you can get a good feel of it.
  • Take it around corners of different sizes, use it going through intersections, drive on the highway or freeway, etc.
  • Make sure that braking, and the regenerative braking system, works as expected. This is naturally critical for safety purposes, so don’t skip this one!

If anything feels wrong, you should report it within 24 hours of collection.

For the exterior, check the following:

  • Panels – they should be lying flat, with no gaps in between on any side of the car, all edges should align, and don’t miss the space between bumper and lights – some Teslas have been known to have problems here
  • Wheels and Tires – check tire pressure, and if you’re buying a Model X, check the front wheels don’t touch the wheel arches when you’ve engaged the lock
  • Wipers – ensure wipers, jets and related components are working properly
  • Check the paint one more time
  • Check the lines around the dash, windows and doors to ensure that everything lines up properly
Tesla Model S on the side in a car park
Tesla Model S on the side in a car park

For the interior, check the following:

  • Check all controls are still working, including windows, touchscreen, doors, etc.
  • Options: heated seats, sunroof, infotainment, wireless charging, etc. Are they all working?
  • Mirrors – can you easily and properly adjust them? Do they stay in place?
  • Touchscreen – go through various options testing settings and features and that everything works; check for unwanted error messages; check software is up to date

Two more key areas to check are access and charging. You may well have set up multiple ways to access your Tesla: key fob, key cards, smartphone, etc. Test all these devices and make sure they are working.

All key cards — including your spares that you should leave safely at home — should be properly paired with the car. Test your smartphone pairing with the car too such as a test call with your spouse, to ensure the connection is working, the audio clear, etc.

For charging, plug your Tesla in at either your home charging point or a public one and ensure the charging function is working. If your own home charging station that you later install doesn’t work for some reason, then you’ll at least know that the Tesla itself is likely not the problem.

Home Delivery

All of the points about inspection and checking on the car should apply when it is delivered by the home delivery service Tesla Direct. It will likely be delivered by a representative that you know, so that should make communication easier. That was certainly the experience of one writer at Electrek in July 2021.

Make sure to perform the inspection and go through the profile setup with the attending rep. You’ll also need all the same paperwork and will have to sign for everything there at home. It would be best to have a level 2 charging station pre-installed so you can give your Tesla a proper charge from the get-go, but if you have an alternative place to charge up nearby then there’s no rush on that.

If You Find an Issue

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 29: Tesla Model S showroom and two luxury tesla cars outside and one inside. Tesla is an American company that designs, manufactures,
Tesla Motors dealership exterior facadeand sells electric cars

If you find issues with your Tesla before you confirm final delivery, you can reject the delivery until things are addressed. Be warned, however, as one particular Hong Kong customer experienced, that if you discover numerous serious issues that need a lot of work, your already delayed delivery date will be pushed back even further while the company catches up to make repairs and resolve issues.

One thing you should not accept, however, is any Tesla dealership blocking you from inspecting the car before you confirm the delivery. They should always allow inspections. You just need to be aware that if you find issues, you may still have to make your final payment but then you’ll just be waiting for your Tesla to be repaired.

Changing Your Delivery Appointment

If circumstances change and you suddenly need to change your appointment, then it can be done, but you’ll need to contact your Tesla representative as quickly as possible. You should also be aware that if your Tesla is already in transit to the delivery location, then changing the delivery address may not be possible.

It’s always best to reflect carefully on your delivery date when arranging and confirming with your representative. Choose dates and times where the risk of things suddenly changing or going wrong are minimal.

How Long Does the Process Take

Your collection day and delivery appointment might be over within 30 minutes, especially if the dealership isn’t busy with collections and it isn’t your first time buying a Tesla. If you have some familiarity with the process, it can be over very fast.

Many Tesla owners report the process taking well under an hour in any circumstance, unless it just so happens that on that day there happen to be many people collecting at the same time. The appointments are scheduled, however, so it’s not so likely that will happen.

The longest you could reasonably expect to take is an hour, and that would likely only be because you yourself were extending the time by asking questions, and getting familiar with the car, which in itself is a good and wise move. 

2 thoughts on “Tesla Delivery Appointment: What Happens & How Long It Takes”

    • Good question. I don’t know completely (and this sounds like a question best asked to Tesla or your car insurer), but I would GUESS that it would be Tesla. Heck, it hasn’t technically been registered before delivery, so it might not even have a ‘registered owner’ in some countries. But any liability for damage etc should presumably rest with Tesla until it is delivered to – and accepted by – the customer.


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