Delivery Checklist: What to do when your Tesla arrives

Guest Blog Post: Nick Howe is the author of Owning Model S, the definitive guide to buying and owning the Tesla Model S. You can reach him via email, his website, or at his News From The Frunk youtube channel.

It is almost exactly four years since I took delivery of my P85, and the excitement as my pearl white Tesla Model S was unloaded from the transporter is still fresh in my mind. Four years on, and Tesla is shipping over 2,000 cars a week! I thought it was timely to post a quick note to new and potential owners about things to think about when your car arrives – whether it is an Tesla Model S or Model X.

Above: Nick's Tesla Model S P85 (Source: Author)

Firstly - Your delivery date can change—be ready!

DO NOT get fixated on a specific delivery day/time. Your Model S may come early or be delayed. The two biggest delay reasons are, "the car is on a truck and the truck is stuck in XYZ; it will be another week..." or delays due to inspections or rework on the manufacturing line. On the positive side you may get, "I know we said it would be delivered next week, but it’s already here. Can we deliver it tomorrow?" My advice: get everything (including financing and charging) ready early just in case you get a nice surprise and have an early delivery.

Next - Preparing for delivery

You’ve got charging ready to go, right? No? Check out Chapter 8 in my book, Owning Model S, for everything you need to know. Note that you’ll need time to schedule an electrician if you have to install a new circuit or outlet. The only things you might want to have handy when you take delivery are:

  • Your phone (to test in the car and take lots of pictures/videos).
  • A friend to take photos/videos for you – you’ll be too busy/excited!

Above: Nick's Tesla Model S P85 delivery back in January 2013 (Source: Author)

Delivery Day - What you’ll need

There’s remarkably little that you need during delivery—the main thing being the payment (assuming you are not in a state or country that requires payment before delivery). Tesla will take a personal check, but make sure you’ve got the funds in the bank—it will probably clear within 24 hours.

What to look for on your car

Even though we are four and a half years into the Model S/Model X production, quality control problems still occasionally occur, and damage can happen during transportation from the factory. If you can contain your excitement about taking delivery of your Model S, you should start by checking for basic problems that others have encountered:

  • Is it your car? Believe it or not, someone had the wrong car delivered. Make sure the VIN matches the paperwork.
  • Are there any scratches in the paint or any dirt under the clear coat?
  • Is there any windshield distortion or cracks? Note that distortion in the lower 1 inch is normal!
  • Is there any underside damage from loading/unloading?
  • Any wheel or tire scrapes?
  • Misaligned hood or trunk lid, or on the Falcon Wing doors. Service can usually adjust this without issues.
  • Dirt/smudges on headliner/seats/trim from delivery driver?
  • By the way, someone is shooting pictures and videos, right?

Above: Nick Howe in front of his favorite cars (Source: Author)

If you see significant problems—such as those with the paintwork—it is up to you whether you stop the delivery at that point, or carry on. Once you give the car a quick once over, and you’ve calmed down a little, check to make sure:

  • All the options you ordered are there;
  • You know how to work all the touch screen controls;
  • You know how to reboot the screen (you will need to do it eventually);
  • You know how the automatic doors work;
  • You know how autopilot works;
  • You know how to use the charging cable, and what the different colored lights mean

Paid your money? Signed your paperwork? Got your temporary license plates? Got both keys? Fantastic! Off you go.

Above: Left, Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak with author Nick Howe; Right, Nick's book Owning Model S (Source: Author)

Don’t forget to check out the Tesla Motors forum, and my friends at EVANNEX for a copy of my book (where you can find a much more detailed delivery checklist) and other cool aftermarket accessories for your new Tesla!