How a Tesla Lease Return Works

You’ll need to complete a final lease inspection and schedule a drop-off appointment to return a leased Tesla.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Edited by Pat Roache
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To return your
Tesla lease
, you’ll have to coordinate a final inspection, pay any remaining balances and fees, and schedule a drop-off appointment through your Tesla app within 30 to 60 days of your lease-end.
  • You’ll have to coordinate the return and new agreement if you want to upgrade your lease with a new car—Tesla will not coordinate a lease upgrade for you.
  • Tesla lessees can extend their lease in the Tesla app for an additional six months, once per lease period.
  • The easiest (and cheapest) way to get out of a Tesla lease early is to transfer your electric vehicle’s lease agreement to a new driver.
  • Tesla lessees cannot buyout their Tesla lease if they drive a Model 3, a Model Y, or if their vehicle was put in service after April 15, 2022.

Tesla lease-end options

You’ll have the following options when your Tesla lease term matures: 
  • Return your Tesla without getting another vehicle 
  • Return your current Tesla and upgrade your lease with a new Tesla
  • Extend the lease (if your Tesla vehicle is eligible)
  • Buy out your Tesla lease
    and purchase the vehicle (if your Tesla vehicle is eligible)

To return your leased Tesla and walk away

You’ll need to start the process to return your lease without upgrading to a new Tesla, about 30 to 60 days before the end of the lease: 
  • 30 to 60 days out: Tesla will contact you to do a final inspection and schedule your drop-off appointment. Tesla drivers are encouraged to contact Tesla via
    email
    for specific questions on the return process.
  • Use the Tesla app to start the return process: The ‘Financing’ section in the app will then guide you through the steps to initiate the return, complete the final inspection, and schedule a drop-off appointment. Any end-of-term changes will be reflected in the app in the ‘Manage’ section within 48 business hours.
  • Submit final self-inspection: Tesla requires you to take photos of the leased vehicle and submit them for evaluation. They will then assess your leased vehicle for any excess wear and tear using the
    Tesla Excess Wear and Use Guide
  • Repair excess wear and tear: You can avoid excess charges by repairing the damages at a Tesla service center or
    Tesla Certified Collision Center
    . Be sure to send copies of the reciepts and other proof of repairs to Tesla.
  • On the day of your Tesla drop-off appointment: Bring the vehicle to your local Tesla service center in clean condition. You will also need to bring both key fobs and the mobile charging bundle.
  • After the return: You will be billed for excessive wear-and tear penalties as well as any monthly payments and fees remaining on your lease obligations.
Expert tip: You can request transportation to retrieve your Tesla lease for a per-mile fee. 
MORE: How to prepare a car for inspection when returning a lease

To lease a new Tesla

You will need to contact Tesla at ownershiployalty@tesla.com when the end of your lease is approaching so that you can learn about your lease upgrade options.
What to expect: Rather than Tesla handling the transition, you will typically be responsible for handling both transactions separately:
  • Step 1: Coordinate your Tesla lease return with your service center, including a final inspection and drop-off appointment.
  • Step 2: Initiate the Tesla lease for your new vehicle.

To extend your Tesla lease

You can extend your current Tesla lease for up to six months beyond the original lease-end date. This can be done once per lease:
  • You need to be within three months of the lease-end date and on time with all your lease payments to be eligible.
  • You can start your lease extension application from your Tesla Account or the Tesla app.
  • You’ll receive an electronic form with your term information. 
  • Review and sign the form so that Tesla can determine your eligibility. 
  • Once approved, your Autopay will automatically continue until you return your Tesla lease.

To return a Tesla lease early

You have two options if you find yourself needing to return your leased Tesla early.
Transfer your lease
to a credit-approved assignee through your
Tesla account
or app: 
  • You must have 13+ months left on the lease to be eligible. 
  • There will be a $150 credit application fee, a $500 lease transfer fee, and applicable taxes. 
  • More information can be found in the
    Leasing Assumptions Information Packet
    or by contacting Tesla at teslafinance@tesla.com.
Apply for early termination
  • You have to have at least one lease payment remaining to be eligible.
  • You will be required to pay the remaining lease balance through the Tesla Leasing Portal or pay the difference between the adjusted lease balance and the
    car’s market value
    .
  • Use your Tesla Account to get a quote. 
  • When you return the car, you must remit payment and submit an
    odometer disclosure
    .
Expert tip: Transferring the lease is the only way to avoid the hefty fees associated with an early lease termination at Tesla. Be sure that the person taking over your lease has an income and credit score equal to or better than yours to be approved. 

Tesla lease buyout restrictions

The following Tesla vehicles are not eligible for a lease buyout:
What to do: Request a buyout estimate for your leased
Tesla Model X
or
Model S
through your Tesla app or online account to initiate the process. You’ll have to pay a $350 purchase fee for vehicles put into service after April 13, 2019.
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FAQs

You can return your Tesla lease by scheduling a drop-off appointment with your local Tesla Service Center.
Yes: You can apply for a lease extension for up to six months after your original lease-end date. You can apply for a lease extension if you are within three months of your lease maturity date and your account is in good standing.
You can end your lease early by transferring your lease to a credit-approved assignee if you have more than 12 months left on your lease period. Your lease agreement may also include an option for early termination, but this can be costly.
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