Tesla is known for being a leader in self-driving innovation and pushing the limits of technology year after year. Now imagine purchasing a Tesla and not having access to all of the Autopilot features you were probably so excited about. Perhaps you thought all Tesla cars were equipped with Autopilot, or that the Full Self-Driving Capabilities on your old car would transfer to your new purchase? So now what do you do?
As of mid-April 2019, all Tesla’s come equipped with Hardware 3 or newer, which allows owners to upgrade to Full Self Driving anytime after purchase. Full Self Driving is sold either in a lifetime license for the vehicle, or a monthly subscription.
If you’ve recently acquired a Tesla or are thinking of getting one in the future, it’s a good idea to know the hardware and software the car is equipped with. Below, we will go over everything you need to know about adding Autopilot and Full Self-Driving to your car later and how to find out if Autopilot capability is even possible for your vehicle.
Do All Tesla Cars Have Autopilot?
Autopilot is a suite of driver assistance features that comes standard on every new Tesla as of November 2020. However, these features require specific hardware that is only available on cars built after September 2014.
It’s important to note that standard Autopilot software does not encompass the full automation that Tesla is capable of. You may have to add on upgrades to reach the capability you desire for your vehicle.
How Do You Know What Autopilot Hardware You Have?
Throughout the years, there have been significant changes to the hardware in Tesla, and not all hardware has Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability. For this reason, it is important for Tesla owners to know which version of the computer their car is running.
The easiest way to determine which type of hardware your car has is to get in the driver’s seat. From the driver’s seat, you can access the car’s software menu by clicking on the “Additional Vehicle Information” button on the car’s display screen. If your car has autopilot hardware, you will see 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, or Full Self-Driving Computer listed as the Autopilot computer. If your car doesn’t have Autopilot hardware, this space will be blank.
Which Type of Autopilot is Found in Used and New Tesla Cars?
Most used vehicles that have Autopilot hardware are typically installed with one of the following versions of Autopilot:
- Autopilot with Convenience Features
- Standard Autopilot
- Full Self-Driving
All new Tesla cars come standard with Autopilot and safety features. Full Self-Driving can be added on at any time for more enhanced features.
Autopilot vs. Full Self-Driving
New or used, most Tesla you find these days will have the Standard Autopilot package already installed. In terms of adding Autopilot to the car later, most people are talking about upgrading their car to the Full Self-Driving Capability that Tesla offers.
Features Available in the Standard Autopilot Package
Every new Tesla will have a suite of standard autopilot features that offer diver assistance. These features include:
- Lane Departure Assist: When this is enabled, it will provide automatic steering intervention if you happen to drift over a lane marker.
- Traffic-Aware Cruise Control: This is designed to match the speed of your car to the surrounding traffic.
- Automatic Steering and Lane Centering: This feature assists in steering within the lane.
- Emergency Braking: When the car’s cameras and sensors detect an unavoidable imminent frontal collision, Automatic Emergency Braking reduces your speed to lower the severity of the impact.
Features Available with Full Self-Driving Capability
If you are hoping for the full suite of auto-driving capabilities, Tesla offers a Full Self-Driving upgrade that can be added to the car at any time.
While the name can be a bit misleading since it doesn’t allow the car to operate without human interaction, these features are meant to enhance the driving experience for the user and include:
- Navigate on Autopilot: This is designed to help you reach your destination more efficiently by identifying the best route and actively guiding your car.
- Auto Lane Change: After this setting is enabled in the Autopilot Controls menu and the car is in Autosteer, Auto Lane Change can be initiated by engaging the turn signal in the direction you would like the car to move.
- Summon and Smart Summon: This is designed to allow your car to drive to a specific location of your choosing, within a private parking lot or driveway.
- Autopark Function: A grey “P” icon will appear on your instrument panel when your car sees a parking spot. The car must be moving below 15mph for parking detection to take place.
- Traffic Light & Stop Sign Recognition: Though this is still in beta, this feature identifies traffic lights and stop signs and slows your car to a stop upon approach.
- Automatic City Driving: This is a future feature that is currently being early beta tested by a select few that allows your vehicle to stop and go at intersections, make turns, and navigate city streets.
How Do I Add Autopilot Software If I Already Have the Hardware?
In a sense, Tesla cars are computers on wheels. As long as they have the correct hardware, you can install the proper software to enable the Autopilot capabilities you were hoping for.
If you’ve bought a used Tesla without the base Autopilot features, this can be added right from your home. Simply log in to your Tesla account and purchase Autopilot. The software will be added to your car in no time.
How Long Does Autopilot Take to Calibrate Before It Can Be Enabled?
Before using the Autopilot features, the cameras on your Tesla must complete a self-calibration process. Calibration is usually complete after 20-25 miles of driving. However, this process can vary depending on the road and environmental conditions during the drive.
How Much Does It Cost to Add Autopilot to a Tesla?
If you’ve purchased a used Tesla that doesn’t include Autopilot, it is available to add for $3000 after delivery as long as you have a model with the proper hardware.
If you would like to experience Autopilot before making the commitment, you can test drive a vehicle at one of the Tesla store locations.
Can Autopilot Be Transferred When You Sell a Tesla?
This also means that if you are a Tesla owner who decides to sell your Tesla, the Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability moves with the car to the new owner. If you decide to purchase another Tesla, you will have to buy Full Driving-Capability all over again for the new car.
Transferring Autopilot Features to Subsequent Owners In Private and Dealership Sales
Purchasing a used Tesla that is equipped with Autopilot or a paid-in-full package for Full Self-Driving Capability directly from the owner is the most reliable way for those features to transfer to you as a new owner. Once the sale is complete, those features will transfer from the current owner’s account to the new owner’s account.
Dealerships are another source for buying a used Tesla with Full Self-Driving Capability, though there is no guarantee for a smooth transaction. If you are buying from a dealer, it’s a good idea to find out if they have successfully sold a Tesla with a Full Self-Driving package and how well the package transferred. You should also check up on the dealership’s refund policy in the event that Tesla removes the FSD during registration.
It’s always a good idea to check Tesla’s Used Inventory when shopping. While you can’t sell your FSD package back to Tesla, all these vehicles come with the standard Autopilot installed, and you buy a used Tesla with Full Self-Driving activated for less than full price.
When Does Full Self-Driving Not Transfer?
There are a few instances that Tesla has stated Full Self-Driving will not transfer, including when purchasing a new Tesla vehicle and when dealing with salvaged cars.
Purchasing a new Tesla
When you purchase a Full Self-Driving package, that software is attached to the life of the car, not to the owner’s account. This means that if you are a Tesla owner who decides to sell your Tesla, the Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability moves with the car to the new owner. If you decide to purchase another Tesla, you will have to buy Full Driving-Capability all over again for the new car.
Even with the FSD subscription option, though the subscription is tied to your account, the software is tied to the vehicle for which it was purchased. Therefore, the balance of your Full Self-Driving package will not transfer to your next Tesla.
When a Tesla is deemed totaled or salvaged, any Full Self-Driving software is removed. This is done due to safety concerns with the equipment and sensors not working properly after being damaged.
How To Transfer Ownership of Your Tesla
If you have sold a used Tesla in a private sale and need to transfer ownership, this can all be done from your Tesla account.
First, you will need to log in to your account and click the “manage” button next to the vehicle you are selling. Select the “remove car” option at the bottom, then follow the steps add the recipient’s account information, and remove the car on the next screen. Keep in mind that this should only be done after the sale has been completed.
Once you finish those steps, you and the recipient will receive a confirmation email that needs to be opened and approved to complete the transfer. If the recipient doesn’t have a Tesla account yet, they will be prompted to create one.
How Much is Autopilot Worth When You Sell or Trade Your Tesla?
Since Autopilot is tied to the car, you may be curious how much your Tesla is worth with these features already installed.
Kelly Blue Book takes into account whether your vehicle has Full Self-Driving Capability when determining the resale value of the vehicle. The value could range anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the original price, depending on the buyer, model, age, and condition of the vehicle.
Using Standard Autopilot Features
While using Autopilot, you must stay alert and always maintain control of your car. Many of the standard Autopilot features are disabled until you turn them on through the Autopilot Controls menu and agree to the Autopilot terms.
It’s important to remember that you are still in full control of the vehicle. You can override any of the Autopilot features at any time by adjusting the steering wheel or pressing the brake. Since there are several different Tesla models, reading through your Owner’s Manual will give you the more in-depth user and safety information.
Standard Safety Features of Autopilot
There are several active safety features that come standard on all Tesla cars, made possible by the Autopilot hardware and software. These are designed to assist drivers in increased protection while driving. These standard safety features include:
- Automatic Emergency Breaking
- Front Collision Warning
- Side Collision Warning
- Auto High Beams
- Advanced Sensor Coverage
- Blind Spot Detection
Are There Any Limitations of Autopilot?
Poor visibility, bright light, interference, obstruction by objects, and extreme temperatures are just some of the factors that can impact the performance of Autopilot. This is why it is important to maintain awareness and control of the vehicle while it is in use.
To ensure that the hardware can work to the best of its ability, make sure all cameras and sensors are clean and free of obstructions. You should also avoid applying excessive paint or stickers to the car.
Can Autopilot Be Upgraded After Delivery?
Tesla cars with Full Self-Driving Capability and Autopilot Computer 2.0 or 2.5 are eligible for a complimentary upgrade to the FSD Computer. Upgrades can be enabled over the air with the touch of a button for customizable functionality that meets your unique needs.
Depending on the hardware and set-up of your car, different upgrades will be available to you. These upgrades will automatically appear in your Tesla account for purchase and do not require a service visit to be completed. For the update to happen, you need to make sure the car is parked and has a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
You will be able to view any installed or available upgrades right from your car’s software controls. To figure out which upgrade you are eligible for, log into your Tesla account. Your account will reflect the most up-to-date upgrade available for your vehicle. To view upgrades in the Tesla app, you will need version 3.10.3 or later.
How Much Do Upgrades Cost?
The cost of upgrades will vary depending on which upgrades your car is eligible for. Tesla continues to provide software updates that include option improvements or feature sets that permanently enhance your car’s performance. These can be purchased through the app, using the payment method you have on file.
If you are adding Full Self-Driving to your car, you can expect to pay a cost of $10,000 for the software. Tesla also offers a monthly subscription for $199 a month.
If you decide you don’t want an upgrade or if you purchase one by mistake, you can request a refund from Tesla for up to 48 hours after the purchase is made.
Is Adding Autopilot Worth It?
Whether you’ve bought a used Tesla without standard autopilot features, or you are contemplating an upgrade to Full Self-Driving at a later date, you may be wondering if the possible $10,000 price tag is really worth it.
This is going to vary from person to person depending on how often you use it and the value that it brings to you individually.
In terms of how often you use it, most of the Full Self-Driving features work best in highway driving situations. If you’re someone who has a short commute or only takes local roads, you may not get as much use out of these features to make them worth the money. In this case, the standard Autopilot features are really all you need and could easily enhance your driving experience.
On the other hand, you need to evaluate how badly you want to experience Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology. If you’re a tech or car enthusiast, the value of the experience alone may be worth the cost of the upgrade.
Final Thoughts on Adding Autopilot to Your Tesla
If you get your hands on a used Tesla that doesn’t have Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability installed, it may take a chunk out of your wallet, but it is possible and fairly easy to add these features later if you really want them.
Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability are great options for enhancing safety and experience while driving. Though these features don’t provide a fully automated driving experience, they are an exciting advancement in technology that many avid tech enthusiasts can’t wait to test out.
At the end of the day, whether or not you add autopilot to your Tesla comes down to the hardware installed and how badly you want this feature included in your driving experience.