Tesla Model S - Unlocking When the Key Doesn't Work

The key's battery may be dead if it does not unlock when you walk up to it or when you double-click the unlock button on the top of your key. Even if this is the case, the key can still be used to unlock the Model S and drive it.

Note: Although you can still use your key to unlock and start the vehicle, you might consider utilising the smartphone app instead. Then, when it's convenient, replace the batteries in your key.

To use the key to unlock the Model S (and disable the security alarm), place it near the base of the passenger side windshield wiper. Then, on the right side of the vehicle, press the front door handle. If your Model S still won't unlock, try changing the key's location and trying again. For the vehicle to unlock, the key must be in the correct position.

Note: The image below shows a left hand drive (LHD) vehicle. On a right hand drive (RHD) vehicle, the locations are mirrored.

To start Model S after gaining access to the cabin, push and hold the brake pedal while placing the bottom of the key against the centre console, immediately below the 12V power outlet.

 Note: Model S Unlocking When you use this method, walk away locking is disabled. After changing the key's battery, you must manually re-enable walk away locking.


Tesla, Inc. was not involved in the development of this document and did not provide any input or otherwise edit, review or authorize it.