How To Lock a Tesla: All 6 Techniques Explained

When it comes to locking and securing your car, Tesla has certainly made it as easy and convenient as possible. They also have gone out of their way to create some creative ways to lock your Tesla, which can also come with its fair share of issues at times.

In this article, I have compiled all the ways you can lock your Tesla with their own pros and cons respectively. Check it out!

1. Walk-Away Door Lock

One of the chicest features of a Tesla is the ability to lock the doors as you strut away from your vehicle. When carrying a key fob, this function allows you to lock the doors and trunk without having to press a single button. Once the Tesla no longer senses your key fob nearby, the car secures itself. This also works when your key fob’s battery dies.

Activate this feature on your touch screen by going to Controls > Vehicle > Walk-Away Door Lock.

If you want to disable this feature when parking your vehicle at home, just configure your home location and check the “Exclude Home” checkbox when setting up the Walk-Away Door Lock feature.

The Tesla automatically locks itself after a while if you unlock it using the mobile app and the doors remain closed. Therefore, it’s best to always carry your key fob with you when parking in a location with a poor cell phone signal — you don’t want to get locked out with no way back in!

When exiting the vehicle and closing all doors, the Walk-Away Door Lock function does not work if the vehicle detects an authenticated key fob for five minutes after getting out of the car. In that case, you’ll have to use the old-school method of locking your car manually. On the next drive, the feature reactivates.

The Walk-Away Door Lock function suspends for up to a minute if you use a key fob to unlock the Tesla while all doors are closed.

Pros of Walk-Away Door Lock

  • It’s a quick and convenient way to lock your Tesla.
  • It secures your car even if you forget to lock it manually.

Cons of Walk-Away Door Lock

  • The feature might not work in a place with poor cell reception.
  • The one-minute suspension can be frustrating as you have to wait for the vehicle to secure itself.

2. Touchscreen Icon Locking

The easiest way to lock the doors of a Tesla while you’re sitting inside is by using the touchscreen. On the touchscreen status bar, locate the icon that allows you to lock your car with one-touch instantly.

In addition to locking with the press of a button, you can also activate old-school child locks. Turning it on prevents car doors from opening using interior handles. This is especially handy for little ones or when you have pets in your vehicle.

Activate the feature by touching Touch Controls > Vehicle > Child-Protection Lock.

Pros of Touchscreen Icon Locking

  • It’s useful when you don’t have a key fob.
  • It allows child lock protection.

Cons of Touchscreen Icon Locking

  • It only works while you’re in the car.

3. Key Fob Locking

Teslas provide some incredible features, but you can still utilize traditional car locking methods — like using your key fob. When you’re within the functional range of the key fob, press around the middle of the Tesla key fob to lock the doors and trunk with a single click.

This works only when the doors and trucks are closed. Once you click the key fob button, the door handles retract, and the hazard warning lights flash once. If any of the doors or liftgate are open, the lights flash three times. Close the doors and liftgate before attempting to lock the Tesla with the key fob.

As with all electronic devices, Teslas aren’t free of the occasional error. Sometimes, Teslas have a hard time detecting the key fob. When that happens, you’ll receive a touchscreen message indicating that the key fob isn’t detected inside of the vehicle. Don’t panic! This is normal!

Resolving the issue is simple. Just place the key fob next to an area where the car detects its presence. Place it below the low voltage power socket — this usually does the trick.

What To Do if Tesla Cannot Detect the Key Fob

Again, don’t panic! If your Tesla doesn’t detect the key fob even after moving it below the low voltage power socket, the problem could be interference with other devices. Try moving the key fob at least two feet away from any phones or laptops to make it more detectable.

Secondly, try updating your key fob. To do this, put your vehicle in Park, go to Controls > Service > Update Key Fob and follow the onscreen instructions.

If the key fob still fails to lock the doors to your Tesla, then it’s probably time to change the battery. The Tesla Model S, 3, and Y require a CR2032 3V battery.

I recommend picking up multiple batteries as backups for your Tesla key fob, such as the Energizer 2032 Lithium Batteries, available on Amazon. The 6-pack set ensures that you’ll have additional batteries available as soon as you need them, and Energizer batteries are known for their dependability.

Pros of Key Fob Locking

  • You don’t need to direct the key fob at the car.
  • It works from the inside and outside of the car.

Cons of Key Fob Locking

  • The operating range of the keyfob can vary with the battery level.
  • Other radio frequencies can affect the performance of the key fob.

4. Phone Key Locking

Phone key locking pretty much relies on the Walk-Away Door Lock Function, and it’s a straightforward way to lock your vehicle. When your phone’s Bluetooth is on, the car locks itself as you walk away. The feature allows users to pair up to three phones as car keys. This is pretty handy, especially if you’re not the sole driver of the vehicle.

The feature is quick to activate. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the App Store or Play Store and download the Tesla app.
  2. Sign in to your Tesla account.
  3. In the mobile app, select the vehicle you want to lock 
  4. Turn on your phone’s Bluetooth for the Tesla app. This is how the phone will communicate with your Tesla. Keep in mind that some phones deactivate Bluetooth when the battery is low.
  5. Allow the app access to your location and turn it to Always
  6. On your vehicle touchscreen, enable the Allow Mobile Access. Do this by going to Controls > Safety > Allow Mobile Access
  7. Sit in the vehicle with your key card in hand and open the Tesla phone app.
  8. Select Set Up Phone Key. You can also do this by going to Security > Set Up Phone Key.
  9. You’ll see prompts on the phone app and car touchscreen. Follow these prompts, and your phone will successfully be set up as a key to your Tesla.

Pros of Phone Key Locking

  • Upon successful pairing, phones don’t need an internet connection to function as a phone key.
  • It allows you to lock the car without the key fob or key card.

Cons of Phone Key Locking

  • Other paired phone keys must be out of Bluetooth range for a particular phone key to work.

5. Key Card Locking

Tesla’s key cards can unlock your car with a tap against the car’s card reader. 

Located on the pillar of the driver’s side door below the Autopilot camera, the card reader quickly detects your keycard and makes the exterior lights flash. If Fold Mirrors is on, the mirrors will fold. The horn will also sound if Lock Confirmation Sound is on.

If you’d like to find out how to specifically adjust the mirrors on a Tesla Model S, check out this helpful article that I wrote. I also discuss all the various ways you have at your disposal and the tricks you can do.

If you’re having trouble locking your doors with a key card, check out this YouTube video for some special tips:

Pros of Key Card Locking

  • Tesla provides two keycards.
  • It’s a quick method of locking your car.
  • It doesn’t require a setup process.

Cons of Key Card Locking

  • Most key cards are easy to lose.

If you lose your key card, contact Tesla for a replacement. The table below shows the cost of replacing your Tesla key card.

Model 3$25 (no additional programming fee).
Model Y$175 with an additional $85 for programming. 
Model S$300 but with an additional $85 for programming.
Model X$300 but with an additional $85 for programming.

6. Drive Away Locking

The Drive-Away Lock feature automatically locks your Tesla’s doors when the vehicle reaches speeds in excess of 8 km/h (5 mph). This ensures the safety of the driver and all passengers while the vehicle is in motion. Most of us don’t think about locking our doors as we drive off, so if you forget, don’t worry — Tesla’s got you covered.

Pros of Drive Away Locking

  • It would protect you from intruders approaching your vehicle when driving at slower speeds, even if you forget to lock your doors.

Cons of Drive-Away Locking

  • It can be inconvenient when you’re picking up someone outside the car — you might forget that the doors lock automatically. However, it’s easy to unlock the doors with the press of a button, as discussed in this article.


Can I Lock My Tesla With the Key Fob Inside?

You can lock your Tesla with the key inside. Ensure the key is placed in a “dead zone” where the vehicle cannot detect it. This spot is around the left rear wheel well on the cargo area floor.

Can I Leave My Key Card in the Car?

You can leave a Tesla key card in the car. Keep it away from the console to prevent detection. Remember to bring an additional key card with you, or use your phone to unlock the vehicle.

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How To Lock a Tesla: All 6 Techniques Explained 1
Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

A renowned Tesla enthusiast, and successful entrepreneur, enlightens global audiences through his compelling EV narratives. Discover more about his electric journey on his About Me page. Venture to read Erwin's incredible story that's reshaping the future of motoring. Want to spark a conversation with Erwin? Visit his Contact page, and let’s electrify the world together.