What To Do if You Lost Your Tesla Key | Options Explained

Aaah! I’ve lost my Tesla Key! I need a replacement now!! What can I do?!?!

If you’ve lost your Tesla Key, you have various options like using your phone and other (pre-set) RFID / NFC gadgets to open and unlock your car. If that is out of the question you can track and find your key with your phone, or have Tesla get you a new one.  This can be pricey and time-consuming.

In this article I’ll go through the various steps you can take if you’ve lost your Tesla key, and discuss replacement costs (for all Tesla models) and technical stuff. I also found a nifty alternative for your car so that you can actually leave your card at home and forget about ever losing it! Check it out at the end!

Use a Phone Key

The first thing you should do is to check if you can use your smartphone as your key. In some models, such as the Model 3 and Model Y, you can automatically lock and unlock your car using your phone key. It lets you open the car doors as you walk towards your car. 

If the Walk Away Door Lock feature is activated, it locks the doors automatically when the vehicle senses you walking away from it. However, the phone key needs to have been set up previously because it requires a key card during set-up.

Tesla-Key-Fob-And-Wallet
Photo @Dlachioma via Twenty20

Track the Key

Secondly, try and track your keys. You can do this by launching the Tesla app and using it to find your keys. Your smartphone communicates with your Tesla key in much the same way as it does with a wearable device like a smartwatch.

If this doesn’t work, you should probably think of replacing it, which I’ll cover in the next section. 

Tesla-Key-Card

By the way, if you’d like to find out what you can do if your Tesla Key Card is Not Working, check out this related article that I wrote. I just went into further detail and thought it needed a separate article.

Acquire a New Tesla Key

You can buy a new key card from Tesla if you lose the old one. However, the bad news is that because Teslas are not your ordinary vehicle, you’ll have to go through lots of security procedures, checks, and verifications.

After you get a new card, you’ll need to have it programmed to your car and paired with your car’s Tesla mobile app. Make sure to do this so you can easily track your key in the future. 

How To Get a Key Replacement 

To replace your key, you can start by buying it online, although the keys sold don’t come pre-programmed in your vehicle. Programming will be done at a Tesla Service Center closest to you. If you’re not close to any, you can contact Tesla Customer Support and a Tesla agent will come to you and have it done at your location.

Also, you’ll need to test your new key and try to see if you can drive your car and ensure that it has synchronized correctly.

As you can see, getting a new Tesla key can be a hassle. If you don’t want to have to go through that hassle, here’s what you can do to keep your Tesla keys from getting lost in the future.

  • Consider buying a Tesla Key cardholder. A cardholder makes it easier to keep and protect your card from theft or falling out of your wallet. The keyholder is designed in such a way that you can either strap it to your trousers or onto your bag.
  • Keep your keys separate. One of the major rules of thumb with Tesla Key Cards is to never put both keys in your wallet. One good piece of advice is to keep one permanently at home. Otherwise, consider storing them in two different places. That way, you can have a backup in case one of the places you store them in gets compromised in some way.
Key Card Holder For Tesla Model 3, Model Y Silicone Key Chain, 2 Pack (Black)

Tesla Key Replacement Allowance

The good news is all the Tesla Models have a replacement allowance should you misplace the two keys you received upon purchasing the car. According to GetJerry, it can cost you anywhere between $25 to $400 to have it replaced. 

In this YouTube video, Tesla Customer Service Respondent Mark Dickson explains what it’s like to buy a new key card and that you can buy them online.

Unlike the original cards you get upon purchasing the vehicle, the new card will come unprogrammed and will not be able to function before it’s programmed. This applies to the models X, Y, and S, and you can only have them programmed professionally.

The table below will show how much it’ll cost you to get your key replaced and programmed, depending on your Tesla Model. 

Note that the cost of programming will vary depending on factors like:

  • Whether you took the Key card by yourself to the Tesla Service Center; and
  • Whether you booked an auto appointment for the service to be brought to you. 

The further away you are from a Tesla Service Center, the more costs you are likely to incur when replacing a card. 

TESLA MODEL COST OF KEY REPLACEMENT 
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.

For Tesla Model 3 and Y, a key fob will only help you to lock and unlock the car as well as the trunk. Like the phone app, the key fob is paired to your device to get it working. To drive the car, you’ll need to replace your key card. 

Can-You-Drive-A-Tesla-Without-A-Key?

On a somewhat related note, I wrote a similar article called: Can You Drive a Tesla Without a Key? I explain all the possibilities in detail. Check it out!

Losing Your Key While You’re on the Road

The best way to get help on the road is by getting professional help. The first thing you want to do is to call the customer care helpline, which you can find on the Tesla website.

Customer care will also ask you where you are so they can establish how far you are from a Tesla Service Center.

If you’re too far away from a Tesla Service Center or cannot access a help care agent, I recommend that you leave your car in a secure location until you can get an agent to come to you. Please don’t try to get the car to start on your own. Wait until you get help from the right person. 

Phone Bluetooth Alternative to Tesla Key

You can use your phone as an alternative Tesla key. All you have to do is connect it to your Tesla via Bluetooth. A Tesla phone key can help you lock and unlock your vehicle automatically.

However, you need to take extra precautions, as hackers may use your Bluetooth device to hack your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Deactivate a Lost Tesla Key Card?

You can deactivate your lost Tesla key card and prevent it from accessing your Tesla. To do this, enter your vehicle and select the car menu on the screen. After that, look for the locks section and select. You will see a trash icon next to the key card you wish to remove. After that, you can select the old key and permanently delete it from your system.

Then, you can select the old key and permanently delete it from your system. Once this is done, the old key will no longer be able to start your car.

Colmo Tesla Smart Ring Tesla Key Ring Accessories Key Card Model Y Key Fob Replacement Ceramic Rfid Smart Ring For Man And Woman Tesla Model 3 Accessories Fast Delivery (Us9, Black-9Mm)
As a handy alternative, you can get this Tesla Smart Ring (from Amazon) if you are tired of always having to look for your keycard.

Here’s how to add a new ring as a key card:

  • In the Tesla Screen Menu, go to the “Locks” section and preview all the keycards that have been pre-set.
  • Click on the “Add” or “+” button.
  • Place your ring between the cupholders and the elbow console.
  • Approve it by tapping/placing your current Tesla keycard in the same spot.
  • You can rename your newly added key on the screen and you’re all set!

Is There Another Way You Can Use Your Tesla Without a Key?

You can use your car without a key if your phone’s tesla app is paired to your vehicle. To pair your phone’s tesla app with your car, you can open the app and unlock your Tesla. Note that this will only apply to the unlock feature.

To drive your car, you should have access to the card. The phone app will also help you unlock the vehicle if the network is good and if the car also has good reception. A glitch in the network in either device will affect the process. 

My Opinion

Losing a key is never fun! No matter if it is a Tesla key or any other key. Luckily Tesla has made many provisions for us as consumers to get around this issue. While technology can make life easier when using Tesla keys on a regular basis, it does come with its hurdles and hassles when they do get lost.

Security features can make it hard to get new keys programmed but it is a necessity in this ever-growing world of hacking and cyber threats.

Considering all this, I don’t mind jumping through all the hoops and trusting that Tesla has my best interest at heart. I just have to stay patient and look forward to the countless times I don’t even have to unlock or start my Tesla (like most conventional cars).


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.