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 the technical stuff. I also found a nifty alternative for your card so that you can actually leave your card at home and forget about ever losing it! Check it out at the end of this article!

1. Use a Phone Key To Open Your Tesla

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.

Photo @Dlachioma via Twenty20

How To Set Up Tesla Phone Key

  1. Download the Tesla mobile app to your phone.
  2. Log into the Tesla mobile app using your Tesla account username and password. If you have more than one vehicle linked to your account, make sure that the vehicle you want to link to your phone is selected in the app.
  3. Make sure your phone’s Bluetooth is on.
  4. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled within your phone’s settings for the Tesla mobile app.
  5. Make sure that access to your location is enabled (and set to Always for the Tesla app)
  6. Make sure that Allow Mobile Access is enabled on the Tesla’s touchscreen (Controls > Safety Allow Mobile Access).
  7. While sitting inside the vehicle with a key card handy, open the Tesla mobile app and touch Set Up Phone Key on the main screen, or navigate to Security > Set Up Phone Key. You will be prompted to set up your key.

Take note that you must be logged into your Tesla account to use your phone as a key.

2. Track Your Tesla Key

Secondly, try and track your key. 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. 

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.


3. Get a New Tesla Key Card

You can buy a new key card from Tesla if you lose the old one. It costs $35 and you get two key cards and a bifold wallet.

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 (if you don’t have any other active key card or fob left).

If you still have one active key linked to your Tesla, you won’t have to pay to have a new key card programmed. You can simply link it to your Tesla and use your existing card to authenticate it.

Note that a new keycard will only work for Model S and Model X vehicles produced in 2021+ and all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. If you have an older vehicle, you’ll have to contact a service center to replace your card.

If you don’t have an active card left, you’ll need to have your new key card 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. This can be done at a Tesla service center.

If you aren’t near a service center, you can also book an agent to come to you at an additional cost.

Programming a new card can cost up to $85 if you have to get an agent to come to you. At a service station, you may pay around $20. For some reason, prices seem to vary quite significantly between different service centers though, so call first to ask for a quote.

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.

How To Add A New Key Card To Your Tesla

  1. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Locks > Keys > Add Key.
  2. Scan your new key card on the card reader (this is found behind the cup holders on the top of the center console). Remove the card once it is recognized.
  3. Scan a key card or key fob that has already been paired to the vehicle to confirm new key pairing.
  4. When complete, the key list includes the new key. You can use the pencil icon to edit the name of the new key.

Pro Tip: What can I do if my Tesla doesn’t unlock instantly?

When you approach your locked Tesla Model 3/Y it often might not unlock as quickly as you’d like to, most likely because of your phone’s proximity to the car. You might look a bit silly turning in circles like a ballerina in front of your car, just to get your car to connect to your phone and you being too stubborn to take the phone out of your pocket. One thing you can try is to gently press into the handle and then grasp the door handle itself. You don’t have to keep pushing and pulling. This should prompt the car to quickly read your phone and unlock it. This can be very helpful in extremely cold weather. If you’re still struggling, re-pair your phone with the car to see if you can make your “unlock on approach” a little bit more reliable.

As you can see, getting a new Tesla key card 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 key cards 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 at home permanently. 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)

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.

Replacing a Tesla Key Fob

If your Tesla is a 2021+ Model S or Model X, you can order a key fob from the Tesla website. They cost $175 each. You can also order a key fob for your Model 3 or Model Y directly from the website.

If your Tesla is an older Model S or Model X, you will have to order an older key fob. These can be more expensive (up to $300) and you’ll have to visit a Service Center for this.

If you have an active key linked to your Tesla, you can simply add your new key fob to the Tesla as explained below.

If you have lost all your Tesla keys, you’ll have to pay to have a new key fob programmed. You can do this at a service center, or if you can’t reach a service center, an agent can come to you (at an additional cost).

How To Add A New Key Fob To Your Tesla

  1. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Locks > Keys > Add Key.
  2. Scan your new key fob on the card reader (this is found behind the cup holders on the top of the center console). Remove the key fob once it is recognized.
  3. Scan a key card or key fob that has already been paired to the vehicle to confirm new key pairing.
  4. When complete, the key list includes the new key. You can use the pencil icon to edit the name of the new 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!


At a service center, you will probably pay around $20 to have a key fob programmed, but if you have an agent come to you you can pay up to $85 according to Get Jerry.

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

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 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 authenticate your phone with an already-paired key card or key fob. So you can’t pair your phone after you’ve lost your key.

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.

How To Locate A Lost Tesla Key Fob

First of all, try retracing your steps and think about where you last remember having it. Check your pockets, purse, or bag that you might have had with you when you last had the key fob.

Look around the area thoroughly as well; it could be hiding in plain sight.

If retracing your steps doesn’t work, try using the Tesla mobile app to locate your lost key fob. The app allows you to view the location of your car and also has a feature that can activate the horn and lights remotely. This will help you identify where exactly in your surroundings the key fob is located.

If none of these options work for locating your lost Tesla key fob, then it’s time to consider other options like getting a replacement or contacting a locksmith for assistance.

Can I Drive My Tesla Without a Key?

You have to have either your Tesla key card, key fob or your phone with the Tesla app connected to your Tesla in order to drive. So you don’t need a physical key, but you do need one of Tesla’s key options.

How To Get A New Tesla Key Card

Getting a new Tesla key card is a simple process that you can easily do online or by visiting any Tesla service center. If you’ve lost your Tesla key or key card, don’t worry because obtaining a new one is hassle-free.

The first step is to log in to your Tesla account and order a new key card from the website. You’ll then receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to activate your new key card once it arrives.

If you prefer to get your new Tesla key card in person, simply visit any Tesla service center near you and request for one. The staff will assist you in getting a replacement and even walk you through the activation process if needed.

It’s worth noting that there may be additional charges for getting a replacement, so make sure to check with the service center beforehand. With these easy steps, losing your Tesla key or key card doesn’t have to be stressful anymore!

How Much Is A Tesla Key Card?

A Tesla replacement key card costs $35 on the Tesla website. You get two keycards and a wallet for this amount.

You can purchase this card from any Tesla service center or online through their website. The Tesla key card is a small plastic card that fits easily into your wallet or pocket and works just like a regular key fob. It allows you to lock and unlock your car doors, trunk, and frunk with ease.

Additionally, if you ever lose your actual keys or they get stolen, the key card provides peace of mind knowing that you have an alternative way to access your vehicle without having to rely on traditional methods such as locksmiths or towing services.

How Many Phone Keys Can Tesla Model Y Have

You can add up to 19 keys to your Tesla. Note that you can only connect three phones to your Tesla at one time.

Having multiple phone keys is especially helpful if you share your car with someone else or if you frequently misplace your physical Tesla key.

Do Teslas Have Keys?

Tesla does not have traditional keys that you have to insert into your car to drive. Instead, Tesla uses key cards, key fobs or a phone connection as a key.

What Do Tesla Keys Look Like?

A Tesla key card looks like a regular credit card. It resembles a miniature version of your car with its chrome finish, rounded edges, and the Tesla logo etched onto its surface. The most outstanding feature is that there are no buttons! Instead, the key uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the car and unlock or start it when you’re near.

The Tesla’s key fob is a little more interesting. It is in the shape of a little Tesla!

How Many Keys Does Tesla Come With?

When you purchase a Tesla, it typically comes with two key cards that use Bluetooth technology to communicate with your car.

You can purchase additional key cards, key fobs and connect your phone to your Tesla as a key. In total, you can connect 19 keys to your Tesla.

Does Tesla Come With A Key Fob?

Teslas come with two key cards, but no key fob. However, you can order a key fob from the Tesla website in addition to your Tesla.

How Much Does A Tesla Key Fob Cost

New Tesla Key Fobs cost $175 on the Tesla website. These fobs can be used for Tesla Model 3 and Ys, as well as Model S and Model Xs that were manufactured after 2021.

For an older Tesla Model S or X, you might have to pay more for a key fob. Contact a Tesla service center to find out if they have any stock of these.

Do Tesla Keys Have A Tracker?

At this stage, there is no tracker in Tesla’s key cards and key fobs. Hopefully they will add this feature in the future!

Can I Add My Tesla Key To Apple Wallet?

You can’t add your Tesla key to Apple Wallet. However, you can add an Apple Watch or other smart watch as a key to your Tesla.

Does insurance cover lost Tesla Keys?

Losing your Tesla key can be a stressful experience, but it’s important to know that insurance may cover the cost of replacing it. If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may be able to file a claim to replace the lost key.

However, it’s important to note that not all insurance policies will cover lost keys and some may only cover a portion of the replacement cost. Before filing a claim with your insurance company, it’s recommended that you check your policy or speak with your insurance agent to see if lost keys are covered.

Another Cool Alternative: The Tesla Smart Ring

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!

Check out these 20 great gift ideas for yourself or a Tesla fanboy.

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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.