How To Open Tesla Model 3 Frunk With Dead Battery

Teslas are the cars of the future that entirely rely on electrics to operate. This includes all of their locking mechanisms. How do you open a Tesla Model 3 frunk manually or without power?

Here’s how you can open Tesla Model 3’s frunk with a dead battery: 

  • Find an external 12V power source.
  • Release the tow eye cover.
  • Pull out the two wires located within the tow hook opening.
  • Connect the power supply.
  • Turn on the external 12V power source.
  • Disconnect the cables.

Getting to know your electric vehicle is one of the main ways to prevent getting stranded on the road. The rest of this article will explain each of the steps listed above in detail, ensuring that everyone can open their Tesla’s frunk if their 12V battery runs out of power. 

1. Find an External 12V Power Source

You can’t manually open the frunk of your Tesla Model 3 without an external power source.

MethodWhen to Use
Regular jumper cables connected to an ICE vehicleAnytime
A jump starter kitAnytime
A regular 9V batteryOnly when the car is unlocked or the 12V battery is completely flat
Here’s a table list of methods you can use to release the frunk hatch.

You should keep in mind that all of the methods listed in the table above should only be used when your Tesla’s touchscreen, key fob, or mobile app can’t open the frunk.

2. Release the Tow Eye Cover

The tow eye cover is easy to release. Here’s how you release it on the Tesla Model 3 in just a few simple steps:

  1. Press the top right corner of the cover firmly until it rotates inward.
  2. Pull the raised side towards you without using excessive force.

We can always refer to YouTube for a visual representation of this process.

Here’s a video explaining how to remove the Tesla Model 3 tow hook cover:

While the Model 3 requires you to remove the tow cap, other Tesla models use different methods to access the frunk with a dead battery.

For example, Tesla Model S has the most complicated manual frunk opening process. The process requires you to remove some of the wheel arch protective trim. You can see more about it in this YouTube video:

3. Pull Out the Two Wires Located Within the Tow Eye Opening

Once you’ve removed the tow cover, you’ll need to pull out the wires located inside. One of the cables should be attached to the cover with a piece of double-sided tape. The attached cable can be either negative or positive.

Once you’ve accessed the area and located the cables, determine which cable is positive and which is negative. Both should be clearly labeled with some tape. The cable marked with the red tape is positive, while the one marked using black tape is negative.

While the process might seem like a regular jump-start, the wires in the front tow eye do not charge the car’s 12V battery. These wires are only used to unlatch the frunk and provide access to its contents.

4. Connect the Power Supply

The next step in opening the Model 3 frunk with a dead battery is to connect the power supply to the cables in the previous step. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Connect the positive (marked with red or +) cable from the power supply to the red cable from the car.
  2. Connect the negative (marked with black or -) cable from the power supply to the black cable from the car.

If you’re using a 9V battery instead of a donor car or a jump starter, the smaller terminal on the battery should be the positive end.

5. Turn On the External 12V Power Source

If you’re using an external power supply such as a jump starter kit, you’ll need to turn it on following the instructions for the device. Once the jump starter is on, the latch should release immediately, providing you access to your Model 3’s frunk.

In case you’ve decided to use a donor ICE car or a 9V battery, there’s no need to turn anything on. The latch should release as soon as you finish connecting the cables.

6. Disconnect the Cables

The final thing to do in the process of opening your Tesla Model 3’s frunk manually is to disconnect the cables. Just like when jump-starting a car, you must follow a particular order for cable removal:

  1. Disconnect the negative cable on the vehicle side.
  2. Disconnect the negative cable on the power source.
  3. Disconnect the positive cable on the vehicle.
  4. Disconnect the positive cable from the power source.

Once this final step is done, you can access your Tesla’s frunk. From there, you can jump-start or replace the 12V lithium battery found within.


What can you do when your electric car runs out of juice, and you can’t open the frunk using the touchscreen, the key fob, or the mobile app?

Here’s all you’ll need to do to open your Tesla’s frunk manually:

  • Grab an external 12V power supply.
  • Release the tow cover and connect the cables.
  • Turn on the power supply.
  • Disconnect the cables.

Although you’re unlikely ever to use this procedure, it’s good to know that you can still open your Model 3’s frunk even with a dead battery. 

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting 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.