Tesla doors don’t function in conventional ways and thus can perplex many owners, especially when the automation and touchscreen options are unresponsive. Also, they’ve undergone several changes in design, craftsmanship, and features, some subtle yet significant.
Tesla doors on every model released to date sport smart features, from the touchscreen-based controls to integrated proximity sensors and electro-mechanical functions. Also, Tesla doors have a few automated configurations with override features.
As an owner and user, you may wonder how you can open a Tesla door without power, what you may do in emergencies, and whether or not you can reset the handles, sensors, and automated features when they fail. This guide discusses all such issues about Tesla doors of every model.
How To Lock Tesla Doors
The specific steps to lock Tesla doors depend on the model you own and the types of access you have set up. For instance, the earliest S models have door handles that pop out for you to pull open, and you can use the key fob to lock the doors as you walk away from the car.
The more recent Tesla Models X, 3, and Y have automated lock and unlock features based on proximity. However, you can lock all Tesla doors when inside through the Media Control Unit or the infotainment screen in your model. The doors should auto-lock when you start to drive.
Pro Tip: What will happen if you repeatedly pull the Tesla door emergency exit lever?
If you always have to tell your friends how to open the doors (from the inside) of your Tesla, you might notice that they can sometimes find a lever to pull from under the button to open the door. You should always ask your friends to not pull that manual lever. It is there as an emergency release in case the button fails. If anyone repeatedly uses the lever, it can damage the door to not drop the window down slightly and emergency exit not to work.
Steps To Lock Tesla Doors From Inside
Here are the steps to lock Tesla doors from inside the car for each model:
|Tesla Model||MCU Screen||Key Fob||Auto-Lock||Child-Lock|
|S||Press the‘ lock’ icon||Single-click||On drive||Vehicle settings|
|X||Press the‘ lock’ icon||Single-click||On drive||Vehicle settings|
|3||Press the‘ lock’ icon||Single-click||On drive||Vehicle settings|
|Y||Press the‘ lock’ icon||Single-click||On drive||Vehicle settings|
Watch this 35s video to lock Tesla Models 3 and Y:
If you would like a step-by-step guide for opening and locking Tesla doors for each model, please scroll to the bottom of this blog post.
How To Enable Child Locks On A Tesla Model S
To child lock a Tesla Model S, tap on the car icon in the bottom left corner of your touchscreen. In the menu on the left, tap on “Vehicle.” You will then see an option that says “Child Protection Lock.” Toggle this option on to child lock your vehicle.
This YouTube video also describes how you can enable child-lock on Tesla Model S:
Steps To Lock Tesla Doors From Outside
Here are the steps to lock Tesla doors from outside the car:
|Tesla Model||Key Fob||Phone Key||Walk-Away||Park|
|S||Single-click||NA||Turn it on||Disable unlock|
|X||Single-click||NA||Turn it on||Disable unlock|
|3||Single-click||Walk-away||Turn it on||Disable unlock|
|Y||Single-click||Walk-away||Turn it on||Disable unlock|
Here’s a Tesla Model S key fob video guide:
Tesla key fobs work identically for more recent models, be it X, 3, or Y.
How To Open Tesla Door Without Power
Tesla has numerous features with convenient one-touch enabling and disabling options. However, none of these options works when your car doesn’t have power, including the Tesla doors. The older Tesla models have mechanical handles inside to unlock the doors, but the new ones don’t.
The latest Tesla models have a button to unlock and open the door from inside. Unfortunately, these are not electro-mechanical but entirely electrical buttons. Thus, these buttons don’t work without power either. Also, contemporary models don’t have exterior handles for traditional unlocking.
How To Open Tesla Door From Inside Without Power
Here are the steps to open a Tesla door from inside without power:
- Look for the mechanical release on your Tesla door.
- Pull the clasp or string, depending on the Tesla model.
- The specific door should unlock and open slightly.
- Push the door outward or upward, subject to the wing type.
Tesla models don’t have identical releases for all the doors. Also, most models have a mechanical release in the rear. You can fold the rear seats, access the cover for the liftgate, remove it, and pull the tag to open the latch. Then, push the liftgate out and upward to get out.
Here’s a model-specific guide to locating the mechanical releases for Tesla doors:
|Tesla Model||Front Doors||Rear Doors||Rear Trunk|
|S||The door handle||Under rear seats||Tag/latch for liftgate|
|X||The door handle*||Inside door panel**||Tag/latch for liftgate|
|3||The clasp on the door handle||Under the mat***||Tag/latch for liftgate|
|Y||The clasp on the door handle||Under the mat***||NA|
* Newer Model X models have the manual release clasp like those on 3 and Y.
**The pull-string is behind the rear door speaker grill.
*** Under the rubber mat in the map pocket of the rear door. Not all models may have this string.
The earlier Model S models have a mechanical door handle. Thus, you can operate them from the inside to open the Tesla doors without power. Tesla Models 3, Y, and newer X variants don’t have the mechanical door handle, so you must use the manual release clasp.
Here’s a video showing the new manual release clasp on Tesla doors:
Watch this comprehensive video about emergency release features on Tesla doors:
How To Open A Locked Model S Door From The Inside Without Power
In the unlikely event that your Model S has no power, you can still open the doors. To open a front door, locate the manual door release switch in front of the window switches and pull it up.
For the rear doors, you’ll need to fold back the edge of the carpet below the rear seats to expose the mechanical release cable. Pull the mechanical release cable toward the center of the vehicle to open the rear door.
How To Open A Locked Model 3 Door From The Inside Without Power
In the unlikely event that the Model 3 has no power, you can still open the front door. Find the manual door release located in front of the window switches and pull it up. However, it’s important to note that only the front doors are equipped with a manual door release.
! If you find yourself in a situation where there is no power in your Tesla Model X and you need to open the door from the inside, there are specific steps you can follow.
How To Open A Locked Model X Door From The Inside Without Power
To open a front door of a Model X without power, locate the manual door release switch positioned in front of the window switches. It is usually a small lever or button. Pull up on the manual door release switch, and this should release the door latch, allowing you to manually push the door open.
However, please note that the manual door release should only be used when the vehicle has no power. When the power is available, it is recommended to use the regular button located at the top of the interior door handle to open the front door.
For the falcon wing doors, opening them without power requires a different approach. Carefully remove the speaker grille from the door panel to access the mechanical release cable. Pull the mechanical release cable down and towards the front of the vehicle to release the latch. After the latch is released, you can manually lift up the falcon wing door.
Remember to exercise caution and be gentle when performing these manual operations. Additionally, it is always advisable to contact Tesla support or seek professional assistance if you encounter persistent power issues or difficulties with door operations.
How To Open A Locked Model Y Door From The Inside Without Power
In the unlikely situation where the Model Y has no power, you can pull up the manual door release located in front of the window switches to open a front door manually.
For rear doors, if equipped with a manual release, you can remove the mat from the bottom of the rear door pocket, press the red tab to remove the access door, and then pull the mechanical release cable forward.
How To Open Tesla Door From Outside Without Power
Teslas have a 12V auxiliary battery housed under the front trunk that powers the doors, among other non-driving components. The only situation when you need external power is when the 12V battery is fully discharged or not operating the Tesla doors and its handles for some reason.
Recharge the 12V battery if you have access to a charging station, or you may connect a jumper to the access panel wires under the front trunk. You can use another car as the jumper source, too. In rare cases, you may have to call Tesla for roadside assistance.
How To Reset Tesla Door Handle
Tesla doors may malfunction for many reasons. All Tesla doors are connected to the circuit via a fuse. A failing, loose, or blown fuse may prevent the door from opening or your access to the handle. Also, the problem could be in the electro-mechanical parts of the door in older models.
Here are the steps to reset a Tesla door handle:
- Check and replace the door and handle fuses.
- Consider and perform a soft reset for the Tesla MCU.
- Choose a deep soft reset (if necessary).
- Explore temporary fixes for the door handle.
- Contact Tesla customer and product support.
Each step is explained in more detail below
1. Check and Replace the Door and Handle Fuses of the Locked Door
Teslas have three or four fuse boxes, depending on the model and edition. All Tesla doors, including the handles, are connected to dedicated fuses inside one of these boxes that are typically under the front trunk. You need to access the box and inspect the relevant fuses.
Generally, the Tesla door and handle fuses are in the second box, positioned at nos. 32, 40, and 41. Check if these 5A fuses are blown. Replace them if the metal inside has melted. Otherwise, pull and reinsert the fuses properly to ensure they are not interrupting the electric circuit.
Turn off your Tesla engine and all electrical and electronic components before you access the panel under the front trunk. Keep the owner’s manual handy and refer to the fuse box diagram for easy identification. Always use an identical fuse of the same amperage for replacement.
Here’s a pictorial guide to help you access and identify Tesla fuses:
The fuse boxes under the front trunk are not the only circuit breakers for Tesla doors and handles. A cabin fuse box or layout has individual fuses assigned to various electronic and electrical components in your car. For instance, each door handle has a dedicated connection.
The cabin fuse layout is behind the kick panel below the glove box compartment. You may find F233 (front door handles) and F234 (rear door handles), depending on the Tesla model. Each of the two fuses has different ports for right and left doors, including handles and other functions.
You may have to check the wiring of the defective door handle, too. Accessing the wiring is a complicated exercise, whether inside the door panel or elsewhere. You need to remove several components and then hope to be able to detect the actual problem. Consult an expert if unsure.
2. Consider and Perform a Soft Reset for the Tesla MCU
Tesla door handles may get jammed. They may remain popped out, recessed, or stuck somewhere in the middle. Such issues are due to hardware or software glitches. The fuse is a hardware problem, so are electrical wiring and mechanical failures inside the door panel.
At times, your Tesla may have a firmware glitch that can cause door handles to freeze or malfunction. Check if you’ve upgraded your firmware recently or initiated any significant changes that could cause a problem. Undo the changes if possible and see if the handle works.
Tesla’s Media Control Unit, which is essentially the centralized system regulating all onboard installations, can develop glitches or malfunction. Consider a soft reset from the touchscreen to test if that fixes the door handle problem and other issues you may encounter at times.
A soft reset is basically a system reboot. Access the touchscreen, tap on Controls, go to Safety and Security, and tap on Power Off. The software will shut down, but your Tesla’s electrical and other electronic components will still have access to the battery power. Don’t reset while driving.
The soft reset is the first step of any troubleshooting for a Tesla, irrespective of the model. Wait for ~2-3 minutes before applying the brake once to restart the system. The Media Control Unit touchscreen should turn on, and you can test if the prevalent glitches are resolved or not.
3. Choose a Deep Soft Reset (if Necessary)
A Tesla door handle problem is often beyond a soft reset to resolve because the process doesn’t turn off the power to various electrical and electronic components. Thus, you might need a deep soft reset to check if the Media Control Unit or any transient glitch is the causal problem.
Park the Tesla, as you shouldn’t power off all components while driving or even when you need some of the systems to function. Press and hold the brake, the scroll wheels on the steering, and the buttons (in some models). Wait for the touchscreen to restart before letting go.
This deep soft reset may take several minutes. Don’t open any door or operate an onboard system as you initiate and complete this process.
Your Tesla door handle may be reset if a software, sensor, or power-related glitch was the causal problem. Else, try other solutions.
4. Explore Temporary Fixes for the Door Handle
Your Tesla door handle may malfunction due to a broken spring, wiring or circuit issues, and other internal problems. For instance, a broken wire inside the door panel may prevent the handle from popping out despite the proximity sensor working when you walk up to the car.
Likewise, a Tesla door handle may pop out but not return to its recessed position if the spring doesn’t allow the fixture to revert. Some models have a mechanized pullback instead of a reverse pop action. Thus, any mechanical failure can also keep the door handle from popping out.
In most cases, you’ll have to contact Tesla and probably get your car over to one of their shops. Some problems have temporary remedies. If you can lock and unlock your Tesla door, but only the handle won’t pop out, you may consider wrapping it for easy access and operation.
You can temporarily remedy a jammed or fixed Tesla door handle with two plastic cards and some regular tape. Use the cards for popping the door handle out. Wrap the tape around the handle, and you have a tag to pull the door when unlocked. Opt for a permanent solution later.
Watch this quick fix video using plastic cards and tape for a faulty Tesla door handle:
Contact Tesla Customer and Product Support
A simple wiring issue may leave your door handle popped out like in this video:
You can contact Tesla or try to remedy the problem yourself. Seek official support if your warranty is still valid and you have the time to visit a Tesla service center.
Access the internal components only if you’re familiar with the nitty-gritty and won’t risk damaging anything.
How To Open a Tesla Door (Under Normal Circumstances) For Each Model
You may be wondering how to open and lock your Tesla doors under normal circumstances (i.e. there isn’t a fault). It can be a little confusing because the models are all quite different. The guide below will help you navigate your Tesla doors with ease.
How to Open a Tesla Model S Door
Opening a Tesla Model S door is a breeze, and there are a few different methods you can use. The most convenient way is to approach the car with a phone key or key fob nearby. When the Model S is unlocked and detects the presence of a phone key or key fob, a light press on the exterior door handle will cause it to extend automatically.
To open the door, simply insert your hand into the handle and pull. The door handle will retract if you don’t use it within ten seconds after it extends.
If that happens, you can easily extend it again by pressing the handle. It’s important to note that the door handles will also retract ten seconds after the last door closes, when the Model S starts moving, or when you lock the car.
In certain situations where the vehicle is unable to detect a phone key nearby, such as to preserve battery life, the Auto-Present Handles feature may be temporarily disabled.
If this happens, you can manually extend a door handle by pressing it or by using the unlock button on the key fob. There’s no need to reset any settings. The next time you approach the Model S under normal conditions, the handles will automatically extend.
How to Lock a Tesla Model S Door
Locking the doors of your Tesla Model S is simple and can be done using different methods. Once again, having a phone key (on an authenticated phone) or paired key fob nearby is essential. To lock the doors, you can either use the exterior door handles or the key fob.
If you choose to use the exterior door handles, make sure the Model S is unlocked and a phone key or key fob is detected. Then, lightly press on a door handle, and it will automatically retract. This indicates that the doors are locked.
Remember that the door handles will retract within ten seconds after the last door closes, when the car starts moving, or when you manually lock the Model S.
Alternatively, you can use the key fob to lock the doors. Simply press the lock button on the key fob, and you will hear a confirmation sound, along with the visual indicators on the car’s exterior.
It’s worth mentioning that you can customize the behavior of the door handles. By accessing the Controls menu on the car’s touchscreen, then navigating to Locks > Auto-Present Handles, you can choose to have the door handles extend automatically when you approach the driver’s side with a phone key or key fob.
If you don’t want the door handle presentation to occur at home, you can exclude your home address by setting it in the Navigate menu.
Please note that in cases where the Model S is unable to detect a phone key nearby, such as when preserving battery life, the Auto-Present Handles feature may be temporarily disabled. In such situations, you can manually lock the doors by pressing the lock button on the key fob or using the door handle to retract it. The next time you approach the car under normal circumstances, the handles will automatically extend, provided the above conditions do not apply.
How To Open A Tesla Model 3 Door
Opening a door on a Tesla Model 3 is a straightforward process, and there are a few methods you can use.
One way is to use the exterior door handles. To do this, simply push the wide part of the door handle with your thumb. As you do so, the handle will pivot towards you, allowing you to open the door by either pulling the handle or pulling the edge of the door.
It’s important to note that the door handle will retract automatically after use. When a door or trunk is open, the touchscreen inside the car will display a Door Open indicator light, providing you with a visual indication.
If you’re inside the Model 3 and want to open a door, locate the button at the top of the interior door handle. Press this button, and then push the door open. This method allows you to open the door from the inside.
You can also use the touchscreen popup while inside the Model 3, while the vehicle is in Park, to open and close the doors.
How To Lock A Tesla Model 3 Door
Locking the doors of your Tesla Model 3 is a simple process, and there are a few methods you can use.
One way is to use the touchscreen inside the car. While sitting inside the Model 3, you can lock and unlock all doors and trunks by touching the lock icon in controls on the touchscreen. The icon will change to indicate whether the doors are locked or unlocked.
Alternatively, the door locks when you press the Park button on the end of the drive stalk a second time. Pressing this button once engages Park, and pressing it again will lock the doors.
Tesla Model 3 also offers a convenient Walk-Away Door Lock feature. When enabled, the doors and trunks can automatically lock when you walk away from the car carrying your phone key or paired key fob (if ordered after approximately October 1, 2019).
You can enable or disable this feature by going to the Controls menu on the touchscreen and selecting Locks > Walk-Away Door Lock.
When the doors lock, the exterior lights will flash once, and the mirrors will fold (if the Fold Mirrors feature is on). To hear a confirmation sound when the Model 3 locks, you can go to Controls > Locks > Lock Confirmation Sound on the touchscreen.
Please note that the Model 3 will not automatically lock under certain circumstances. These include if the Exclude Home checkbox is checked and the Model 3 is parked at your designated home location, if a phone key or paired key fob is detected inside the Model 3, if a door or trunk is not fully closed, if the phone key’s Bluetooth setting is turned off, or if a phone key remains within range for ten minutes or a key fob remains within range for five minutes after all doors have been closed.
Additionally, the Model 3 will not lock automatically if the driver does not use the driver door to exit the vehicle.
How To Open A Tesla Model X Door
To open a Tesla Model X door, there are a few different ways you can do it.
Let’s start with the front doors. When you approach the Model X with the key, the doors automatically unlock. All you have to do is press the door handle, and the front doors will open right up. Pretty convenient, right?
If you prefer, you can even set it up so that the driver’s door opens automatically when you approach. Just check the settings in the Touch Controls menu to enable this feature.
And when you’re sitting inside the vehicle, there’s a handy button located at the top of the interior door handle that you can press to open the front doors.
You can also use the touchscreen controls to open and close the doors from the interior.
Now, let’s move on to the unique falcon wing doors of the Model X. These doors are pretty cool! To open them from outside the vehicle, you can either press the door handle or double-press the falcon wing door button on the key fob. That will make them swing open smoothly.
If you’re already inside the Model X, you can use the switch located on the driver’s side door pillar to open the falcon wing doors. Alternatively, you can access the touchscreen controls, go to the Controls menu, and touch the associated door icon to open or close the falcon wing doors.
How To Lock A Tesla Model X Door
Now let’s talk about how to lock a Tesla Model X door. When it comes to locking the doors, Tesla provides a few options to suit your preferences and convenience.
One simple way to lock all the doors and trunks of the Model X is by using the touchscreen controls. Just locate the lock icon in the Controls menu and give it a tap. The icon will change to indicate that the doors are locked.
In addition, Tesla offers a feature called “Walk-Away Door Lock” that can automatically lock the doors and trunks for you. When enabled, the vehicle uses proximity sensors to detect when you walk away from it while carrying your phone key or paired key fob. Once you move out of range, the doors and trunks will automatically lock.
To activate or deactivate this feature, you can go to the Controls menu, select Locks, and find the Walk-Away Door Lock option.
It’s important to note that the Model X won’t automatically lock in certain situations, such as if a phone key or key fob is still detected inside the vehicle, if a door or trunk is not fully closed, or if you have designated your current location as Home in the settings and have excluded it from the automatic locking feature.
So, even with the Walk-Away Door Lock feature enabled, it’s always a good idea to double-check and ensure that your vehicle is securely locked.
How To Open A Tesla Model Y Door
To open a Tesla Model Y door, you can use the exterior door handles. Simply use your thumb to push the wide part of the door handle, and it will pivot toward you. You can then open the door by pulling the handle or pulling the edge of the door. The handle retracts automatically.
If a door or trunk is open, the touchscreen will display the Door Open indicator light.
When inside the Model Y, you can open the door by pressing the button located at the top of the interior door handle and pushing the door open.
How To Lock A Tesla Model Y Door
To lock and unlock all doors and trunks from the inside of the Model Y, you can use the touchscreen. While sitting inside the vehicle, touch the lock icon on the touchscreen to lock or unlock the doors. The icon will change to indicate whether the doors are locked or unlocked.
Alternatively, you can also unlock the doors by pressing the Park button on the end of the drive stalk a second time.
The doors and trunks can also automatically lock when you walk away from the vehicle carrying your phone key or paired key fob. You can enable or disable this feature by touching Controls > Locks > Walk-Away Door Lock on the touchscreen.
Please note that there are certain conditions where the Model Y will not automatically lock, such as if a door or trunk is not fully closed or if the phone key’s Bluetooth setting is turned off.
It is important to ensure the vehicle is locked manually if necessary, even when the Walk-Away Door Lock feature is enabled.
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