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Can A Tesla Key Cards Get Demagnetized? 5 Things To Know

Tesla key cards are a convenient way to unlock your car when you don’t have your phone, but you’re probably worried about damaging it accidentally. Since they resemble credit cards, you might wonder if they can be demagnetized, and you’ll be locked out of your car when you don’t have your phone.

Tesla key cards cannot be demagnetized because they use a microchip instead of a magnetic stripe to store data for contactless communication. However, they are still affected by surrounding magnetic fields, and there are other ways they can be damaged.

This article will cover how magnetized objects affect Tesla key cards and other things you should know about your Tesla key card to keep from damaging it.

Things To Know About Tesla Key Cards and Demagnetization

Demagnetization is a process that most often happens to magnetic stripe cards, typically credit cards. Luckily, a Tesla key card cannot be demagnetized, but that doesn’t mean that it is indestructible. 

Here’s what car reviewer Jordan Golson had to say about Tesla’s key cards:

“It is the first company to roll it out as standard on what’s intended to be a mass-produced, mass-market car”

Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind to ensure you make the best out of your Tesla key card. 

1. Tesla Key Cards Are Based on NFC Technology

Even though it looks fancy, a Tesla key card uses very simple technology to work. It has a microchip embedded in it with an RFID signal. The chip is so small it only needs radio waves from the reader (in your car) to power it. So, there is no magnetized information to be wiped out by a magnet.

When you put the card in place, the reader in your car recognizes the code in the microchip and sends the appropriate signal to the car, unlike traditional credit and debit cards that had a black (magnetized) stripe containing the relevant information, Tesla’s key card stores data on an RFID microchip. 

2. Magnetized Objects Can Interfere With Your Key Card

While an RFID chip is not magnetized at all, the waves from magnetized objects interfere with the radio waves between your car and the key card. In other words, you’ll need to get that Tesla key card out of your wallet and away from your bank cards for it to function optimally. 

Remember that interference here doesn’t mean wiping out the data on your key card. It just won’t work as well when there is a credit card between your car and the key card because radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation

Tesla-Keyfob

3. Don’t Store Your Tesla Key Card in Your Phone Case

There are important reasons you should avoid storing your Tesla key card in your phone case. However, I am going to say that it will not interfere with wireless charging. It won’t get damaged if it’s between your phone and the charger, either. 

Tesla designed their cards as a physical key you can use when you don’t have access to your phone, which should be the main key to your car. There is also a key fob for some models, but they are more expensive to order and are less convenient.

Here’s what the Tesla website warns about their key cards:

“Always carry your key card with you in your purse or wallet to use as a backup in case your authenticated phone has a dead battery or is lost or stolen.”

If you store the key card in your phone case, you run the risk of losing both simultaneously if you ever misplace your phone (or it’s stolen). The key card is still relatively cheap to replace, but it’s nonetheless better to store your key card in a separate location for emergency situations when you’ll need it.

4. One Key Card Can Control Multiple Teslas

As if the key card couldn’t get even more convenient. If you have access to multiple Teslas, you don’t need to carry multiple spare key cards. Firstly, you can add all the vehicles to the Tesla app on your phone.

Still, you can add the same key card to multiple cars. This is because the microchip doesn’t do any programming. It only contains a specific code that is unique. Your car (or cars) should recognize that specific code after you add the key card to the car’s system. 

5. Tesla Key Cards Can Be Damaged

Even though they can’t be demagnetized, there are several ways that your key card can be damaged.

The two most common ways are:

  • Cutting your key card.
  • Damaging the RFID microchip.

If you looked past the plastic of your Tesla card, you would see a wire running through the plastic, from corner to corner. The rectangular-shaped wire is connected to an RFID chip that also has an antenna-shaped wire. The entire structure is embedded in plastic and invisible without manipulation. 

Cutting your Tesla key card breaks the integrated circuit embedded inside it, and thus the card won’t work. Bending the card is fine, so long as the wire and RFID chip remain intact.

If you bend, burn, or otherwise damage the card and this damage reaches the embedded RFID chip, it won’t work. Luckily, Tesla sells replacements for a relatively low price. 

On a related note, check out this similar article where I discuss 8 mtethods you could use when your Tesla key card is not working.

Using Your Tesla Key Card Regularly

Despite its intended use, some Tesla owners still prefer to use their key cards regularly instead of relying on their phones. Here is a quick comparison between Tesla’s key cards, fobs, and the app, to help you decide which is the most convenient.

Feature Tesla Key CardTesla Key FobTesla App
Automatic lock/unlockNoYesYes
Open trunk(s)NoYesYes
Start/DriveYesYesYes

Aside from the features mentioned in the table above, I think it’s worth noting the phone app is by far the most convenient method of gaining access to and driving your Tesla. The key card is compact and easy to carry in your wallet, so it’s a great backup option.

One Tesla owner decided she wanted to control her car even without the app or the card. So, she dissolved the key card in acetone and embedded the chip in her wrist. This may be extreme, but it’s definitely more convenient as the key card (or RFID chip, rather) doesn’t ever need to be charged. However, it’s not advised to do this!

Third-party sellers use the same method to turn a standard Tesla key card into a ring for even more convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, a Tesla key fob or a key card?

A key card is more convenient to carry around because it fits easily in a wallet, taking up less space. Key fobs are more expensive to replace when lost and difficult to store or carry.

Can one Tesla have more than one key card?

Yes, up to 19 total keys. In fact, Tesla provides two cards with your purchase and you can add more if needed. You can easily program the additional key cards using the center console as usual.


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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.