How To Unlock Your Tesla Doors From The Inside

Tesla vehicles are known for their sleek design and advanced technology, which extends to the door system as well.

For new Tesla owners or those just curious about the ins and outs of these electric cars, unlocking the doors can be a little mysterious at first.

Quick Answer:

  1. Screen Control: On the car’s touchscreen, locate the ‘Controls’ menu.
  2. Select Locks: Within the ‘Controls’ menu, find and select the ‘Locks’ option.
  3. Unlock Doors: In the ‘Locks’ menu, select ‘Unlock’ to unlock the doors from the inside.

Note: Tesla models may vary, so consult your vehicle’s manual for exact instructions.

Incorporating a combination of sensors, buttons, and touchscreen controls, Tesla has managed to create a seamless unlocking experience for its drivers and passengers.

Basic Door Unlocking Methods

Door Handle Usage

To unlock a Tesla Model 3 door from the inside, simply use the interior door handles located conveniently near the armrests.

Pulling the interior door handle will directly unlock the respective door. Keep in mind, ensure your Tesla is in “park” mode before attempting to unlock the doors for safety purposes.

For rear doors, the method is similar. Locate the interior door handle and gently pull it to unlock the door.

Touchscreen Controls

The touchscreen inside your Tesla plays a significant role in controlling various functions, including door unlocking.

Here’s how to unlock the doors using the touchscreen:

  1. Make sure your Tesla is parked.
  2. Tap the car icon on the bottom left corner of the touchscreen.
  3. In the submenu that appears, tap on the lock icon next to the door you wish to unlock.
  4. The selected door will be unlocked, allowing you (or your passenger) to exit the vehicle.

In case of emergencies, there’s an emergency door release button on the touchscreen.

Press and hold this button to unlock all doors simultaneously.

Mobile App Unlocking

Tesla’s mobile app further simplifies door unlocking. After successfully pairing your mobile device to your Tesla, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Tesla mobile app.
  2. Choose your vehicle if you have multiple Teslas registered.
  3. In the app’s main screen, tap on the “Controls” option.
  4. Tap on the “Unlock” button to unlock all doors at once, or choose the specific door to unlock.

Take note that if you unlock the doors using the mobile app, the vehicle might temporarily disable its built-in key fob for security purposes.

Tesla Model Specific Features

Model S Door Handles

The Model S features unique retractable door handles that provide a sleek appearance and improve aerodynamics. To unlock and open the door from the inside, simply press the silver button located on the top of the interior door handle.

This action electronically releases the latch, allowing you to pull the handle and open the door. In addition, Tesla has also implemented a failsafe feature that operates even if the car loses power. In such cases, a manual release lever is accessible on the front doors under a small panel.

Model 3 Key Card

For the Model 3, Tesla introduced a Key Card system. The credit card-sized device can be used for unlocking the doors without having a smartphone or key fob. When inside the vehicle, simply place the Key Card on the center console behind the cupholders, and the car will recognize the card and be ready to drive.

To unlock the doors from the inside, press the electronic button on the interior door handle, and the door will unlatch so you can open it.

Please note that both Model S and Model 3 also support smartphone-based unlocking through the Tesla app. This offers more convenience, as it enables you to unlock the doors without physically interacting with the exterior door handles or using the key card.

Locking and Unlocking Options

Walk-Away Door Lock

The Walk-Away Door Lock feature automatically locks your Tesla when you walk away from it. To enable this feature, go to:

Controls > Vehicle > Locks > Walk-Away Door Lock

Make sure your smartphone’s Bluetooth is enabled, as this feature uses your phone’s proximity for locking and unlocking. You can also choose the “Exclude Home” checkbox, which prevents auto-locking when the car is parked at your home.

Driver Door Unlock Mode

Driver Door Unlock Mode allows you to customize which doors are unlocked when you approach your Tesla. You can choose between All or Driver door unlock options. To set your preference, go to:

Controls > Vehicle > Locks > Driver Door Unlock Mode

Selecting All unlocks all doors, while Driver unlocks only the driver’s door for added safety.

Car Left Open Notifications

If you accidentally leave your car unlocked or any door open, Tesla’s Car Left Open Notifications will alert you. To enable notifications, go to:

Controls > Vehicle > Locks > Car Left Open Notifications

Choose the time interval (e.g., immediately, after 1 minute, or after 10 minutes) to receive a notification on your smartphone if your car is left unlocked or open.

Bluetooth Settings

Using your smartphone’s Bluetooth connection, you can lock and unlock your Tesla doors. Ensure your phone is paired with your Tesla and Bluetooth is enabled. To enable and manage phone access, go to:

Controls > Vehicle > Locks > Phone > Manage

You can also add or remove phones, set priority, and enable keyless entry through the same menu. Remember to keep your phone’s Bluetooth turned on for seamless locking and unlocking functionality.

Advanced Unlocking Techniques

In this section, we’ll explore some advanced techniques to unlock Tesla doors from the inside, including manual door release, interior release buttons, and jump-starting.

Manual Door Release

To access the manual door release:

  1. Locate the small lever or pull handle available on the front door’s interior.
  2. Pull the lever or handle to disengage the latch and unlock the door.

Keep in mind using the manual door release can cause damage to the window trim and door seals. Make sure to use the manual door release only in emergencies.

Interior Release Buttons

Tesla vehicles come equipped with electronic interior release buttons on the front doors. These buttons are a convenient and safe alternative to the manual door release. To use them:

  1. Identify the door release button, which is typically marked with a small door icon.
  2. Press the button to disengage the latch and unlock the door.
  3. Open the door using the exterior handle.

Note: Interior release buttons are not available on the rear doors.


In case your Tesla’s 12-volt battery is depleted, you can jump-start the vehicle to unlock the doors:

  1. Locate the car’s jump-start terminals. They can be found either on the front or rear of the vehicle.
  2. Connect a 12-volt booster battery or external power supply to the terminals.
  3. Wait for a few seconds to allow the vehicle’s systems to power up.
  4. Use the interior release buttons to unlock the doors.

Remember that jump-starting your Tesla should only be performed in emergencies, as it could potentially harm the lithium-ion battery pack.

When you jump-start a Tesla, make sure to follow proper safety precautions.

Safety Measures

Child Locks

As Tesla owners, it is essential to ensure the safety of younger passengers. Tesla has implemented child locks that can be enabled in the vehicle to prevent children from opening the doors from the inside. To activate the child lock feature, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Controls on the Tesla touchscreen display.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Safety and Security.
  3. Under the Child Lock section, toggle the switch to activate the child lock.

Now, you’ve successfully enabled child locks, adding an additional layer of protection for your young passengers.

Fold Mirrors

Another safety measure worth mentioning is the fold mirrors feature. The side mirrors of your Tesla can be folded in for increased safety, especially when parked in tight spaces or areas with high pedestrian traffic.

Here’s how you can fold your Tesla’s side mirrors:

  • Tap the Controls icon on the touchscreen display.
  • Navigate to Quick Controls.
  • Under the Fold Mirrors section, toggle the switch to fold or unfold the mirrors as needed.

By following the above steps, you can prevent potential injuries caused by protruding side mirrors while also protecting your vehicle from damage. Remember to unfold the mirrors before resuming your drive to ensure optimal visibility and safety.

Troubleshooting Issues

Door Open Indicator Light

If the door open indicator light on the dashboard is illuminated even when the door is closed, this might interfere with the door’s unlocking mechanism. To troubleshoot, follow these steps:

  1. Check if the doors are properly closed. If not, close them securely.
  2. Ensure the interior door handle is not stuck in the open position.
  3. Park your vehicle, turn it off, and restart after a few seconds to reset the system.

If the issue persists, consult your Tesla service center.

Connectivity Issues

Unlocking your Tesla doors using a smartphone or web browser requires stable internet connectivity.

If you are experiencing issues, try these solutions:

  • Move your vehicle to an area with better network coverage or Wi-Fi signal.
  • Restart your smartphone or web browser.
  • Ensure your vehicle’s software is up-to-date.

If connectivity problems continue, consider manually unlocking the door using the interior door handle or contact Tesla support.

Maintenance Tips

Keep your Tesla’s door locks in optimal condition with regular maintenance. Here are some tips:

  • Clean the door handles and latches with a damp cloth to remove dirt and debris.
  • Lubricate the moving parts using a silicone-based lubricant, like WD-40. Avoid using oil-based products, as they may attract dirt.
  • Inspect and adjust the door strikers, if necessary.
  • Regularly check and tighten the screws holding the interior door handles.

Remember, if your vehicle is still under warranty or you are unsure about any maintenance procedures, it’s best to consult your nearest Tesla service center for assistance.

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