My walk-away door lock failed today!

My walk-away door lock failed today!

I have been using the walk-away door lock feature of my Model S since I got my car right before Christmas and have not had any problem with it - until today. I parked in the garage at work, and went inside as usual. At the end of the day, as I walked up to the car, I noticed that my door handles were out (usually they only come out when I get within a foot or two of the car). I opened the door and got in, and was relieved to see that my Canon 5D Mark III camera was still on the floor between my front seats. At first I thought that I must have imagined it, but when I put the car in reverse, the car warned me that my back right door was ajar! Someone actually opened my car and didn't close the door fully. Thank God that nothing was stolen!

Do not trust the walk-away door locks! Software is software, and software always has bugs. For something as important as locking your car, I will never trust some software program that someone wrote that has obviously not been fully tested yet. From now on, I'll take the time to tap my key fob and lock my doors!

Has anyone else had this problem?

Mike CDN-S102 | 22. Januar 2013

Got mine just before Christmas, haven't had this happen, will watch it though.

olanmills | 22. Januar 2013

Are you sure all of the doors were closed completely?

One day I came back to my Model S after work and noticed that the handles were all extended and the puddle lights were on. A quick look made me realize that one of the rear doors was still open. I had opened it to get my back pack, but I never really closed the door, I just let it slowly swing towards closure. I know it's my fault because then I remembered I was fiddling with something in my backpack and then I started walking away while still messing with my backpack, and so I forgot to actually close the door.

Also, you could always just take a look back at the car after walking away a little bit before using the key fob button. You might as well check wether or not the doors locked by themselves before wasting your fob battery.

gregv64 | 22. Januar 2013

Actually, more likely what happened is that the car locked and then later it unlocked and the door opened by itself. The following person had it happen twice, and apparently Tesla is going to replace his door handles. So definitely contact Tesla about this:!-Random-Door...!

bobgriswold | 22. Januar 2013

I most definitely didn't leave a door open. I was by myself and had my bag in the front seat with me. I didn't open the back door all day - and even if I did, I would have opened the back LEFT door. The back RIGHT door was ajar.

olanmills | 22. Januar 2013

Dang. Well like gregv64 mentioned, the problem has been reported before. Hopefully Tesla figures this one out quickly as I would consider it a pretty critical bug.

Cattledog | 22. Januar 2013

Bob - This has happened to me once, I believe as described above where the doors locked and then the right rear one popped open. When I got in my car to go home from work, the door showed as ajar though I hadn't messed with it.

wholland | 22. Januar 2013

I've had my Model S now 4 weeks, and have had some issues with the walk away auto-lock feature as well. However, after learning the quirks of the car I now know when I need to manual lock. When the following occurs, I know I have to reboot the 17" screen, or manually lock the car when I leave:
1. rear-view camera doesn't pop up in reverse.
2. power graph freezes in time and shows no activity
3. google maps freeze and show no real-time movement

If the above occurs, I know that the auto-lock feature won't work and I will have to manually lock the car, or reboot. I find that a simple reboot seems to fix everything for a few driving sessions. Was having to reboot every day, but now seems to be a little more stable requiring reboot every other day.

Timo | 22. Januar 2013

@olanmills +1

This is the worst bug in the car IMO. Worse than it not starting. It's like your front door opening all by itself while you are at work. IMO Lock that doesn't open with a right key is less bad than lock that opens without any key.

gregv64 | 22. Januar 2013

In the 4.2 update notes one of the changes is that it "improves ... key and door handle function." It's probably too much to hope that this is already fixed, but apparently a lot of the other voodoo software issues have gone away.

Maestrokneer | 22. Januar 2013

Maybe it's just because I live in Oakland, but my initial thought was, "you left a Canon 5D Mark III in the front seat??!!".

Not too many towns left in the US where that's a good idea.

Nevertheless, this is definitely a troubling problem. Thanks for posting and raising our attention to it.

BYT | 22. Januar 2013

My walk away door locks never worked when I took my Model S home until I did a full LCD and HUD reset one day. Worked since, I am also on the original software firmware, the 1.13.x

Robert22 | 22. Januar 2013

On 4.1 after plugging into the charging port and walking away, the handles will stay out for over a minute on occasion. This is compared to the more rapid retraction that occurs when you walk away from the car normally. It's no fun standing 20 feet from the car in a 0 degree wind chill waiting for the handles to retract. Looking forward to 4.2

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

All to avoid the horrible hassle of pushing the FOB roof button once? Curiouser and curiouser.

Mark K | 23. Januar 2013

Brian - The point is that they paid extra for the proximity features and they are not rock-solid yet.

I think their spirit in posting it here is less about grousing and more about bright-lining it for TM to remedy.

I expect these more subtle errors will all get outed and fixed over the coming months. There is already evidence of that in the releases to date.

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

I meant standing in the cold till the automatic locking kicked in rather than push the FOB. It seems to me, actually, that you should regard the walk-away as a failsafe, just for when you forget to FOB-lock or your hands are full.

Timo | 23. Januar 2013

Sound recognition app with sense for someone muttering "I need more hands..." with fob nearby: pop! Doors open/close depending which was the state of the doors when those magical words were uttered. Maybe just trunk if it senses fob directly behind.

Maybe face recognition too, so that you only need to look at the car and it makes a wild guess that you want doors to open/close.

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

Why not go for lip-reading?

MikeV | 23. Januar 2013

Our Model S (running 4.1 - 1.19.31) self opened the right front door last weekend while it (fortunately) was inside the garage.

I thought it might be related to the last-resort door opening system that opens that same door if one places the key-fob at the base of the windshield. After I read about different doors opening on other cars, I concluded the fob theory was incorrect and probably a coincidence.

I'm in touch with the closest service center (5 hour drive away) and they promised to pull logs from our car via wireless and get back to us on a course of action.

nickjhowe | 23. Januar 2013

On an up note, my auto locking has worked flawlessly since I got the car. Sorry to those who are struggling.

bobinfla | 23. Januar 2013

Don't have my car yet, so wondering what are the visual and/or audible signals that tell you the car locked. I had several occaisions where I left my Miata unlocked and since had to learn the idiosyncrasies of just what would lock the car and what wouldn't. I.e., don't leave the "zone" before the door closes all the way, close the driver's door last, don't pop the trunk and then close the door, etc. But the key thing was to hardwire my brain to look for the lights to flash or hear the double beep. So wondering what does the S do to tell you it's locked (at least until it changes it's mind later apparently).

nickjhowe | 23. Januar 2013

Good question. The only time the car didn't lock for me was because one of the doors wasn't properly closed. I realised because all the lights were on in the car and the handles did not retract. Haven't repeated this to test it.

There is no beep, and I don't even think the lights flash. I think they just go out. Having said that I have the lights set to be on all the time. If you have the lights off maybe they flash??? Will need to check.

Wayne3 | 23. Januar 2013

The most reliable indication I've found that you've closed all the doors properly is that the center screen goes blank. Then, one minute after the last door is closed, the parking lights flash and the door handles recede.

So, as a rule of thumb, take a quick glance at the center screen before you walk away from your car, and if it is still on, you'll want to check to see which door is open. If you like, you can wait the extra minute or hit the top button on your fob to make sure the car locks, but I've found it reliable as long as I see the center screen go out.

davecolene0606 | 23. Januar 2013

vin 1094 no troubles with auto lock v4.1 1.19.31

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

Heard of an issue with the doors, esp. front passenger, related to air pressure seal within the door jamb itself. Too tight a seal?

drp | 23. Januar 2013

Look. It's a $100000 car that we are buy in good faith and with confidence , a lot of trust, and trying to do the right thing. There are only so many excuses and this stuff has to work. Quit drinking the kool-aid and be realistic! You can't market it if it's bull!! The is a moral obligation here on Tesla and this is pretty off-putting. This forum stuff is soooo full,of Kool-aid!!!! If you are supposed to walk away from the car and the door is supposed to lock than you should be able to walk away from the car and the door should lock!!!! Duh!!!! If winter driving conditions were tested than release the data, not a 90 sec video!!!! You shouldn't have to look to the east, raise your right hand, do the hoki-poki, and tap the screen randomly to make something work!!! Enough is enough!!!!

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

You obviously have no experience with software. The hoki-poli is a basic required user skill.

drp | 23. Januar 2013


It's just a bit much you know?

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

typo: poki

drp | 23. Januar 2013

You obviously have no experience with typing your own text

gregv64 | 23. Januar 2013

@drp: Um, I don't recall anybody saying that this is correct behavior, so I'm not sure who your rant is aimed at. Obviously this is a fault in the car, and people are trying to gather information. Enough is enough of what exactly?

DouglasR | 23. Januar 2013

How common is this problem? It never happened to me.

SD Supercharger | 23. Januar 2013

Relax---- everyone has different expectations of what Tesla and Model S should and can be. Some of us expect issues with the car. We know that Tesla is rapidly building a complex automobile, is under extreme financial pressure, and needs our support to make long range electric vehicle travel a reality.
If you expect premium floor mats and a car with no bugs, maybe you should wait for generation 2 or even generation 3. Personally, I was in line to buy another BMW 7 series, but i fell asleep just thinking about driving it. Not everyone is drinking the kool-aid. We are not necessarily happy with some of the bugs but we expect at some point that everything will function smoothly and the company will stand by its product

drp | 23. Januar 2013

Problems with the car, Greg. Why do you take this " personally"?

gregv64 | 23. Januar 2013

Why do you think I took it personally? As far as problems with the car, I see no more than listed on any other car forum of any brand I visit, and far less than I expected of a brand new car from a brand new company.

drp | 23. Januar 2013


I hear you. I too remain excited but I didn't release a car before due diligence testing and I have concerns about released data. That's all I'm saying.

gregv64 | 23. Januar 2013

Having concerns is fine, and I definitely believe that any drop in quality is Tesla's biggest risk. However, it's also been my experience that reading product forums like this tend to make any product sound like total crap. This is just about the most serious problem we've seen so far, and as far as we know it could just be a software fix. It will be years before we really know how reliable the cars are, but I'm somewhat encouraged so far.

SD Supercharger | 23. Januar 2013

We wanted creep--they gave us creep. We wanted a reduction in vampire load--they gave us sleep.
Unfortunately sleep was packaged with their big 4.1 release, and they needed to fix the bugs so they gave us 4.2 and now we are at Peace.

Robert22 | 23. Januar 2013

@ Brian -

You're missing the point. Autoretract is for the convenience of being able to walk away from the car knowing it will lock. Sure, I could fumble in my pocket for a fob with my hands full, but that's why I chose the tech package. I don't expect to walk backwards and monitor the handles for closure every time I leave the car. I expect the bugs, but if this was going to happen repeatedly than I would indeed need to use the fob....especially in the area where I park. Obviously this will get sorted out with updates.

walla2 | 23. Januar 2013

@bobgriswold. I had this exact thing happen to me.

I always just walk away and expect it to lock. One time, I went into a store for like 2 minutes. I came back out. The car had not turned off (4.1). I got in. The car said my passenger door was open. I closed the door and kept driving. The comforting thing for you is that perhaps no one was in the car. I know that no one was in my car for the 2 minutes I was out of it as it was in plain site while I was in the store.

I hope to get 4.2 as I had another bug today with 4.1 that is similar and likely related in some way to 4.1 and below. Parked in the morning. Got out and walked away. Came back 8 hours later and heat and seat heaters were still going. All the screens were off and had to be rebooted. In below 30 degree weather, the car was 70 degrees and the good news had only lost about 7 miles from when I left it.

walla2 | 23. Januar 2013

BTW. Loving the car. The bugs will get ironed out with time. I am not worried about quality. The quality is good overall. Think iPhone 1, 2, 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5. Better with each generation but new bugs every time that take time to fix.

cerjor | 23. Januar 2013

When I came back to the car from shopping, the rear hatch cover was wide open and I couldn't help but wondering why. Glitch? I pushed the button to close it and after going down, it went back up. Then I noticed something was in the way with it closing properly so, as designed, the cover went back up. My fault for letting something get in the way and for not looking back as I walked away.

Brian H | 23. Januar 2013

You did notice I said, "just for when you forget to FOB-lock or your hands are full."?

Apparently not.

stoneoakvet | 10. Juni 2014

My car failed to auto lock today. Realized the mirrors had not folded in even though the door handles had retracted. Without the key fob, I was able to get door handles to extend by pressing on any handle. No doors were ajar. I was not able to start the car (no key detected warning) but I was able to access the touch screen and evaluate settings, which all were in order. Tesla support had me turn off, then on again, the auto lock feature. That seemed to fix it. It's disappointing to admit my wife was right. She kept telling me not to trust the car to lock itself, guess she was right.

mrspaghetti | 10. Juni 2014

Dude, your wife is always right. Trust me on this.

tezzla.SoCal | 10. Juni 2014

@stoneoakvet, if you unlock the car with the phone app; the car will not auto-lock until you re-lock with the key fob.