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LOCKED OUT

LOCKED OUT

I'll try to keep this brief but I feel it is critically important. I am 68 years old and I bought a new Model S in February. I was way up in the San Gabriel mountains yesterday as it was getting dark. Maybe 12 miles up a mountain road. No internet, no cell phone service. I use my cell phone to open and close my car. I had my key fob in the car, spare at home. I got out of the car for a moment and put my phone in my pocket. For some reason my car locked. Maybe a "pocket call" who knows? So, I AM LOCKED OUT!! I am in the middle of nowhere. Ten minutes later, it is pitch black. I walked three miles down and decide it will take me probably 8 hours to get to the bottom, if I even make it. I decide no way and walk back to my car. It is pitch black. I had already played tennis that morning so I am a bit gassed and feeling stupid that I had allowed this to happen. Finally a nice couple stops and drives me to the bottom. My son brings the extra key, we drive up and... it has no battery in it. We go home. Next day my wife takes me up there after I bought a battery for the fob. We get up there and it doesn't work. I call Tesla emergency roadside and a tow truck follows my wife and I to my car. He gets the car open, I start it and I drive home. This should not be allowed to happen. This is a dangerous "perfect storm" situation and I wonder how often this happens. Sure, I should have also had the fob in my pocket (I will now) but even that didn't work. Scary.

Aerodyne | 28. kesäkuu 2020

Similar thing happened to me in an last century ICE. Had to call a locksmith to jimmy the door frame open with an air inflator, to unlock the car.

Surprising if you were on route 2, that during your walk down you never got a cell signal.

Possible solution is put the spare fob in a weather tight magnetic case under the bumper or near steel. I put a spare key in said case on the ICE after the above event.

Another idea is roll a window down when leaving the car in the boonies.

NKYTA | 28. kesäkuu 2020

There is a saying about Tesla ownership...some are unprepared.

Sorry for your troubles, but clearly an outlier.

Bighorn | 28. kesäkuu 2020
TranzNDance | 29. kesäkuu 2020

When I've forgotten my key fob in the car, the car remained unlocked, or at least unlocked when I tried to access it. Did you have your fob in a special holder that blocked its signals?

murphyS90D | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Are there radio transmitters at the top of that mountain? If there are the high power they put out can block the receivers in the car. Do you not know how to open the car manually? Please learn. Being 67 is not an excuse. I am 80 and can easily do it. At home take the battery out of a fob and practice opening the car by placing the fob at the proper spot on the windshield. The Owner's Manual has a diagram of where to place the fob.

Anthony J. Parisio | 29. kesäkuu 2020

mblons
Sorry for your trouble. While it is possible to use the phone to open and drive the S it is not a Model 3 or Y. Both those cars use Bluetooth to connect to the phone. Bluetooth works within 15 feet and doesn't dependable on a cellular connection. Even so Tesla warns us to have the key card on us just in case. Model S never had this feature. So I always have my key with me. Now as for the dead battery in the key, if you always had it on you the car would have warned you the key battery needed replacing. This would be long before it went dead. Even so, if it went dead it can still be used as a key card and still would open the car. How to do this is explained in the owner's manual. Most of what I have written here is in the owner's manual. I know it might seem like any other car but it is not. It is one of the first robots you have ever owned. It is really more important to read the owner's manual on this robot more than on any car we have ever owned. I hope this helps. I wish you all the best.

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Yes I tried the fob on the passenger’s side at the right spot and touched the passenger’s door. It didn’t work. Nor did the fob. I was nowhere near a signal. And the “unprepared” may be the ones who need the most protection. It won’t happen again. I love the car and I feel like I let it down a bit by showing a possible imperfection. Maybe I’ll let it have fun later by going ludicrous plus.

akikiki | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Sorry you went through that. But good that you are safe and well. Welcome to the Tesla family. Like family, we are sometimes loving and hard on family. Just keep that in mind when you see something you don't like.

What would happen with all these non-Tesla cars that use a fob to unlock the door and drive the car? Would the same situation exist there? Mr, mblons, you made a mistake. Sorry, but because you didn't check for cell service is not the car's or manufacturer's fault.

If you had a flat or two flats up there, and the fob was in your pocket and still worked, would it be the car's and manufacturer's fault you had no cell service to call AAA? Sh** happens, and when it does we are usually responsible.

johncrab | 29. kesäkuu 2020

That must have been very unsettling but I am glad you got some help and got home safely. There are occasional server outages which can last minutes or hours so it is always best to replace the fob battery regularly and keep it in your pocket.

murphyS90D | 29. kesäkuu 2020

I reviewed the manual and the description to unlock the car is not very good.

Get two 9 volt batteries. Place the long side of a battery on the wiper blade with the bottom touching the edge of the bracket that attaches the wiper arm to the wiper blade. Place the second battery on the wiper blade in the same orientation as the first and touching it. Remove the first battery and place it against the long side of the second battery in the same orientation. Place the fob against the stack of batteries. Push the passenger door handle. There is a significant delay before the car unlocks.

Basically the spot is 1.75" toward the center of the car from the edge of the bracket and 2" up the windshield. A fob will not stay there by itself.

Bighorn | 29. kesäkuu 2020

@murphy
Does it work with dead 9Vs? :)

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Why post if Monday morning quarterbacks are going to attack? NKYTA, feeling good about ourselves, aren't we? Akikiki, I get it. I was hoping to be of some service with my post. I don't even know what an outlier is but sounds like an idiot. This will not happen to me again. I didn't think manufacturers allowed you to lock your key/fob in the car any longer. I believe that is why the prompt says "are you sure?" when you lock or unlock your car." The car locked itself when I exited the car. Should this happen? Hell no. I bought my car with Tesla stock and I still own a lot of it. I love the company and the car. I am an attorney and I help people. I am probably missing something so thanks for... what, I don't know. lol

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Why post if Monday morning quarterbacks are going to attack? NKYTA, feeling good about ourselves, aren't we? Akikiki, I get it. I was hoping to be of some service with my post. I don't even know what an outlier is but sounds like an idiot. This will not happen to me again. I didn't think manufacturers allowed you to lock your key/fob in the car any longer. I believe that is why the prompt says "are you sure?" when you lock or unlock your car." The car locked itself when I exited the car. Should this happen? Hell no. I bought my car with Tesla stock and I still own a lot of it. I love the company and the car. I am an attorney and I help people. I am probably missing something so thanks for... what, I don't know. lol

Bighorn | 29. kesäkuu 2020

The same can happen in the S if the fob is too close to your phone, either in the car or in your pocket. I assume similar interference can happen in the 3 with the key card and a phone. I had the door blow shut a few times on my trip this past weekend with both inside and I said a little prayer each time that I wasn’t locked out. I’ve also heard stories of cars needing to be pushed/towed in order to pick up a signal from the phone via 3G. Met a guy a couple weeks ago who was using his phone as a key on his 3 and hadn’t packed his key card for his cross country trip, and he drove off after leaving his phone on the roof at a supercharger stop. He fortunately found it and collected it safely from a highway on-ramp.

murphyS90D | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Yes @Bighorn it works with dead 9 volt batteries ;)

I can make a cardboard template to position the fob.

The problem is how to make the template available when the car is locked.

akikiki | 29. kesäkuu 2020

wow, you think that was an attack?

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Hah. Probably not. I do want to know though why my car locked itself when I closed the door.

tes-s | 29. kesäkuu 2020

If you really want to know, try to replicate the lockout.

akikiki | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Sometimes the doors do lock. Sometimes the just retract and are not locked. Sometimes when the fob is inside, the doors lock and believe it or not, you can still open the truck - its not locked.

We don't know if your handles retracted and the door was not locked. Sometimes a slight touch is not enough, you must touch and hold for it to take effect. Sometimes you can get help here. Tesla does not participate and give us the why it does what it does. We usually know the what happens - when, but not the why.

I'm confident you are going to say it was locked. I am not going to dispute you. Maybe it was. Cause could be electrical line interference overhead - that happens. Could be the battery in the fob is weak and weak enough that the signal could not unlock the door. Could be a brand new car and brand new fob, even the battery could be from a brand new package, and still be a weak battery. None of us know the history or how long it sat on the shelf before used.

We usually provide the help we can from our own personal experiences. The good news? We don't charge, so anyone can be happy or unhappy with our advice and comments.

I don't understand why you leave the fob in the car but use the phone to unlock the car. No one recommended to you to not leave the keys in the car? Or they might have said it and you didn't hear it?

Not you, but a least one family reported their car was stolen while they were visiting friends. They drove it and left it inside the car. Had they decided to show the car off to the friends, they likely would not have known it was gone on a three hour joyride. They used the app to locate the car and the cops found the car. They had left the fob in the car. Not a good idea, no matter who tells you.

We are just throwing out some scenarios and ideas to a relatively new owner. I'm not talking about your just passed situation. This is a question for now. You don't need to answer What would you do if your car is locked and you lose or someone steals your smartphone? What would you do? Seriously, this is a test now. What would you do?

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

On hold with Tesla now. I really do appreciate the help and suggestions. The car was definitely locked. I tried everything for 45 minutes. Truck, doors, locked. Mirrors folded in. The question. I would use my spare fob and/or call Tesla and hope that they could remotely unlock it. Just a thing about me: They would have to also take my hand to steal my smartphone. lol. I suppose I could lose it though. Live and learn

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

On hold with Tesla now. I really do appreciate the help and suggestions. The car was definitely locked. I tried everything for 45 minutes. Truck, doors, locked. Mirrors folded in. The question. I would use my spare fob and/or call Tesla and hope that they could remotely unlock it. Just a thing about me: They would have to also take my hand to steal my smartphone. lol. I suppose I could lose it though. Live and learn

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Don't push the SAVE button twice. You have all learned too much about me.

barrykmd | 29. kesäkuu 2020

All my pants have pockets. That's where the fob stays.

murphyS90D | 29. kesäkuu 2020

You seem to not have seen my comment about radio transmitters. Any mountain is likely to have an installation of radio transmitters at the top. If their combined power output is enough to block the fob receiver in the car the fob will stop working and the car won't know that it is there.

mblons | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Perfect storm, pilot error. Be well.

GHammer | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Mt Wilson in the San Gabrials is notorious for radio interference blocking fob signals.

akikiki | 29. kesäkuu 2020

Mr. mblons, I am not hassling you. This is sort of a reminder to others that are reading. Lose your phone while your car is locked? Its not a guarantee of solving the problem, but its hints on how to get the cart up out of the ditch.

Flag down a stranger, ask to borrow their smartphone. Ask if you can download an app. Download the Tesla app and login and unlock your car. You can also start the car and drive. Before you hand the phone back, delete the app you installed, or at least log out. Get home, change your password. No smart phone? Call you wife or someone you trust, ask them to open the Tesla app on their phone and unlock it, start it and don't stop for snacks and beer until you are home. And if you can get to a 7-11, buy a burner, activate it and use. Don't give up the fight until the last bail of hay in the barn is burned up.

You should also know, if the SC has to work on your fob, they need both. When the program the car to the fob, they need both fobs. You may have a weak battery, I would change it.

And it might help to know. the car is on at&t's cell network. (One day, I believe it will be on Starlink's cell network, but that's another thread.) So when the car's on at&t's network it could lose signal but your Verizon or Sprint phone could have service. Maybe the car won't connect to cell service.

Was that helpful info?

Captain_Zap | 30. kesäkuu 2020

We need to visit this reminder more frequently. Never leaving the fob in the car was one of the top topics in 2012 and 2013 along with advisories about unusual circumstances that could mimic the situation. Repetition, re-bumped posts and modifications to the system made the problem less frequent but there isn't a built-in perfect solution yet. Common knowledge seems to become less common as time slips by and as updates are made to the car.

New owners need to know the secret spot that is used to starting up the car with a weak or dead fob too. It should still be in the owner's manual if it hasn't changed in newer models.

I have had my fobs fail intermittently or experienced very short range with fresh fob batteries that tested as full voltage. I don't understand the change in performance with an old fob that was lovingly tucked away. I assumed that it was a software update or antenna issue that caused the problem but the situation was improved slightly with new fobs. If a fob needs replacement, take in both!

Old school is sometimes best. Print out mission critical tips (like reboots, jumps, lockout info and emergency numbers) and keep them in your glovebox or logbook. Dead cellphones, forgotten charger adapters or a lack of cell service seems to coincide with incidents. Murphy's law.

Use that pocket in front of the driver's seat for an old fashioned paper map if you are an explorer. I lose cell service all the time due to hilly terrain. AT&T does seem to have the coverage for service for in all the areas I have travelled. My cell phones have always lost connection long before the car does.

mblons | 30. kesäkuu 2020

Thanks for all the comments and help. Bottom line for me.. is just stay home. I'm obviously kidding. I still get a warmth and a smile every time I sit down in my car. I'll keep the fob in my pocket now and hopefully this will act as a reminder for others to do the same.

Aerodyne | 30. kesäkuu 2020

Here is a tip I use...put the key card, or Fob, on a neck lanyard. Place Fob or Card in shirt pocket if needed.

Much harder to forget, keeps your pockets open for other things.

sirbil | 02. heinäkuu 2020

About six weeks ago shortly after I got my model S. I drove up to Mount Wilson. Mount Wilson has many microwave displays and satellite dishes. It's used as a relay station for most of the broadcasters. After a leisurely walking around we returned to the car and it wouldn't open. I tried the front windscreen where the manual suggests placing the fob. That didn't work. I met a Park Ranger who is well aware of the Tesla issues and try to help me by placing the fob all over the place. No luck. Then he called on an engineer who works at the Mount Wilson observatory who knew exactly what to do. He put the fob on the year window on the top line of the antenna near the left side of the car. The car opened!!

I wish Tesla would have some failsafe way of getting into the car under certain circumstances.

akikiki | 02. heinäkuu 2020

They do have a failsafe plan, but the flaw is the car is still purchased by humans.