Yikes! I locked my keys I the car!

Yikes! I locked my keys I the car!

End of the day, looking forward to my drive home, I threw my bag with the key in it into the back end of the Model S. Closed the tailgate and the car, set to lock when you walk away, locked. My wife had to come bring the second key. I still had my big Tesla grin, however. I love how the car just locks when you walk away, and I have already gotten to assume my other cars do this. Just be careful.

sergiyz | October 30, 2012

You can disable it (I did on mine).
It's under Controls -> Settings.

Xfrank | October 30, 2012

I don’t understand why the car locked himself while the key is still inside.
when I close my car and throw the key in the trunk, and close then the trunk. the car detect the key inside en opens again the trunk (jaguar XF)
I think Tesla have the possibility to do this also.

sergiyz | October 30, 2012


If you have a remote in your pocket, it will let you lock with the second remote still in the car.
Both Jags and Infinitis do that.
The problem with Tesla is that it will let you leave the key in the car and still auto-lock (time-based?).
This is a bug, they shouldn't do it unless you press the button on the second remote.
There's no auto-lock on XF from what I can remember (just traded my in for the S ;)

Volker.Berlin | October 30, 2012

Rod and Barbara had the exact same experience, which has been documented and discussed in quite some detail here:

Xfrank | October 30, 2012

@sergiyz: I also will change my XF for the model S(P1332 EU)I hope I will have them before my 50the birthday (2 September 2013)

Slindell | October 30, 2012

Unless you plan to kidnap a Model S owner by putting them in the truck with the remote still in their pocket, I don't consider this a bug.

Sudre_ | October 30, 2012

There are going to be many times when my wife is going to leave her purse in the glove box, frunk or back with the key fob in it. I would expect to be able to lock the car with my fob... heck I would expect it to lock automatically if that's an option (which it sounds like it is)
Maybe I will understand why this seems to happen so much once I get mine. Can I borrow a car for a week? :-)

GoTeslaChicago | October 30, 2012

Depending (a little) on the price, I expect to get a 3rd key fob to keep somewhere as a back up in case something happens with the other 2.

Possible scenario: I'm out of town, my wife loses hers. I'm sure you can think of many more.

tranhv68 | October 30, 2012

My 2009 Nissan GTR does not let me lock the keys in the trunk. When you try to shut the trunk, if it senses the fob in the trunk it will not close. My 2012 Nissan Leaf does the same thing. This is a software issue that needs to be at the top of Tesla's punch list so people can't lock themselves out of their cars.

bfranks273 | October 30, 2012

Here's a different but related story for you. My wife locked the key in the car also, it was in her bag on the passenger seat. That seems odd. I came home and opened it with mine. First odd thing we noticed that (with mine out of range) the car handles would come out when pressed, but when pulled would not open the door! When we had the door opened she investigated and had an idea. Her bag was large and she had her Mac AirBook and her iPad laying in the bag on top of stuff including the key. She only removed the Mac and iPad and otherwise left the bag and then the car saw the key and would not lock and played nice. The aluminum body of the Mac over the key shielded it.

The delivery person right off the bat recommended the key be placed in the cup holder. Did others get that recommendation? The sensors must be tuned for that. But reality is that mine will be in my pocket and usually will work just fine. Hers will be in the purse. The purse/bag can go anywhere. More sensors in front and back of the car?

I have it: Microchip in the wrist! Not only can you get into your car, but if you get lost your vet can reunite you with your owner!

Dr. Bob Reinke | October 30, 2012

We ordered a third key-fob to keep in the bedroom safe so if one of us locks ourself out and the other is out of town--a ride from a friend or taxi can get us to the third key. We think this is a lot easyer than waiting for hours for a Tesla Ranger.

Rod and Barbara | October 30, 2012

FYI, Tesla is capable of unlocking the car remotely. Not sure what their policy is on actually using this capability though.

Beaker | October 30, 2012

bfranks273 "Microchip in the wrist! Not only can you get into your car, but if you get lost your vet can reunite you with your owner!"

Great idea :)

MandL | October 31, 2012

Let's hope they make unlocking a function of the phone app too.

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2012

MandL +1

With the unlocking function in the phone app, we won't need those $325.00 emergency key fobs in our bedroom safes. I expect that the features of the smartphone app will be replicated on the My Tesla website. Thus, even if we lock our key fob and our smart phone inside the car, we could still just go through the website -- or download the app to a friend's smart phone and log in from there.

Welcome to the future! :-)

Superliner | October 31, 2012

It's too bad you don't have the option to unlock the vehicle remotely over the air, the thing is internet connected they are able to do this with General Motors vehicles via on star. you think test what would have thought of that.

Superliner | October 31, 2012

* Tesla

Volker.Berlin | October 31, 2012

Superliner, they did think of it. Tesla remotely unlocked Rod and Barbara's car once, so it does work.

Teoatawki | October 31, 2012

I'm assuming the emergency fail safe unlock spot at the wheel well uses RFID, since it works when the fob's battery is dead. Tesla could provide a waterproof plastic card with embedded RFID tag you could have in your wallet for emergencies. This would also solve the problem of a day of scuba diving or surfing, since all you'd need is the card in your gear or suit.

TikiMan | October 31, 2012

My 2003 Nissan Murano will do the same thing. It auto-locks after three mins. I have just gotten use to always having my keys / fobs with me at all times when I am out, and when I am home, they sit in a dead-bolt lock.

Ever since I was sixteen, I have gotten in the habbit of always making sure I have a wallet in my back pocket, and keys in my right pocket, and staring in the mid-1990's, a cell phone in my left pocket was added to that routine. They all have a place they go when I get home (which is the first thing I do). Having a little OCD has its benifits ;-)

suegie | October 31, 2012

My 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid won't let me lock my fob in the car...I can't believe this Model S would ever let that happen.

BYT | October 31, 2012

I never keep a wallet in my back pockets! Keys and wallet in front left and cell in the front right pocket. Back pockets have a hard enough time keeping my caboose in line.

Volker.Berlin | November 1, 2012

I'm assuming the emergency fail safe unlock spot at the wheel well uses RFID, since it works when the fob's battery is dead. Tesla could provide a waterproof plastic card with embedded RFID tag you could have in your wallet for emergencies. This would also solve the problem of a day of scuba diving or surfing, since all you'd need is the card in your gear or suit. (Teoatawki)


Loosely related:

Delete Me Knapp | November 1, 2012

My wife also locked herself out. In our case the key was right in the cupholder but wasn't detected.

I turned off autolock for a while but I left the car unlocked accidentally because it didn't sense my lock instruction and I thought I saw the lights flash locked. So I turned it back on.

Now I just always carry both keys.

Xfrank | November 3, 2012

What happens when the battery of the key is empty, or there is something else wrong with the key?
Is there a second, manual possibility to open the car and drive the car?

nickjhowe | November 3, 2012

You put the key in the rear wheel well. It is documented in the user guide.

gocken1 | November 3, 2012

I believe the user guide now says to put the key on the front windshield.

DomandMai | December 1, 2012

I locked my car keys in the trunk twice already in 1.5 months. The first time my wife had to bring me the spare key from home. About a week ago I did the same thing again, but by this time Tesla had the capability of unlocking your car remotely. On a good note I notice that with the new software update, version 40 the car does not lock with the key in the trunk.

Brian H | December 1, 2012

Without the default of locking the car, anyone could get in and drive away if you left the fob inside the cabin.

gooshjkc | December 2, 2012

I'll be getting my Model S in a few months, I hope TMC will take care of this immediately. I don't make it a habit of leaving my keys in the car, but it has happened. A car should never lock when the key is in the car unless the button is pressed by the driver or passenger. I understand this car is far different then ICE vehicles and things need to worked differently but this is something that should not be. Maybe usage of the butt sensor should be incorporated (ie if someone is on the driver or passenger side it can lock, but when no one is on them the car not lock if the key fob is sensed anywhere inside the car)

Klaus | December 3, 2012

What's with the paranoia? I grab the fob from the key box in our laundry room on my way out to the car, stick it in my pocket and leave it there until I return home. The car unlocks with a touch of the door handle, the rear hatch opens without using the fob directly and even if I have to open the frunk from outside the car, press, press, and the fob is back in my pocket. In fact, I will ocassionaly activate some opening or other without ever taking my hand out of my pocket. My David Copperfield impression for the onlookers.