Tip on how to unlock Tesla that is parked out of reception when you have lost all the keys!

Tip on how to unlock Tesla that is parked out of reception when you have lost all the keys!

Wanted to share my story in case it helps anyone else who have locked themselves out of the their Teslas...

Over the weekend I went to mountains. While skiing I lost physical key card (Model 3) and also the only phone with which I can unlock my car. Call it being double unlucky.

First, to unlock my car I tried to login into Tesla app from my friend's phone. While I was able to login into my Tesla account, I was not able to see the car, because the car was parked outside reception. In the Tesla Mobile App I saw error message among the lines "could not establish connection to the car".

Then I called Tesla roadside assistance to see if they could somehow help me. They offered to unlock the car remotely after verifying my identity. However, they encountered the same problem - car was out of reception and they could not ping it. Besides that, they will be able to only unlock the car, not start it. Once this Plan B failed as well, Tesla representative offered to send specialist to come over physically and unlock the car. I told them to hold off because I still had Plan C in my mind...

I asked my friend, who had weak data connection in few nearby spots, to create a WiFi Access Point with exactly the same SSID and Password as my home network to which I had connected my car in the past. The idea was to "trick" the car to connect to the Internet through this Access Point by pretending to be my home WiFi router.

Guess what? The car connected to this Access Point and it immediately became "unlockable" through Tesla App installed on my friend's phone.

I was a little bit worried that my home Access Point might have left some "fingerprints" on the car (like MAC address) and the car would notice this discrepancy and refuse to connect to this WiFi hotspot. But it didn't! Which was exactly what I wanted.

The morale of the story is -
1. try to at least once connect your car to home WiFi network and memorize your SSID and Password, so that you can create WiFi hot spot with same credentials and bring your car back online in case you parked it out of reception.
2. if security is of any concern, then don't connect to random WiFi hostpots with common names like "Default", "FreeWiFi" because someone later may imitate them and trick your car to connect to him (i.e. become man-in-the-middle).
3. make sure your Tesla account password is strong enough and you have memorized it.

DanFoster1 | 19 febbraio 2019

This is brilliant. Thank you for posting this!

RedShift | 19 febbraio 2019

Thanks ansis!

NKYTA | 20 febbraio 2019


EVRider | 21 febbraio 2019

Moral #4: Don't lose your key card and phone at the same time.

ggendel | 21 febbraio 2019

You know the old adage..."Necessity is a Mother"
Well done.

Tesla2018 | 21 febbraio 2019

I would be screwed since I m old. I have no idea of what a WiFi Access Point, SSID or MAC address is.
I access my wifi by going into my room, ssid is my social security number? and Mac address is the address of where an ATM machine network out of Philadelphia is located?

Now can someone help my betamax recorder from flashing 12:00 so I can finally find out who shot JR?

charlesdeanda | 21 febbraio 2019

Curious as to how you drove off.

EVRider | 21 febbraio 2019

@charles: Surprisingly, although you need the key or app to start the car, you don’t need them to drive it. However, once you stop and power off you won’t be able to start again.

tigerkc | 21 febbraio 2019

I thought you need to pair the phone in order to drive but you need the card to pair. Is there another trick to pair the phone?

EVRider | 22 febbraio 2019

@tigerkc: You don’t need to pair the phone to use the Tesla app to control the car — in that case everything is happening via the internet, not Bluetooth. Once you unlock and start the car with the app, you can drive it without a key car or phone key.

carlk | 22 febbraio 2019

Mind does wonderful things when you're forced to use it.

jordanrichard | 22 febbraio 2019

MAnnn if only there was a FOB one could buy to avoid all of this.....................

charlesdeanda | 22 febbraio 2019

Right!!! I forgot the app has a "Start" option under "Controls" section. Good to know. Thanks for sharing!

DermMD | 22 febbraio 2019


VolleyballNE1 | 22 febbraio 2019

Is it true that Tesla can only unlock the car, not start it? They don't have the same "Start" button that our app has?

jolov | 22 febbraio 2019

> to create a WiFi Access Point with exactly the same SSID and Password as my home network

Something similar happened to me a year ago. Wish I had thought of this!