Tesla Dead Key Fob or Mobile Phone Help: Part II, Getting Started

Starting Your Tesla Model S or Model X

The start process is the same in these first two models. However, this will take patience, so please stay with it.

In general, the key fob needs to be placed in proximity of the front of the center console in order to be recognized by the car. Note that the instrument panel will be active with the message “Key Not Inside” displayed. The owner’s manuals give multiple spots and methods to try.


Like the unlock process, it will take several seconds for the car to recognize the fob. Once it does, the “Key not Inside” message will disappear.

Tesla back up start There are three basic locations to try, as shown in the image (you might just as well skip to the last one). The first, top to bottom, is to simply drop the key fob into the cup holder. If this fails, hold the key fob against the front of the console, as we are doing in the image (second). There are several places that can be tried in this case alone.

The third is to place the fob below the twelve volt outlet near the bottom of the console, as shown by the third arrow.

Tesla back up start 2If all these fail, the next recommendation is to remove the battery from the fob and run through the options again. As it happens, this is exactly what we had to do with the Model X we had and we landed at the base of the console before the car recognized the fob. That location, with the key fob resting in place, is shown in the second image. The fob was recognized at last and we were able to operate the car.

Starting you Model 3

The Model 3 relies exclusively on a mobile app for entry and start. There is no key fob available. A credit card size key card is provided as back up to get the car to respond to touching the brake, which is its signal to become drivable. Keep the card with you at all ties!

Model 3 startIf your mobile phone has gone dead or is missing, place the key card on the center console behind and between the two cup holders. The car will recognize the card and will allow it to be driven.

There is some video help here.

… Return to Part 1, Getting In


* Keep these instructions with you in our Dead Key FOB App. Search “Dead Key FOB” at your device’s store or click here.



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