Included with Tesla Model S, Model X, and available as an option for Model 3, the Tesla key fob is a mini version of the vehicle it pairs with. The sleek, smooth fob has no rubber buttons and is powered by a type CR2032 battery. According to Tesla in the Model 3 owner’s manual, the fob battery should last 5 years “under normal use.” In my experience, that number is more like 3 years.
If you start to notice a lag in opening your doors upon approach, have to press buttons more than once, or just plain see a warning that it’s time to replace the battery, you can do so yourself in under five minutes. No service appointment necessary.
To replace the battery first be sure you have a replacement that is the required type CR2032. It’s not a bad idea to buy spares before you need them. Then, gather up the rest of your supplies.
For this, you will need your key fob, a replacement battery, and a small, flat head screwdriver.
Next, turn the fob upside down, so that the “buttons” (soft area of the fob that can be pressed) – is facing down. Tesla recommends doing this step on a soft surface.
Release the bottom cover by using your small screw driver to pry up the cover from the small space in approximately the center of the fob (for Model S, pictured) or the edge of the fob (for Model 3). Take note of the positioning of the cover, ideally placing it down on your surface in the same orientation it will be upon replacement.
Carefully remove the battery from its retaining clip, taking note of the + side of the battery, which should be facing up.
Insert the new battery in the same place, with the same orientation (+ side up) as the one you just removed.
Replace the cover by aligning it at an angle and placing the side of the cover that goes toward the middle of the fob into its place and pressing firmly down on the edge side of the cover (for Model S.) Replace the cover of a Model 3 fob by holding the cover at an angle and aligning the tabs on the widest side of the cover with the corresponding slots on the key fob, then pressing the cover firmly into the fob until it snaps into place.
You’ve just completed one of the few items of “routine maintenance” needed for an electric vehicle!