One of Tesla Model 3’s most progressive features is its Self-Presenting Doors. These doors open and close automatically without having to pull a handle or use a traditional car key or key fob.

Opening the doors requires a key card that comes with the Tesla or a mobile application, which works simply by approaching the vehicle. While the key fob is not a standard feature of the Tesla Model 3, it is still available as a back-up accessory sold separately.

Sometimes, your Tesla may not respond to the Key Card’s unlock prompt or the Tesla Mobile App.

Tesla Mobile App Glitches

The key card works using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology that locks and unlocks the door by tapping near the RFID transmitter on the side of the car. By authenticating the phone using the Key Card, you can use the smartphone app to open the doors. Through Bluetooth, it locks and unlocks the vehicle every time the verified smartphone is within the radius of the car’s Bluetooth signal.

But like all systems, glitches happen now and then. Even Tesla, with its cutting edge systems and advanced Research and Development, has not been spared of glitches. Over the past few months, many owners of the Tesla Model 3 reported that the lock and unlock system fails to work using the mobile application.

Troubleshooting Unlock Glitches

If your Tesla car does not respond to the unlock prompt, there are a couple of ways to troubleshoot the glitch.

It is critical to understand that the key card or the key fob is required to drive the car. You must, therefore, carry the key with you at all times. While it is possible to drive the vehicle without the key, you cannot power it up once the engine is switched off. You will also have to contend with a constant warning from the car dashboard that the key is missing.

Check Off the Checklist

If your phone fails to open the car automatically, you will need to check several items.

First, check that you are currently signed in to your Tesla smartphone mobile application. The unlock feature works when you are logged into the app.

Secondly, check the phone’s settings to ensure that the phone’s Bluetooth functionality is enabled, and the car’s Bluetooth device is paired with the phone’s.

Also, confirm that the smartphone is sufficiently charged. For the automatic door unlock to function, your smartphone must be charged enough to enable the Bluetooth functionality to work.

Besides that, ensure that the “Allow Mobile Access” is enabled in your phone’s settings. To check that access is enabled, look at the security settings and controls on the phone’s menu.

While at it, check that the Tesla application is allowed to run in the background. If this is not the case, the app can only run when launched, which will not open the door of the vehicle.

You also need to have the latest version of the Tesla mobile app. If not, upgrade to the newest version.

If the phone is authenticated, the Bluetooth feature is on, and the security permissions are okay, you may need to check the car’s software settings. In the car’s settings, check that the “walk-up unlock” and “walk away lock” feature is enabled. This allows the unlock system to work automatically when your phone is in close enough range to the car.

Rebooting the Tesla Model 3

If you have checked the car and all the above are in place, you will need to reboot the car’s system. Restarting the car’s system is a basic way to fix the lock/unlock problem and fix other hitches or system bugs you may be experiencing.

To reboot the car’s system, long-press the two scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel simultaneously, until the two display screens of the vehicle shut off. The car’s displays will eventually power back on, and the reboot will have been completed.

If you are still experiencing problems unlocking the Tesla with your phone, try setting up the application on a different smartphone. See how it responds. Some smartphones may have a problem with the Bluetooth feature, which could be too weak to support the car’s unlock functionality.


The Tesla mobile app is linked to the servers at Tesla, meaning that any system challenges affecting the Tesla system will also affect all the Tesla App users. Therefore, you should contact the support team at Tesla to check if the problem is unique to you only.

Always carry your key card with you as a back-up. Having the key card with you will ensure that you will never lock yourself out of your Tesla. Consider, too, that there are circumstances that may be entirely outside your control, including a misplaced phone or unexpected system downtime at Tesla.