Unlike other cars that have a physical key, all Tesla models come with only a key card that is used to lock and lock the Tesla. So if you’re new to Tesla, you may be wondering, how on earth do you lock or unlock your Tesla?

There are 4 ways, two are free, and two are paid.

1) Tesla Key Card

To lock or unlock your car, place the keycard about halfway up between the middle pillar, on the drivers side. It can’t be too far up or down, otherwise the Tesla won’t detect it.

 It’s located in the middle, between the camera and the window trim. To lock the car, place the keycard on the same location. 


tesla key card
Tesla Key Card (provided)
tesla key card location
Tap Key Card on Middle Pillar

Now, how do you start the car?

Once the car is unlocked,  put your foot on the brake and you’ll be able to drive IF you are quick enough

If you wait 2 minutes or more, you will then have to verify you still have the keycard.  Place the keycard in front of the center console. Once it detects the keycard, you can put your foot on the pedals and drive. 

You can place the keycard anywhere afterwards. It does not have to remain on the center console to drive. 

tesla key card start car
Place Keycard on Center Console to Drive

2) Tesla Phone Key

You can also manually lock or unlock the car through the Tesla phone app.

To set it up, you need your Tesla key card and your email address tesla login that is associated with the car.

  1. Download the Tesla phone app on your phone. 
  2. On your Tesla screen, go to “Locks”, click “+” to add your phone key. 
  3. Place the Tesla key card on the center console.
  4. Now your phone is a key and after you can link it to a specific driver profile so you can save your driver settings by pressing the little man.
tesla phone key set up
After downloading Tesla phone App, click Set up Phone Key
tesla phone key set up
Locks -> + -> Add Phone Key

This is an aftermarket ring that functions like a Tesla key card. It comes in a wood or ceramic finish. For my full review, see this blog post

Costs: $119 – $179 USD  

  • For 5% off, purchase via my Affiliate Link  
  • Note- I am an affiliate, so I do earn a small commission if you purchase using my code, with no additional cost to you. It also helps support the blog!

What I love about the ring is that it’s waterproof and doesn’t need charging. However, they do warn to not wear it while working out and with detergents, as it can peel off the coating.

tesla ring cnick ceramic black
Tesla Ring
tesla ring unlock car
Lock & Unlock Tesla

To lock or unlock the Tesla,  fist-bump your Tesla halfway up between the middle pillar and the door locks/unlocks. 

To start the Tesla, place your knuckle on the center console, behind the cupholders. 

Overall, I’m a fan of the ring because now I don’t have worry about losing my key card and the ring looks nice, too.

tesla ring start car
Place Ring over Center Console to Start Tesla

4) Tesla Key Fob

The Tesla Key Fob used to come with the purchase of a Model X or S, however that is no longer the case. If you want a Tesla key fob, you’ll have to purchase it separately

The Tesla Key Fob, has hidden buttons on the fob that allows you to lock/unlock the Tesla, open the frunk/trunk, and open the charge port.  You can also use the Key Fob for Summon, if you have the full self driving package. 

Cost: $175 USD on Tesla Website 

I created another blog post with further details on the Tesla key fob that you can check out.


The opinions and views expressed on this blog are solely personal, Everyday Chris.  Everyday Chris is not affiliated with or endorsed by Tesla. It is neither inferred nor implied that products recommended by Everyday Chris nor recommendations given by Everyday Chris are authorized by or in any way connected to Tesla. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full Terms & Conditions for more information.

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