How to Unlock a Tesla Without Your Phone or Key Card

How to Unlock a Tesla Without Your Phone or Key Card

You’ve been out with friends all evening and now that the night is through, and everyone’s ready to leave, you remember that you didn’t charge your phone last night. You usually use the phone app to unlock the car. And you have a model that didn’t come with a key fob. So, what do you do?

If you get locked out of a Tesla without a phone or key card, you have 3 options:

  1. Log Into Your Tesla App on Someone Else’s Phone
  2. Call Tesla Roadside Assistance at 877-798-3752
  3. Use a Backup Battery Phone Charger

Don’t panic if you get locked out of your Tesla without a key card or smartphone. Here are 3 options to get back into your Tesla quickly. 

» MORE: Tesla Model 3 Not Connecting to Cell Phone [How To Fix It]

Unlocking Your Tesla Without Your Phone or Key Card

So you’re locked out of your Tesla without your phone, and you don’t have your physical Tesla key card with you. Here’s what to do:

1. Borrow Someone’s Smartphone

  1. Download the Tesla Smartphone App to a friends phone
  2. Log in with your username and password
  3. Click “Controls”
  4. Click “Start”
remote starting tesla model 3 from tesla app

This will “remote start” your Tesla, and unlock the doors for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, the doors will lock again as a safety precaution.

Once you’re in your Tesla, it will stay active until you park it and get out (hopefully at home). You do not need to bring the friends phone with you in the Tesla to drive.

This will work in an emergency, but it’s definitely a temporary solution because your friend now has access to your Tesla! It’s recommended to change your Tesla password after using this method, just to be safe.

» MORE: Tesla Charge Port Won’t Open? Here’s What To Do

2. Call Tesla Roadside Assistance

All Teslas come with 24/7 Tesla Roadside Assistance at 877-798-3752.

This service is 100% free during your Teslas warranty. Tesla Warranty duration:

  • New Tesla: 4 Years or 50,000 miles
  • Used Tesla: Remainder of 4 Years or 50,000 miles, or additional 1 Year or 10,000 miles from purchase date

Once you walk through a verification process with one of the representatives, they will be able to remotely unlock and start your car for you.

If you need Tesla Roadside Assistance in the future, you can also access it through your Tesla Smartphone App.

Tesla Roadside Assistance covers:

  • Lockouts
  • Flat Tires
  • Towing
  • Battery Ran Out of Charge

» MORE: Tesla Model 3 Can’t Find WiFi? [How To Fix It]

3. Use a Backup Battery Phone Charger

It’s becoming more and more common to carry a small portable phone charger. If you, or one of your friends, has one of these handy, you are in luck! If not, maybe a local shop may have a charger handy.

Simply plug your phone in for a few minutes, just to get enough charge to turn your phone on and access your Tesla Smartphone App, and you’re good to go. Either use “remote start” and enter within 2 minutes, or simply walk up and enter to your Tesla as normal.

This will get you into your Tesla and allow you to start driving.

Once in your Tesla, you can plug your phone into your Teslas phone charging ports to keep your phone charging.

If you get into your Tesla but don’t have a charging cable to continue charging, don’t panic. Even if your phone battery dies while driving, the Tesla will still allow you to keep driving until you park and get out.

In fact, if your phone battery dies while driving, the Tesla will stay unlocked even when you park and get out because your phones bluetooth has disconnected from the car. Keep this in mind when you get home and park your Tesla!

» MORE: Tesla Not Charging? Here’s What to Do

How Keyless Entry Works on a Tesla (Under Normal Circumstances)

Under normal circumstances, there are 3 ways to lock and unlock your Tesla:

1. Tesla Key Card

This works the same way most hotel room keys work. To use your key card to unlock your vehicle, simply tap it on the window frame of the driver’s door, and your door will magically unlock.

It’s always good practice to keep your Tesla key card in your wallet or purse with the other items you keep with you at all times. Having it as a backup may just save the day.

Another new idea to the market are wedding rings that have a built-in Tesla NFC chip that you can program as another key card. These need to be setup once, and never need to be charged. Reviews are hard to find beyond Amazon, but those who have one seem to love it.

2. Tesla Smartphone App

Because your car is equipped with Bluetooth functionality, you will be able to communicate with your Tesla via your smartphone. To do this, you will first need to complete the 3-step process:

  • Download the Tesla Smartphone App from your smartphones app store 
  • Sign into your Tesla account using your username and password for your account
  • Use your Tesla key card to go add your smartphone as a “phone key” on the cars touchscreen

3. Tesla Key Fob

If you prefer the more traditional physical key option, you can purchase a Tesla key fob. This works the same way as most key fobs nowadays, and it looks like a mini Tesla (which is actually pretty neat).


Hopefully this article gets you back into your Tesla quickly, and home safely. It may be a good idea to buy a cheap portable phone charger, with a built-in charger cable to use it, so that you can “save yourself” in the event you get locked out of your Tesla with a dead smartphone battery.

Tesla Discounts:


The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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