Tesla is consistently at the cutting edge of automotive innovation, as the leader in electric vehicle technology and development of safety-enhancing tech. One of the most recently-introduced features for vehicle security is Valet Mode. Here’s an overview of what Valet Mode is and how and why to use it.
What is Tesla’s Valet Mode? Valet Mode is a feature designed to be used when valeting your Tesla. When enabled, the Tesla will have a maximum top speed, reduced acceleration power, locked glove box and front trunk, and hidden personal information on the touchscreen.
Valet Mode is a feature that has been recently introduced in many different manufacturers’ lineups. As stories emerge of valets taking customers’ vehicles for joy rides, people want greater protections not only for their vehicles, but the belongings stored inside. Valet Mode offers just that, so here’s a synopsis on how and why you should use it.
What is Tesla’s Valet Mode?
There are a lot of different definitions and contexts when discussing exactly what the term “Tesla Valet” actually means: There is Tesla Valet Mode, Tesla Valet Service, Tesla Supercharger Valet Service, and Tesla Luxe On-Demand Valet… it’s easy to get lost in all of these nearly-identical terms! There are distinctions, though, and that is that Valet Mode is activated by the driver, rather than a service provided at a supercharger.
With Tesla Valet Mode, the security of your vehicle and valuables is priority: Certain features are disabled, others are limited, and personal storage compartments are locked. The only way to disable, or override, Valet Mode is with the 4-digit PIN you set yourself.
Some of the key functions of Valet Mode are:
- Locking the glove box
- Locking the front trunk
- Limiting the maximum speed and acceleration
- Hiding personal information that would typically be shown on the driver profile and navigation
A brief overview of the differences between the aforementioned terms are as follows:
- Tesla Valet Mode: The feature built into every Tesla, to be used as a safety precaution when handing your Tesla off to a valet attendant.
- Tesla Valet Service: Tesla used to offer valet service for customers having their vehicles serviced at Tesla centers. It was once complimentary, then Tesla began charging for it, and now the service has abruptly ended in many areas.
- Tesla Supercharger Valet Service: This was created in recognition of the increasing crowding at Tesla charging stations. There have been new charging stations opened up with attendants to improve the drivers’ experience at charging stations. However, it’s not exactly a “valet” service, since the attendants don’t actually drive the car or take the keys. Customer experience has contested this, though, but visit your nearest Supercharger to find out for yourself.
- Tesla On-Demand Valet: This service is offered in partnership with Luxe for Tesla owners in New York and San Francisco, mainly to address problems regarding charging and parking.
How to Use Tesla Valet Mode
Tesla’s Valet Mode came about as a direct answer to customer concerns regarding the safety and security of their items in the context of receiving valet services. It was first introduced in the Model S back in 2015. It’s been improved over the years, and now comes standard in every Tesla.
Enabling Valet Mode
Activation of Valet Mode is completely at your discretion. To activate Valet Mode, you need to access your driver profile. Click on the driver profile icon, and there will be a list of profiles displayed, along with the “Valet Mode” option. The first time you activate this mode, you will have to create a 4-digit PIN (this PIN will also be used to disable the mode). It can only be activated or disabled while in Park.
Once enabled, you will see the user profile set to “Valet” at the top and center of the touchscreen display. The display will also indicate that the vehicle has limited power, speed, and some disabled functions of the navigation system (i.e., hidden search results such as home address) to make clear to the driver that Valet Mode is activated.
Functions of Valet Mode
The main functions of Valet Mode are to enhance protections of privacy for the driver, both in personal information and physical goods that may be stored in the vehicle. Regarding Privacy, the key functions that are disabled include:
- Homelink access
- Bluetooth and WiFi settings
- Driver profile information
- Favorite saved locations (i.e. home and work addresses)
- Past charging locations
- Ability to edit various settings
One of the major points to remember is to avoid leaving your phone in the car when Valet Mode is activated. By default, Tesla limits access to calendar data and phone contacts if your Bluetooth device is not near. Leaving your phone in the car during Valet Mode may contradict this personal security purpose and incidentally leave this information available.
The performance of the vehicle is limited during Valet Mode out of concern for the driving habits of valet workers while operating your vehicle. Some Tesla owners are concerned with the welfare of their vehicle in someone else’s hands, and that’s where performance limitations come in:
The maximum speed will be limited to 70 mph, while the power and acceleration are limited to “Chill” mode. This said, you should note that Valet Mode is not exclusive to circumstances in which you’re using valet services: if you’re concerned about an individual borrowing your car, perhaps, this could be a good way to ensure safe driving and security of information.
Disabling Valet Mode
To turn off Valet Mode, put the Tesla in park, then simply need to select “Valet Mode” from the top and center of the LCD display. When you select this, a number pad will open for you to enter your PIN. Enter your PIN, and Valet Mode will be disengaged.
With the mobile app, the process of deactivating Valet Mode is even easier. Once in the app, you can simply choose “Security” and hit the toggle next to Valet Mode to turn it off.
Keep in mind, the vehicle must be in Park to deactivate Valet Mode with either method.
Which Tesla Models Have Valet Mode?
All Tesla models come with Valet Mode as a standard feature.
This includes all new, and used, Teslas on the road today.
With over-the-air software updates, you can be assured all Tesla models will have the most up-to-date version of Valet Mode.
Does Tesla Valet Mode Use a Physical Key?
Although you will need to give the valet attendant your physical Tesla key so they can access and drive the vehicle, this has nothing to do with Valet Mode itself.
Activating, and deactivating, Valet Mode is done either through the touchscreen or via the Tesla mobile app.
Simply activate Valet Mode before getting out of your Tesla at the valet stand, and then hand over the physical key card. Once you get your Tesla back at the end of the night, and they hand your physical key card back, you can get in your Tesla and deactivate Valet Mode and continue as normal.
Can You Charge Tesla in Valet Mode?
Yes, you can still charge a Tesla when in Valet Mode.
This is very useful when the venue you are valeting your Tesla at has destination chargers on-site. You’ll pick up a nice bit of charge, all while resting assured that your Tesla is in Valet Mode.
Can You Summon a Tesla in Valet Mode?
No, Teslas cannot use Smart Summon while in Valet Mode.
However, if your vehicle is parked in Valet Mode, you can deactivate Valet Mode from your Tesla mobile app, and then use Smart Summon.
Driving With Tesla’s Valet Mode
In recent years, there have been reports of valet staff taking customers’ vehicles on joy rides and even intentional abuse by mechanics to charge more for repairs. To combat this and secure the customer experience during valet, routine maintenance, and the like, Tesla introduced the limitations on driving speeds with Valet Mode.
As previously mentioned, this function sets a maximum speed of 70 mph and acceleration to “Chill” mode. Check out this demonstration of the Tesla driving in Valet Mode. (Note: Tesla is still very responsive to the accelerator and brake, despite speed limitations.)
There is now also a Tesla feature called Speed Limit Mode. This enables the driver to set a custom maximum speed limit.
When setting this for the first time, you’ll have to do it from the Teslas touchscreen. After that, you can simply turn it on from the touchscreen or from the Tesla mobile app.
The great thing about this app is that you can set this limit without having to be in Valet Mode!
Perfect for those who have licensed teens who you want to protect, but still give them full access to the vehicle’s functionality.
How to Set Speed Limit Mode in Tesla?
To set Speed Limit Mode:
- Click “Controls”
- Click ”Safety”
- Toggle ON “Speed Limit Mode”
- Set a 4-Digit PIN
- Set Maximum Speed
You’ll want to do this from the touchscreen the first time, because the mobile app only allows you to turn the feature on and off, but not change the speed limit itself.
What is the Difference Between “PIN to Drive” and “Valet Mode”?
PIN to Drive is exactly what it sounds like; it allows the driver to require a PIN in order to operate the vehicle. The key difference here is that, with Valet Mode, the PIN is needed only to activate and deactivate the security features that alter the limitations of vehicle operation – not inhibit vehicle operation altogether.
PIN to Drive, on the other hand, completely removes the ability to drive the vehicle without entering the correct PIN.
Problems With Valet Mode
There are few issues that can come about with Tesla’s valet mode. A major contributing factor to these potential problems is any problem that may arise with the PIN. In order to activate Valet Mode, you will first need to set up a PIN number. Now, this will only be required the first time you activate it – from then on. You will use that same PIN for activation and deactivation of Valet Mode.
What if you Forget Your Tesla PIN?
If you ever forget your PIN, you can reset it by using “My Tesla” on tesla.com. A quick fix to deactivate Valet Mode if you forgot your PIN, is to use the Tesla mobile app to turn off Valet Mode because it does not require the PIN to be entered.
Still, a few customers have reported having issues with Valet Mode, particularly with disabling the function. One Tesla owner shared that they have experienced a complete failure of their Tesla to disable valet mode. The person noted that they tried multiple methods of disabling the feature after the app would not allow deactivation: they deleted and re-downloaded the app and restarted the phone.
Most of the time, these issues are caused from forgetting the PIN, or the vehicle not being in Park.
Hopefully this article has been helpful, and you can feel confident using Valet Mode in the future!