How to keep your Tesla from locking at home

The great thing about owning a Tesla is that most of the time, it knows what you want it to do before you even think of it. Want to drive into town, hop out of the car, and go do something exciting? You won’t need to worry about locking your vehicle, so long as you take your key fob, card, or paired phone with you. Similarly, when you walk back up to the car, it will unlock before you even reach it.

All of these features are very convenient… that is, until they aren’t. In the early days, Tesla drivers expressed frustration that they couldn’t leave their car unlocked when it was parked securely at home. When the car is in the garage and you want to go back and forth unloading your shopping—with hands full—you probably don’t want to worry about where your key or phone is.

Ultimately, this is a personal choice, and if you want your car to remain open all night or all weekend within your own private space, that’s completely reasonable. So what did Tesla do? They pushed a software update that allows all owners to teach their car where home is, and whether to lock there or not. But how does this nifty feature work?

How to Show Your Tesla Where Home Is

The function that causes your Tesla’s doors to lock down tight whenever you walk away is logically called the Walk-Away Door Lock. We’ll take a look at this tool and its various features shortly, but first, let’s get straight to how to keep your Tesla from locking at home.

The first thing to do is to tell the car exactly where home is. To do this, you’ll want to visit your car’s navigation system. From here, you can either touch your home location on the map or enter the address into the search bar. Once you’re sure you’ve highlighted the right spot, you can touch Save as Home and you’ll be all set.

This is very similar to the way that you’d save your work location (Save as Work) or favorite a location that you visit a lot. In the case of a favorite, after touching the location on the map, you can then tap the star icon on the popup screen to add that location to your favorites list for later.

In all of these instances, if you ever want to alter or delete a location, find it on your destinations list and touch and hold the entry until an edit screen pops up. You can either make your changes or touch the X to delete the location from your saved list. 

How to Keep Your Tesla From Locking at Home

Having established your home location, you can now change the Walk-Away Door Lock setting for that location. To do this, touch Controls on your dashboard touchscreen, then depending on your Model, select Vehicle or Locks, then Walk-Away Door Lock.

Now you are in the Walk-Away Door Lock settings you will see that a checkbox option has appeared that says Exclude Home. If you ensure that this box is checked, then the car will no longer lock when you walk away with your key fob or key phone, so long as the car correctly identifies the location.

If you discover that your home location isn’t set up quite right—for example, it doesn’t quite cover your secure outdoor parking area—then you can always modify or delete and reapply the Home location entry.

Other Things to Know About the Walk-Away Door Lock

For an added sense of security, you can set your car to make a Lock Confirmation Sound—in addition to the light signal—so you have extra peace of mind that the car has locked successfully. To do this, touch Controls, then Locks, then Lock Confirmation Sound

Alternatively, you can disable the Walk-Away Door Lock feature altogether if you wish to. This will leave you 100% responsible for locking your car at all times. You can disable the auto-locking feature entirely in the Walk-Away Door Lock settings as described above.

It’s also helpful to know that your car won’t lock automatically if you leave a key fob or key phone inside or next to the vehicle. This can be useful information if you and your partner both have a paired mobile device, and one of you leaves their things in the car. To lock your car in these moments, use the padlock-shaped lock icon on the touchscreen—this is the only locking command that will override the presence of a key.

If a paired key remains in close proximity to the car for more than five minutes after the passengers have exited the vehicle, this will also disable the Walk-Away Door Lock feature. Once again, to lock your car securely in these moments, you’ll need to use the padlock-shaped lock icon on the touchscreen. Although, the next time you drive and park, your regular auto-lock settings will be restored.

So, keep track of your keys and remember that you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your car is locked securely—although a Tesla will always do its best to help!