How to lock a Tesla when walking away

One of the great joys of owning a Tesla is that it doesn’t do things the way the average vehicle might. It’s got an impressive array of automatic features, making life far more convenient for the driver. However, that does mean that getting acquainted with your new car means mastering how these features work.

A Tesla is a car that’s bound to grab attention wherever you drive or park it, so it’s only logical that you’ll want to feel confident it locks securely when unattended. If you’ve been wondering how to lock your Tesla before walking away, then look no further. Today, we’ll cover how the automatic locking feature works and a few more need-to-knows for total peace of mind when parking.

The Convenience of the Walk-Away Door Lock

There’s great comfort in knowing that all Tesla models lock automatically whenever you walk away. This is because the car detects that your paired key fob or phone key is no longer in range. Of course, this comes with the caveat that if you leave your key in the car, it won’t lock behind you. So do be mindful of that one!

You can disable the Walk-Away Door Lock if you want to by hitting Controls on the dashboard touchscreen, then Vehicle, and then Walk-Away Door Lock. Although, this will make it far easier for you to forget to lock your car at a crucial moment, which is of course something better avoided. You can also set your car to only stay unlocked when parked at home.

How to Lock Tesla When Walking Away If Auto-lock Is Disabled

If your Walk-Away Door Lock is disabled, you can still lock the car using your key fob, your mobile app, or the lock icon on the dashboard touchscreen. 

Once again, remember that leaving a key in the car may impact locking. To be precise, if you use your key fob or mobile app to lock the car but leave a key inside, the car will not stay locked if someone tries to open the handle. In contrast, if you use the touchscreen to lock the car and leave a key inside, it will remain locked if someone uses the handle.

In their user manuals, Tesla points out that it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to check that they have locked their vehicle correctly. For Model Y and Model 3 drivers, this is a little easier because when the car locks, the exterior lights flash and the mirrors fold in. For those who drive a Model Y, Model 3, or Model X, there is also the option to activate a locking confirmation sound. To do this, tap Controls on the dashboard touchscreen, then Locks, and finally Lock Confirmation Sound.

Why Didn’t My Tesla Lock When I Walked Away?

We have covered that your Tesla won’t lock if you walk away leaving a key inside—unless you use the touchscreen to lock it manually. However, there are some other reasons why it may not lock as you expected it to.

If you unlock your Tesla using your mobile app, it will automatically re-lock after one minute if no doors have been opened. But, if you are using a phone key and accidentally turn off your Bluetooth during this time, the phone key will not be able to re-lock or unlock the vehicle. In addition, if any of the doors or the trunk are not fully closed, this will also prevent the car from locking.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the proximity sensing capacity of your Tesla whenever parking and staying nearby. If a Tesla detects a paired key either within or close to the vehicle for five minutes after you have exited the vehicle, this will override the automatic locking function. In these instances, you’ll need to manually lock the car before leaving. After you go for your next drive, the Walk-Away Door Lock settings will be restored to normal.