Why do Tesla owners tap the tail light?

Have you seen someone walk up to their Tesla and tap the tail light? Or perhaps you’ve seen videos on social media of people doing this – often accompanied by dubious claims that it will somehow help with charging?

Well, we’re here to debunk the myths and explain once and for all why Tesla owners tap their tail light.

First, we’ll look at why tapping the tail light (or near the tail light) is a useful and sensible thing to do. Then, we’ll call out the urban myths and silly superstitions!

Truth: Tapping near the tail light opens the charging port

The charging port on a Tesla is located on the side of the vehicle, to the rear, just next to the tail light.

There are a number of ways to open the charging port, including using the key fob or the touch screen inside the vehicle. However, one of the easiest ways to open the charging port is to simply give it a tap.

As long as the car is unlocked and/or an authenticated phone is next to the vehicle, the charging port will open when pressed.

You can then insert the connector and charge your Tesla, with the charging port door closing automatically when the connector is removed.

To be clear – the charging port is not on the tail light. It’s next to the tail light. However, as the two are located so close together, it’s possible that people have seen Tesla owners tapping the charging port and thought they were tapping the tail light.

Myth: Tapping the tail light improves charging

This is where things start to get silly! For some reason, an urban myth has developed online that suggests tapping the charging connector against the tail light of a Tesla can somehow make the vehicle charge more quickly. This is completely untrue.

The theory has no scientific basis and is often repeated with clearly ridiculous claims, such as the claim that tapping the tail light “aligns the electrons” and removes static electricity. Obviously, this is nonsense. Aligning electrons is just not how electricity works, and reducing static electricity would not cause your Tesla to charge any faster.

Some people have tried to come up with a sensible reason to tap the charging connector on the tail light. The most plausible being to remove any debris that may have become lodged in the connector, which could prevent the Tesla from charging properly. However, this is dubious at best. 

It is extremely rare for any debris to become stuck in a charging connector and to cause charging problems. And even if there was such a problem with the connector, gently tapping the tail light probably wouldn’t fix it.

In short: Unless you’re opening the charging port, there is no reason to tap anywhere near the tail light on your Tesla. It’s just a silly urban myth.