Tesla Model 3 Won’t Lock – Top 3 Reasons Why


Your Model 3 is top-of-the-range technology, but if it won’t lock, this is a nightmare. I’ve been a mechanic for over 25 years, and I’ll show you why your Tesla won’t lock.

The most common reasons your Tesla Model 3 won’t lock include:

  1. Door not fully closed
  2. Auto-lock is not functioning
  3. There’s an additional key in the car

In this article, we’ll cover the top three reasons your Tesla Model 3 won’t lock, how to diagnose it and what to do to fix it!

Tesla Model 3 parked in woods

Door or Trunk Not Fully Closed

If one or more of your doors is not fully closed, then your Model 3 will not lock. It will attempt to, but as the onboard computer does a check, it will realize that one of the doors is not fully pushed home.

This is usually the driver’s door. However, I find that if you have been traveling with children, they haven’t enough strength to close the door fully.

If you have walked away and realized that the mirrors haven’t folded in, you’ll know that the car hasn’t locked.

You can either do a walkaround to see which door is not fully sealed, or you can sit back in your car where the touch screen will show you which door is open.

The other item that may be open is the trunk or frunk. The trunk should close automatically, but there might be an item in the way of the latch that is preventing this. Go to the rear of the car and check for any item. If you find something, remove it and try to lock it once more.

The drunk, on the other hand, has to be closed manually. You might have just removed something from it and not enough pressure was put on the lid to close it fully, or again, there might be an object preventing it from closing fully. You need to apply enough top pressure, so the latch clicks firmly shut.

With all doors, trunk and frunk now fully sealed shut, the car should lock.

Auto-Lock is Not Functioning

Auto-Lock is a function in your Tesla, so you don’t have to be fumbling with a key when your hands are full of other items. It does have to be enabled in your controls to work.

  • Controls
  • Locks
  • Walk Away Door Lock

You can also add a sound to hear that the car has locked.

However, there are certain times when Walk Away will not automatically happen.

  • You must have a key fob or phone with you
  • The phone must be connected to Bluetooth
  • Key Card won’t allow Auto-Lock
  • A door/trunk is open
  • You haven’t walked far enough away from the car

Key Fob or Phone

For Walk Away Door Lock to work, your phone or key fob must be on your person. The function must be enabled in your Tesla app. If these are not in place, it won’t work.

Bluetooth Active

If Bluetooth is not enabled or functioning on your phone, then the Walk Away Door Lock won’t work. May phones disable Bluetooth if the battery life is low. Ensure that you have enough charge, or the Bluetooth will not lock your car. (it also won’t reopen your car on return)

Key Card

You can’t use a key card with Walk Away. It can’t lock your car from a distance. You must hold it to the center pillar.

Open Doors

The walk-away function will not work if any of the doors, trunk, or frunk are not fully closed. As before, check all doors and try again.

Distance from the Car

You haven’t walked far enough away from the car. This might seem a little odd, but if your car detects a key nearby, it won’t lock. You may have parked and are sitting having a coffee al fresco but are still quite close to your car.

You must be quite careful of this one as you may have locked your car and gone inside a coffee shop but then selected a seat outside. You may not be in clear sight of your car, and in the meantime, it has unlocked because it thinks you are returning.

There’s an Additional Key in the Car

Tesla allows you to pair additional keys – cards, phones, and fobs, to your car so more than one person can drive your car. If you leave an additional ‘key’ inside the car, the car won’t lock. It believes there is someone still inside the car.

You can walk away from your car and lock it, but after a short amount of time, it will unlock. This can be a security nightmare. It’s designed, so you don’t lock yourself out of your car.

Ensure that no other phones or fobs are inside the car as you leave it. You may have to lock the car through your app manually.

Car Still Not Locking

If you have walked through all of the above and found that your locking system is still a bit glitchy you may need to do a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ reset.

We are, after all, dealing with a large computer, and technology sometimes gives trouble. Tesla regularly sends updates via WiFi, and it may be the case that you need to complete a software update. Try either of the following to make sure everything is up to date.

Hard Update

  • Put your Tesla in Park
  • Remove any auxiliary items that are plugged in i.e., phones, USB drives
  • Press and hold the Brake
  • Hold both scroll wheels on your steering wheel for 10-15 seconds
  • The touchscreen will go black
  • Tesla Logo will appear
  • When everything is back fully, your car should be locking without issue

Soft Reset

  • Shift into Park
  • Remove any devices
  • Hold both scroll wheels on the steering wheel for 10-15 seconds
  • The touchscreen turns black
  • Tesla Logo reappears
  • Everything will once again be available

The difference between a hard and soft reboot is the holding of the Brake. Some think you can do a soft reboot while driving, but it is not recommended by Tesla. You are, after all, rebooting the screen and should not be distracted from the control of your car in any way while driving.

12V Battery Issues

All Tesla has a 12V Battery that looks after lights, media, windows, and your locking system. If your car is having difficulty with locking, there’s a possibility that you need to replace the 12V Battery. Generally, you will be given notice of this on your screen. Like all parts in your Tesla, your battery is covered under warranty – 4 years or 50,000 miles. Check this first.

If you are outside of warranty, a new 12V battery can be easily sourced. You can change this yourself, but you need to follow a very specific process. Unless you are mechanically minded, I strongly advise changing it yourself. Tesla is a high-voltage machine, and disconnecting it incorrectly could lead to injury.

In addition, your Tesla may require some systems re-calibrated when the battery is disconnected.

Book an appointment with Tesla Service Center and allow them to replace the battery for you. The cost will be under $100.

Other posts you might find useful:

Tesla Model S Not Recognizing Key Fob

Do You Have to Warm Up a Tesla

Tesla Model 3 Won’t Charge

Tesla Model 3 Won’t Turn Off

E John Cunningham

Hey, I’m John and I'm a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. I’m a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. I've worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers. Yep, I’ve skint my knuckles on them all!

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