Tesla Model 3 Won’t Turn Off – Top Tips!

You love your Tesla Model 3, but sometimes it seems it’s doing its own thing. Why won’t it just turn off? You’re in the right place to figure it out. Let’s learn why your Tesla Model 3 won’t turn off.

Your Tesla Model 3 won’t turn off because it’s simply not designed to fully turn off. You can force it to turn off to prevent vampire drain, but you won’t receive any updates if you are disconnected.

In this article, we’ll examine why your Tesla Model 3 won’t turn off and how to force it to turn off if needed.

Tesla-Model-3 in driveway
Infographic - Tesla Model 3 Won't turn  off

Tesla Model 3 Not Designed to Turn Off

Your Tesla Model 3 is a large hi-tech computer. This computer is constantly receiving information via API (Application Programming Interface). This means that if an update is required, it can send it to your vehicle without authorization or needing to log in every time.

Although you feel like you have shifted to Park and left the car, in reality, the car is still ‘On’ and can receive information from Tesla.

This is the way Tesla has designed the onboard computers. Certain things happen when you stop the car.

  • If you shift to P – the car will automatically ‘Power Off
    • This means that you can exit the car, and no one can move or enter your car without a key
  • If you undo your seatbelt – your car assumes you are leaving and will automatically shift to Park
    • Unless you touch a pedal or interior switch, it will stay powered off

You can force your car to Power Off (or at least go to sleep)

  • Controls
  • Safety
  • Power Off

You can initiate this even while sitting in the car. If you touch off the pedal or the steering, it will immediately wake back up.

However, if you park your car up for the night – all consumers are turned off, and you return to it a couple of hours later (without a key), you may hear it making noises. There may even be lights on at your charge point or elsewhere – even though it may not be charging.

This is what I mean when I say, although it’s off, it’s just asleep. The noises are the computers cycling to ensure the car is healthy and that it’s not getting too hot or too cold.

What effect does this have on your car?

If your car seems always awake or on, you can keep an eye on this by monitoring the range.

Your car is expected to drop 3-4 miles each night if it is not being charged.

The computers constantly monitor the car and check whether any updates are scheduled or available.

The more apps you have running in your car will determine how often your car checks everything. This, in turn, will affect how much your range will drop by each night.

The key to maximizing your range is having as little running as possible.

If your range drops significantly overnight, you should look at where the drain comes from. Certainly, ‘Sentry Mode’ is a constant draw and unnecessary if your car is garaged and safe overnight. The more you check the Tesla app, the more the range will decrease. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your Tesla to go back to sleep every time you check it.

Vampire Drain

As it’s known, a Vampire drain can eat into your range from a couple of miles to nearly empty. This is a real problem if you’re on vacation. You can return to your car, and it’s flat. Try not to check your car while you’re on vacation. It’s really fine, and you miss it more than it misses you.

Our sister site (Rustyautos.com) wrote a post about this – How long can a Tesla site without charging?

Complete Turn Off of Tesla

The only way to truly turn your car off is by disconnecting your car from the WiFi. You can do this by going to

  • Controls
  • Safety and Security
  • Data Sharing – Off

When you Park your car, it will automatically connect to your WiFi. This is usually your Home WiFi. While connected, it completes any updates or Navigation Map changes that may be available. This won’t happen if you’re not connected. The updates will start getting back up, so it’s a fool’s economy. Unless you’re having charging problems, I would advise against this.

Even though your car is disconnected, the onboard computer will still check your battery health.

In reality, Tesla doesn’t want you to and doesn’t encourage you to turn off your Model 3. It’s part of their policy – always to be able to update or access your car. I think you can still receive updates on the original 2012 Tesla, which is pretty incredible. Not too many ICE cars like that, if any.

We live in a world where saving energy is foremost in our minds. By selecting a Tesla (or any EV), we are making a conscious decision to save energy, and a car that’s not turning off sort of flies in the face of our thinking.

But in fact, it doesn’t. Your emissions are still less than an ICE vehicle. Although it’s not completely turned off, it’s just cycling through systems making sure all is ok. It’s never fully back ‘On’ when it’s doing these checks.

It can be a little disconcerting if you walk by it at night and it seems like it’s about to leave without you. Tesla wants your car to be in tip-top shape all the time, and this way, they can be sure that happens.

The Vampire Drain is the only thing you need to really be concerned about. The 3-4 mile loss is to be expected. If this increases over time or suddenly is 15-20 miles per night, then you need to book a Service Check with your nearest Tesla Center.

I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.

Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.

Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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