Tesla Not Waking Up – This will fix it!


A bonus of owning a Tesla is the ability to turn it on remotely. Handy for AC or heating in the summer or the cold winter months. But what if that doesn’t work? In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why and how to fix it.

Tesla not waking up is due to a connectivity problem, either in your phone app or onboard in your Tesla. Pre 2015 Teslas need to be upgraded to a 5G modem as the 3G network has been phased out by AT&T.

In order to love any car, it has to behave as it’s supposed to. When things start to glitch it’s a problem. Let’s look at how to get it fixed.

Tesla Dashboard
Infographic - Tesla not waking up

Tesla Bluetooth Too Far Away

For your Tesla to wake up it has to receive an instruction from your phone. This is usually done through Bluetooth. Bluetooth works by radio waves, and devices pair or connect together, your phone and your car seeing each other on a network. Reasons for this not to work is usually that the range distance is too far or something is blocking the pairing.

You may have parked underground or in a garage where the signal is not strong enough to pair. If your Tesla hasn’t woken up, chances are that you’ve only discovered this when you arrive at your car.

Check on your app that the Bluetooth is connected. If it isn’t, try disabling and reenabling it. Open your app and Press the ‘Unlock’ icon. This should activate your Bluetooth and wake up your car.

Tesla WiFi Active

If your car wakes up it is now connected to your WiFi. Tesla recommends you always have your WiFi connection on and that it is faster than a cellular connection. All updates are done through WiFi so if your car is not connected, it not only will not wake up but it won’t receive any updates.

However, your Tesla may be using the WiFi on your phone as opposed to the WiFi onboard. This is possibly the reason your car did not wake up. If you are still having problems, try resetting your WiFi on your phone. If this does wake your car, sit in it, put it into gear and check the dash for the LTE icon. If the LTE has a slash through it, then this is why your car is not responding.

Tesla LTE Problems

What is LTE I hear you ask? Well as I say all Teslas run on a network (AT&T). It’s part of your package when you purchase your car. LTE is basically the different speeds available ie 3G, 4G, and 5G. When Tesla first launched the Model S back in 2012 they did a deal with AT&T to pony on their network. Tesla is still prepared to update the software on these original models, which is pretty fantastic really. They send updates for no extra fee.

So what has LTE got to do with my Tesla not waking? Out of the control of Tesla, AT&T has decided to withdraw the 3G network from February 2022. All pre-2015 Tesla models have 3G modems installed. The technology associated with 3G is pretty old now and the speed of $G and 5G is so much faster and has a much greater capability.

Tesla realizes that this is an issue for its original models as many of them are still going strong and have not sat on their laurels or said ‘just go buy a new car’. Tesla has already sent updates to this era of cars to alter the WiFi mode. Normally once you shift into Drive or Reverse your car will turn off the WIFi, however, if you have a pre-2015 the WiFi will now remain connected to your phone or a hotspot. This allows you to still have access to satellite view.

But this is not a long-term solution, and you want your car to wake up when you tell it to. DOn’t panic. Mr. Musk is on the case. He realizes that people love Teslas and want to hold on to them for as long as they can. And it is the fault of AT&T (or AT&Ts decision to upgrade) that has made your Tesla have a connection fault. You may have already received an error message from Tesla to schedule a service.

Tesla is offering to upgrade your modem from 3G to 5G for $200 plus tax. This will allow you to once again have full access to updates and cellular connections onboard.

Schedule Service – Upgrades & Accessories – LTE Upgrade

Tesla Sleep & Deep Sleep

Sleeping is something your Tesla does when it hasn’t been active for some time. If it hasn’t had any activity for a few days then it will go into Deep Sleep. This is a way of saving your batteries. Sometimes, we can run into a Sleep problem when your Tesla won’t wake up.

The reasons for this are usually to do with your 12V battery. If the battery is low or worse you can’t wake the car. If you can get under the hood then check all connections are good. (if you can’t get into the hood click here to learn how to do this). If you have a ‘battery tester’ check that the reading is good. It should be 12.35. If you have a problem, your battery may need to be replaced. They last about 4-5 years.

Reset Your Tesla

The last thing I would suggest if nothing else has worked or you can’t seem to get to the bottom of why your Tesla is not waking is to try a reset.

There may have been a software update and for whatever reason, it didn’t fully complete (maybe due to power or connection problems) but now it’s causing wake-up issues.

If you can sit in your car, and apply the brake. Press and hold the scroll wheels on either side of the steering wheel, for up to 10 seconds. Your main screen will reboot, beginning with the Tesla logo. Hopefully, this will clear any errors and complete any updates.

In Conclusion

Teslas are full to the brim with technology. But none of this technology is available without good connectivity. Your Tesla is having waking up problems due to something not being able to see or talk to your Tesla. This is either a phone app issue, a 3G LTE issue in older models, and to a lesser extent your 12V battery.

Don’t forget that Tesla Service is always willing to help but it’s always nice to know that you have tried all the obvious possibilities first before you resort to Customer Service.

If you have looked at your app and your onscreen messages and everything seems ok, go ahead and Reset Your Tesla.

You find the following posts helpful:

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Tesla S Not Playing Music

Can I drive a Tesla without a key?

What to do if Tesla has a flat?

Can I drive Tesla with the trunk open?

Tesla not charging at home (external link Rustyautos.com)

What to do if Tesla runs out of charge

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, Landrover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers. Yep, I’ve skint my knuckles on them all!

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