Tesla Supercharger Won’t Unlock – Top 3 Reasons

The Tesla Supercharger network is fabulous. It allows Tesla owners to travel countrywide without worrying about range anxiety. But what happens if you’re at a Supercharger, and it won’t unlock? Don’t panic! We’ll have you unhitched in a jiffy.

Common reasons Tesla Supercharger won’t unlock include:

  • Car is locked
  • Incorrect Supercharger use
  • Supercharger fault

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons why the Supercharger won’t unlock and how to fix it.


Tesla is Locked

If your Tesla is locked, the Supercharger will not release your cable. Sometimes, we can overlook the simple explanation.

Unlock your car with your phone, fob/key card and try to rerelease the cable.

But I charge my car at home and can release the cable, and it’s locked! This may be the case, but Superchargers and Destination Chargers are slightly different.

Tesla Supercharger wont unlock

Superchargers and Destination Chargers are public charging stations and have to be secure. You may be away from your car while charging – to run into a store or have quickly gone running an errand.

For security reasons, your car must be locked to Supercharge. Not just so no one will steal your car but, more importantly, that no one disconnects the cable from your vehicle while you’re gone.

You definitely don’t want to be thinking that your car is charging only to return to find that someone unplugged your car! This can’t happen while your vehicle is locked and the cable is locked in place.

Your phone will notify you when charging is almost finished.

Incorrect Supercharger Use

Along with your car being locked, the Supercharger must be connected correctly.

Superchargers use high-voltage DC charging. When you connect your car to a Supercharger (or any charger), both the charger and your car do a safety check. The connection has to make a complete seal.

When you press the release button, another check is done, and if something is amiss, then the cable will not release.

This could be as simple as the cable being overextended. The cable is required to be relaxed at all times. Nearly all Supercharger bays require Tesla owners to reverse into the bay and then connect.

There are some forward-facing bays (not always available), but these are for towing or hauling drivers. They are not designed for reverse charging.

Ensure that you are facing the correct way and the cable is not stretched in any way. The cable will not release if there is any safety risk involved.

The other possibility is the release mechanism. In Superchargers of old, you pressed the button on the charging handle, and the cable was released. Now you must ‘Press and Hold.’ If you’re having difficulty, this could be the reason why.

Take your time, push the charger away from you, press and hold the button and pull it towards you to release. If you’re still having trouble, go to your Touchscreen and release the cable from there. If this still doesn’t work, it seems there is a problem with the Supercharger. Let’s take a look at that next.

Fault in the Supercharger

The Supercharger network is well maintained by Tesla service personnel, but like all machines and technology, they do occasionally cause trouble. If you find that you can’t unlock your Supercharger and have tried all the above, there may be a fault in the Supercharger.

Each Supercharger has a specific location reference number attached to it and also a bay number.

Call the number on the Supercharger and let them know that you are having difficulties releasing the cable. Customer Service can remotely try and disconnect the cable. All Supercharger faults are automatically reported. When you call, they could already know there’s a problem.

However, there is the possibility that you can’t get through to Customer Service. So now what? You’re done charging, and now you can’t leave because the Supercharger won’t release.

Thankfully you can manually release the cable from your car.

Manual Release

It’s not possible to remove the charging cable while on charge, so ensure that charging has stopped altogether first before attempting to remove the cable.

  • Open the trunk
  • Locate the pull cable on the left-hand side
  • It may be hidden behind trim
  • After pulling the cable, release the charging handle
    • Do not pull the handle and pull the cable at the same time
  • If you need to release a charging cable manually consistently, then you need to check in with a Service 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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