Tesla X Won’t Open – Top Reasons Why!


There’s nothing worse than your Tesla not working correctly. If it won’t open, are you inside or outside? Both can be sorted. Don’t fret; we’ll have your X open shortly.

Tesla X is not opening because your Key Fob battery is dead or your 12V battery is dead.

In this article, we’ll look at why your Tesla X won’t open, how to diagnose the issue and how to fix it.

Tesla-X-on-charge
Infographic Tesla X won't open

Tesla Key Fob Battery Dead

The most common reason that your Tesla X won’t open is that your Key Fob battery is dead.

Tesla X has many key fob features attached to it. Passive Entry, automatic open (unlock) on approach, and even better if you have the upgrade package on your Model X, not only will the doors lock but will partially open for you. These features need to be enabled on your Touchscreen or app

  • Controls
  • Safety
  • Passive Entry

However, none of these actions will happen if the battery is low or dead in your fob.

The battery lasts approximately one year in the Tesla X; this is actually a much shorter life scale than the Model 3 (3-5 years). You will be notified onscreen that the battery needs to be replaced, and it’s good practice to have a spare in the house and not let it get to a completely dead stage.

Replacing the battery is a very simple procedure:

  • Turn the fob upside down
  • With a small knife or something flat and then remove the base cover
  • Remove the battery (and dispose of it carefully)
  • Replace with the new battery – ‘CR2354’ with the + sign facing upwards
  • Slide the battery in and push it firmly down into place
  • Replace the cover

This is all great if you have a replacement battery, but if you have to go to the store, then how do you get there if your Tesla is locked and your Key Fob is flat?

There is a strong possibility that you have another Key Fob in the house. If you do, you can temporarily use this to open your car.

But if not, all is not lost. You could alternatively use your Tesla App to open the car.

  • Open App
  • Unlock

Or failing that, if you don’t have access to your smartphone, you can actually still use your flat Key Fob. What! Yes, I know. Crazy, but Tesla thinks of everything.

Although there is no power in your battery, there is a chip, and your car can read this to unlock.

  • Place the fob at the bottom of the door pillar between the driver’s door and the rear falcon-wing door
  • Press the driver’s door handle
  • The door will open once the fob is in the correct position
  • You might need to move it around a little
  • You might need to remove the dead battery

Not only can you unlock your Model X this way, but you can also drive with a flat fob. Simply place it in the center console and press the Brake pedal.

You can no longer use a walk-away lock or passive entry once the battery is flat, so although you can still use the fob, it’s not being used to its full potential. Your next task is to buy that battery. They are widely available online and in nearly all stores.

Inside the Model X with No Power

Finding yourself inside your Model X with no power is probably quite rare, but needless to say, it is possible.

The driver and passenger doors are not affected by the loss of power. Simply pull the handle as normal and the doors will open.

However, the falcon-wing doors to the rear are not as simple. We usually press a button, and the doors open out and up, but with no power, they have to be manually released.

Tesla-X door card
  • At the base of each rear door is a speaker cover
  • Flip this cover off – it’s held in place by plastic clips
Tesla-X-door-release
  • Locate the pull tab (small metal pull wire with ball end)
  • Pull down and towards the front of the car
  • The latch on the falcon door will open

I’ve shown the rear door latch emergency pull wire handle colored red in the above illustration. However, it won’t be colored red. It is a far less obvious-looking tab; it’s small, metal-colored, and looks out of place if you know what I mean.

Be aware also that the door is quite heavy as it has no power in it. Of course, this is great that you can exit the car but not so great if those people are small children.

Some would advise if your children are old enough to explain to them how to release the door in an emergency, but you don’t want them doing this just for the sake of it. You know your children best and know whether it’s a good idea to share this or not.

12V Battery in Tesla X

The other reason your Tesla X won’t open is that your 12V battery is dead.

Tesla has been having some issues with the 12V batteries in the S and X. In late 2021 they installed a completely new battery in all-new S and X models. It is a much lighter (1.8kg), higher-capacity Lithium-Ion battery.

The standard 12V acid battery should last 3-5 years with regular everyday use, but this failed in some models after 1-2 years.

The 12V battery in your Tesla controls all the auxiliary items such as locking, unlocking, windows, and media unit.

Without the 12V, you won’t be able to open your car.

You can still access the 12V, which is located in the frunk. The towing cover at the front of your car contains Positive and Negative Contacts. If you push the tow cover at the top and pull it towards you, you will find that one of the connections is attached to the tow cover.

Connecting these to a booster pack will release the frunk latch for you to gain access to the 12V. If you don’t have a booster pack, believe it or not, a 9V small battery will also do the trick.

Once your frunk is open, remove the plastic cover at the back (held on with plastic clips) and also another cover partially over the 12V.

You then can jump your 12V using a booster pack. This is preferable to an ICE car, but sometimes an ICE is all that is available. Do not jump your Tesla from another Tesla or EV. It will cause irreparable damage and void your warranty.

Once jumped, you should be back up and running. If the jump fails, you may run into the aforementioned 12V battery failure.

You can either source another 12V standard battery or contact Tesla Service Center and inquire about upgrading to the Lithium-Ion battery.

Faults in Components

The last thing I’ll quickly mention is two components that may be causing doors to not fully open.

  1. Actuator
  2. Falcon Wing Calibration

Tesla Door Actuator

Your door actuator is an electronic component that, when asked to do so, either locks or unlocks your car door. They can fail due to age, water ingress, or a blown fuse. You should be able to hear the actuator trying to open the lock; it might be clicking. Or it could have failed completely. If other doors are opening normally, then the actuator on the problem door needs replacing. Contact Tesla Service Center and make an appointment describing what is the issue.

Falcon Wing Calibration

The Falcon Wings are what makes the X an X. From time to time, they stop opening fully. This is not good as they open some of the ways but not enough to enter the car. You then have to push them the last bit, which is not practical.

The issue is the doors need to be recalibrated. You do this by pressing the open button and holding it until it reaches the full height and continuing to hold for another 5-10 seconds. Then press the close button and hold until it closes fully, and again hold for a further 5-10 seconds. It is much the same as calibrating your windows. It defaults the doors back to knowing where the upper and lower limits are.

Other posts you might find useful:

Can you charge a Tesla with Jumper Cables?

Tesla won’t charge in the cold

What to Do if Tesla Screen is Black

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!

Recent Posts