What to Do if Tesla is Stolen? Call the Police!

There’s nothing worse than realizing that your Tesla has been stolen. Although Tesla has added security features, it still happens. Don’t panic, and don’t follow the thieves.

If your Tesla has been stolen:

  • Call the police
  • Check your Tesla App
  • Call your insurance

In this article, we’ll look at what to do if your Tesla is stolen and the precautions to take to prevent someone from stealing your car.


Call the Police

The very first thing you must do is check that your car has been stolen. Check a fact is a fact. Has your car possibly been towed? Have you parked in a no-parking zone or somewhere that your car should not be? Look around for signs suggesting it is illegal to park here.

If this is the case, then there is a high possibility that your car has been removed. You can call your local police department, give your license plate number, and they can tell you if it has been impounded and the next steps you have to take.

Stolen Tesla

If it hasn’t been towed, you can tell them you think it was stolen. But ensure no other key holder has moved or borrowed your car. That can be embarrassing!

To report a car stolen, you will need all the following information to give to the police station:

  • Make of car and color
  • VIN Number & Licence Plate Number
  • Where was the car last located
  • Any GPS information you can give them

This is where Tesla comes into its own.

Check the Tesla App

Through your Tesla app, you can access all kinds of information as long as you have connectivity and your Tesla also has connectivity. One of these options is GPS.

BY checking the GPS on your app, you can locate exactly where your Tesla is, whether it’s moving or parked, and if any of its doors are open.

You can share this live feed information with the police, and they can track down your car and hopefully return it to you.

Call your Insurance

Although you know where your car is and the direction it might be traveling (if moving) until the police apprehend the thieves, you have no idea whether you will get your car back or what condition it will be in when you see it again. Thieves panic when they see the police and often crash the car as they lose control. Alternatively, they are just unfamiliar with driving a Tesla and crashing it.

Your insurance company will need all your details; policy name and number, where the car was last parked, and whether there was anything of value in the car, such as laptops, tablets, or any luggage.

Theft cover is not always mandatory on a car policy, so you will need to check this before you call them. If it is on your policy, they will want to know that you have reported it to the police and will require the police report number.

Only about 50% of stolen cars are successfully returned to their owners. However, this figure jumps enormously (to 80%+) for Teslas because of the live tracking technology.

How Can Thieves Steal Your Tesla?

How can your Tesla be stolen if it has so much security attached to it? Certainly, Mr. Musk has upped his game to prevent Tesla theft.

He has added improved security measures to prevent anyone from stealing your cars, such as Sentry Mode and Pin To Drive.

So how is it that anyone can steal a Tesla? Well, the biggest problem is the location of your key/phone at night (or any time – but more likely at night) about where your Tesla is located.

If you have Passive Entry set up, and in reality, why wouldn’t you? Then, in theory, your car can be opened and started if your phone is close to your car.

Even if there is a wall between you, a would-be thief can get in and drive your car away and will only run into difficulty if they put the car in Park. The next time they select Drive, the car will look for a key; if there isn’t one, the car will not move and shut down. But who knows where they could be at that stage?

Another way they can steal your Tesla is through a relay. This copies the information on your fob. Tesla receives updates through Bluetooth Over the Air, which is fantastic because your car is always up to date.

However, with inexpensive firmware and knowledge of your VIN (displayed on your car’s dash), they can quickly receive a code, pair a new fob, and seamlessly drive away in your Tesla. Of course, this is not your everyday garden variety thief. These are specialized hackers, but you should know that it can be achieved. So how do you protect yourself from these vulnerabilities?

How to Prevent Theft of your Tesla

Musk and all at Tesla are constantly updating and upgrading the software that runs your powerful machine. When it came to light that cars could be easily stolen, Tesla introduced some extra security measures.

Pin to Drive

Pin to Drive requires a Pin to be inserted for the car to drive. It does, however, need to be set up.

  • Touchscreen
  • Controls – Safety and Security
  • Pin to Drive
  • Select a four-digit code combination

This four-digit code is then required every time you start the car, regardless of who is driving. You can cancel or change the four-digit only by logging in to your Tesla Account—a straightforward but effective way to protect your car.

Sentry Mode

This is an additional security measure that has both pros and cons. The pros are your car is monitored and can sense if someone is near the car and can then escalate to filming if the onboard computer thinks that the car is under threat.

  • Touchscreen
  • Controls – Safety and Security
  • Sentry Mode

It can also be set up through your Tesla App.

The downside to Sentry Mode is when the computer senses anything outside, it wakes up the car, and every time your car wakes up, it can be awake for up to 15 minutes, which uses battery power. This is not a problem if you’re at home and have charging set up for the evening, but if you are out somewhere, you don’t want to return to a flat car just because there has been a lot of activity near your car.

Although car thieves are everywhere, there will always be ones trying at an opportune moment. The reality is that of all the cars to steal, a Tesla would not be top of the list; in fact, a Tesla doesn’t even figure in the top 20 of most stolen cars.

Zebra.com says a car is stolen every 36 seconds in the US. Ford pickups are on the most wanted list. Tesla is unlikely to be stolen in the first place, but even if you find yourself in this predicament, there is an incredible chance that you will get your car back because of the live feed technology onboard.

Other posts you might find useful:

Here are a few common questions folks ask about Teslas:

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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