Tesla Key Card: How to use, add or remove access

By Nick Howard

The Tesla Key Card is the company’s answer to the pain of the traditional car key. The pocket-sized card is designed to be a backup method to your Phone Key or key fob, which are the preferred method to lock and unlock your car.

To use a Tesla Key Card, tap it on the b-pillar of the car, below the camera.

The cards are durable, waterproof, require no batteries, cheap to replace (only $35 for two, where a normal key may cost upwards of $300 to replace and reprogram), and make it easy to revoke access in the event a keycard is lost or stolen. The same goes for Tesla key fobs, which are an optional extra for Model 3 or Model Y, but come standard with Model S or Model X.

The Tesla Key Card is compatible with all Model 3 and Y vehicles, and the refreshed 2021+ Model S and X.

Use Android Phone as Key Card

You can use your phone as a key card via NFC! The feature is enabled by default when you add your device as a phone key, so make sure NFC is on, and try it out! Tap your phone on the b-pillar to unlock/lock the car. If this doesn’t work, go to the contactless payment settings on your device and make sure “Tesla” is enabled as a contactless payment method.

You can use an Android phone as a Key Card to open your Tesla
You can use an Android phone as a Key Card to open your Tesla

How to use the Tesla Key Card

Remove the key card from your pocket, wallet, etc. The key card may not be recognized while inside a wallet, due to interference from other contactless cards.

Place the card flat against the b-pillar (between the front and rear doors), just a few inches below the camera hidden behind the glass.

You’ll hear a single chirp from the vehicle to indicate it’s unlocked (if you have the feature enabled, otherwise the lights will flash to indicate it’s unlocked). Remove the key from the car, enter the vehicle, and you’re good to go!

If more than approx. 30 seconds passes between unlocking the car and placing your foot on the brake, a message will pop up on the screen to indicate you need to tap the key again to be able to drive. The screen will show a graphic demonstrating how and where to place the card - this varies between different vehicle models, so follow the on-screen instructions for your specific vehicle.

How to Add a New Key Card

Note: You will need an existing key to add a new card. Enter your vehicle and open the Car menu on the screen. Navigate to the Locks section, and press the button to add a new keycard.

Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the new card - these instructions vary between vehicle models.

How to Remove a Key Card If Lost or Stolen

If you have lost a key card or wish to prevent a key card from accessing your vehicle, you can revoke access. To do so, enter your vehicle and open the Car menu on the screen. Navigate to the Locks section, and press the trash can icon next to the key card you wish to remove.

Follow the on-screen instructions. If you’re unsure which key card is the right one, this trick might be able to help - any time you tap a key card against the center console (3/Y) or wireless charging pad (2021 S/X), it will identify itself from the list on screen.

EV enthusiast by day, Twitter addict by night. @nickwhoward on most platforms.

Ordering a New Tesla?

Consider using our referral code (nuno84363) to help support our site. Model 3 and Y buyers will receive credits toward Tesla Merch, while Model S and X buyers will receive $1,000 off and 3 months of FSD for free.

Tesla Superchargers, Patents, and Autopilot Opened Up for Competition

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is offering up its patents in exchange for other manufacturers' patents
Tesla is offering up its patents for an exchange

Tesla has signaled a more open approach by allowing other automakers to access its Supercharger network. This move, spurred on by a groundbreaking deal with Ford, is more than a simple act of corporate benevolence. Superchargers, now a significant profit center for Tesla, could potentially revolutionize the electric vehicle charging infrastructure by making it universally accessible.

Patents Unleashed: A Closer Look

Tesla has also made strides in the world of intellectual property, opening up select patents to other automakers. This move echoes a similar step taken nearly a decade ago when Tesla announced an open-source approach to its patents. However, the details warrant attention. Tesla isn't giving away these patents out of pure altruism. There's an important caveat; Tesla requires a cross-license deal, effectively asking for access to the other automakers' patents in return. Critics argue that this does not constitute "free" access. It's a strategic maneuver aimed at mutual growth rather than unilateral generosity.

FSD and Autopilot: A Bold Proposition

Adding to the mix, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced the possibility of licensing Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies to other automakers. This move could transform the landscape of autonomous driving by making Tesla's advanced technologies more widely accessible. However, the practical implementation is a complex process. Past discussions about licensing self-driving technology to other automakers have not materialized, indicating potential hurdles ahead.

An Industry Gamechanger

While the recent developments have generated much buzz, the long-term implications for Tesla and the electric vehicle industry remain unclear. Directly licensing technologies and working with companies that have designed them is a viable way to accelerate technological adoption. Tesla's moves could pave the way for more partnerships akin to its early collaborations with Daimler and Toyota. However, the willingness and ability of other automakers to integrate Tesla's technology remain to be seen.

The overarching narrative here aligns with Tesla's mission statement to help accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. By allowing broader access to its technologies, Tesla stands to propel the entire industry forward, even if it potentially narrows its competitive edge. But as Musk stated, "Patents do not define technology leadership...but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers."

Whether this bold gambit will yield the intended results or backfire remains a question only time will answer. For now, Tesla continues to push boundaries, challenging the status quo in its relentless pursuit of a sustainable future.

Tesla Gears Up to Enhance Service Mode: New Features Unveiled in Upcoming Software Update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode

In the ongoing quest to deliver advanced vehicular technology, Tesla never fails to surprise. Tesla enthusiasts have new reasons to rejoice as a host of features are set to augment Service Mode in an upcoming software update.

Pioneering Enhancements: From Diagnostics to Calibrations

With every update, Tesla's futuristic touch becomes more evident. Michal Gapinski, creator of the Tesla Android Project, which famously enables Apple CarPlay in Teslas through a web-based solution, has shared some upcoming features to Tesla's Service Mode with us. In a forthcoming software update, Service Mode will house new diagnostic screens for seat belts, the HVAC system, and what appears to be a new window calibration screen. These screens promise to provide a comprehensive, accessible system check-up that offers valuable insights into your Tesla's health.

Sealt Belt Service Menu

Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode
Tesla is making improvements to its Service Mode

The first new Service Mode menu appears to display details about Tesla's seat sensors, seat belts and the restraint control module (RCM). The car's visualization is displayed from the top with various areas are highlighted around the vehicle including what appears to be the seat sensors, seat belt buckles and retractors. Tesla displayed how they're tied together and how they communicate with the RCM.

New Window Calibration Menu

Tesla is making improvements to its window calibration system
Tesla is making improvements to its window calibration system

But that's not all. Tesla also appears to be adding a new menu for calibrating vehicle windows. This updated window calibration menu features a new visualization, lets you easily calibrate each window individually and displays the generation of the hardware installed.

HVAC Visualization

A particularly intriguing feature in the upcoming update is a dedicated service mode for Tesla's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. This unique feature will display fan RPM and temperatures in various areas, seemingly allowing a multi-angle view of the HVAC system's visualization.

Though Service Mode is tailored for technicians or Tesla owners with a deep understanding of their vehicle, it offers a new level of engagement, providing detailed insights that can help troubleshoot, reset, calibrate, and even configure new parts.

Accessing Service Mode

To access Service Mode, navigate to Controls > Software, and tap and hold on the vehicle's model name that appears underneath the car's image until a water ripple appears. Then release and type 'service' in the dialog box before hitting 'ok'. It is crucial, however, not to make changes unless you understand the implications fully, as they could negatively affect the vehicle. Moreover, DO NOT drive with Service Mode activated, as it disables critical safety features like traction control.

While the new Service Mode features are not in production yet, they are expected to debut in an upcoming update. As we eagerly await these enhancements, one thing is clear - Tesla continues to push the envelope in providing owners with an unparalleled, comprehensive understanding of their vehicles.

Stay tuned for more updates on these exciting developments as they're expected in an upcoming software update.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


Find out how to become a sponsor and have your site listed here.

Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

Latest Tesla Update

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.