How to Check If Tesla has Garage Door Opener and How to Program It

By Nuno Cristovao

Teslas have the ability to automatically open your garage door as you’re approaching your home. They can also automatically close it as you’re leaving.

They do this by combining the GPS signal with the HomeLink module that opens your garage door.

Tesla Garage Door Opener with HomeLink

How to Tell If Your Tesla Has HomeLink

All Teslas are capable of opening garage doors using HomeLink, however not every Tesla comes equipped with the HomeLink module.

If you have a Model S or Model X, then your car already has the capability to open your garage door.

If you have another model, then whether it’s included in your car will vary. Model 3s included HomeLink only up until Spring of 2019. It then became an option that would be installed after delivery through Tesla service. All Model Ys do not have it installed unless it was installed after delivery.

However, the easiest way to tell if your car has a garage door opener is to check on the car’s display. You can go to Controls > Software then tap on Additional Vehicle Information.

This will bring up a screen that will display several important details about your vehicle and the hardware it includes.

The screen will display which full self-driving computer hardware is installed, your infotainment processor and more. It will also display whether you have the HomeLink garage door opener hardware installed.

Next to ‘Garage door opener’, you will either see ‘Not installed,’ or ‘HomeLink 5 (Opt 2).’ The number may vary, but it will mean that you have the HomeLink module installed and your car is capable of opening garage doors.

Program HomeLink Garage Door Opener

If you have a garage door opener in your Tesla, then you can program the car to automatically open the garage door when you pull up to the house.

You can also operate the doors individually through the car’s interface and even operate the main garage door through the Tesla app.

To program your car you’ll need the remote that came with your garage door opener, or easy access to the garage door motor in your garage.

If you’re programming the car using the button on the garage door opener motor, make sure you have plenty of space and a good step ladder because you’ll need to complete the operation in a certain amount of time. If someone is available to help, that will make the process much easier.

To get started you’ll tap on the HomeLink icon along the top of your Tesla’s screen that looks like a house with an arrow then tap HomeLink Settings.

This brings up the HomeLink screen which allows you to add various garage doors or compatible accessories such as lights or gates.

Start by tapping on Add New HomeLink then enter a name for this garage door, such as ‘Left Garage’ and then tap Create HomeLink.

Standard Mode or D-Mode

You’ll next be presented to set the HomeLink transmit mode. The mode you need to pick will depend on your location and method you’re using to program your car.

Standard Mode - This is the most common mode. If you’re unsure of which to use, you should start with this one, as it’s the simplest to set up. This option requires the use of your garage door remote.

D-Mode - D-mode is usually used in North America. You’ll want to use D-mode if you’re using the ‘Learn’ or ‘Smart’ button on your garage door opener motor.

UR-Mode - UR-mode is similar to D-mode but it’s a standard that’s usually found in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It’ll also require you to use the ‘Learn’ button on your garage door opener motor.

Set your preferred mode and tap Set Mode.

Next, you’ll want to make sure your car is parked in front of your garage. The car uses this location to determine when to open your garage door when arriving home.

Later you’ll then be able to set how many feet before reaching this location should the car send the signal to open your garage.

Programming With Standard Mode

Get ready to program your car and tap Start. You’ll now want to go outside of your car with your garage door remote and point it at the front bumper closer to the passenger side.

Now press and hold the button that opens your garage door on the remote and keep it pressed. It can take up to 30 seconds to program. Your car’s lights will flash when it’s complete. Keep in mind that your garage door will open or close when you do this, so make sure there is nothing in the way.

Once you see your headlights flash, that means the car was successfully able to record the signal from your remote.

When you go back in your vehicle you should see that the recording was completed and you’re prompted to tap next to continue.

If you’re using Standard Mode, the next step will vary depending on whether your remote is QuickTrain compatible or not.

If your remote is QuickTrain compatible or doesn’t use a rolling code then you can tap Continue, if it’s not either of those, then you’ll be required to press the ‘Learn’ button on your garage door opener motor.

If you’re not sure, you can try pressing continue and see if HomeLink works. If it doesn’t work then you know your remote is not QuickTrain compatible.

Programming With D-Mode or UR-Mode

If you’re using D-Mode or UR-Mode to program your car you will need easy access to the garage door opener motor.

The car will ask you to press the Learn or Smart button on the garage door motor. It’ll be a small button that may be behind a cover or door. It’s usually a bright color such as orange, red, yellow or purple, but it can be any color.

After pressing the button you will need to go back to the car in a short period of time and tap continue. This is to prevent unauthorized use of your garage door.

Testing the Button

After programming your garage door the car will ask you to test it.

The car will have you test the garage door button in the car to see if it works and you’ll be given a chance to go back and choose a different option if it didn’t work the first time.

Once you have your garage doors opening from the car and tap save, you can set various options for the garage door.

Auto Fold Mirrors

This option will cause your car to fold its mirrors right before arriving at your garage. Keep in mind this may make backing out of your garage a little more difficult. Only use this option if you need to.

Auto Open When Arriving

Teslas will combine your GPS signal with your HomeLink transmitter and auto open your garage doors as you’re approaching your house.

This is a really convenient feature and I’d recommend having it on as long as your garage door has the safety sensors at the bottom that will prevent it from closing if anything is in the way.

You can also choose the number of feet away from your garage when the car should send the signal to open it.

It’s nice to have your garage door fully open before you get to it so that you don’t need to stop and wait. However, the number of feet that is right for you will depend on your garage door opener and how far away it could receive a signal.

I’d also recommend having your garage door in view so that for those rare times when you come home and the garage door is already open. This will cause your car to send another ‘open’ signal, causing your garage door to start closing.

It's important to understand that the car has no way to know whether your garage door is open or closed, and unfortunately HomeLink simply sends an "open/close" signal, which causes the garage door to open if it’s closed or close if it’s opened. Some caution is necessary, but the feature works well, especially when you’re arriving home.

Tesla recommends only using the auto-open or auto-close features when your garage door is installed with safety sensors along the bottom.

Keep in mind that the car determines the location of your garage door based on where your car was when you programmed the garage door. The location can be reset at any time.

Auto Close When Leaving

This is the opposite of ‘Auto Open when Arriving’. Your car will automatically send a signal to close your garage door when you’re leaving home.

We do need to be cautious with these features as they’re not discrete open and close signals and they just tell the garage door to switch position.

Reset Location

If you weren’t in front of your garage door when you programmed it, then your car has the wrong location for your garage door. Choosing ‘reset location’ when in front of your garage door will cause the car to change the location of your garage to its current position.

You’ll need to do this for each garage door.

Chime for Auto-Open and Auto-Close

On the HomeLink settings screen you can also set whether you’d like the car to chime before auto opening or auto closing the garage door.

This will have the car make a short ding sound before auto opening or auto closing your garage doors. It’s a little reminder that the garage door is open to move. It also gives you a chance to cancel the auto opening or auto closing procedure before it starts. You’ll see the HomeLink menu come up with a cancel button when this happens.

Limited to 3 Garages or Devices

The HomeLink module that Tesla uses is limited to three HomeLink devices. Unfortunately, this is a limitation of the module itself and not something that Tesla can change.

Add or Install Garage Door Opener in Your Tesla

If you have a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y that does not have the garage door opener, then you can purchase it separately directly from Tesla.

Unfortunately, it can’t be purchased when you buy the car and it needs to be bought and installed by Tesla service after delivery.

The cost for the parts and installation are $325.

If Tesla offers mobile service in your area then it's a convenient and painless process.

Set Which Garage Door Opens In App

In the Tesla app there is a HomeLink icon that will open your garage door. Unfortunately, this button can only be assigned to one garage door.

There is no way to have your Tesla open the other garage doors programmed in the vehicle, however you can pick which garage door to open when you press the HomeLink icon in the Tesla app.

The following procedure requires you to have Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) or FSD. If you go in your car and go to Controls > Autopilot then tap on Summon you’ll be presented with Summon details.

To choose your garage door, tap HomeLink then pick your garage door. You can then turn HomeLink off again. Keep in mind that if you use Summon with HomeLink enabled then you are telling the car which garage door to open before backing out of the garage.

If you do not have EAP or FSD, then you may have to change the order of your garage doors in order to change the one that opens when pressing the HomeLink icon.

Tesla's Dojo Project Faces Leadership Shakeup

By Kevin Armstrong
Dojo Leadership Shake up
Dojo Leadership Shake up

Ganesh Venkataramanan, Tesla’s project lead for its ambitious Dojo supercomputer project for the past five years, has left the company. Bloomberg reported this development, stating that the news was confirmed by sources familiar with the matter. Peter Bannon, a former executive at Apple Inc. and a director at Tesla for the last seven years, has now taken the helm of the project.

Venkataramanan's departure from Tesla last month is now stirring conversations about the potential impacts on Tesla's future initiatives. His contributions to the Dojo project have been pivotal, especially in designing the custom D1 chip that powers the supercomputer. Venkataramanan, with his extensive experience, including a significant tenure at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), was a crucial asset in setting up Tesla’s AI hardware and silicon teams in 2016.

Dojo: A Cornerstone for Tesla’s Self-Driving Aspirations

The Dojo supercomputer is a critical element of Tesla's strategy to enhance its self-driving capabilities. Designed to train machine learning models integral to Tesla's autonomous systems, Dojo processes vast amounts of data captured by Tesla vehicles. This rapid data processing is essential for improving the company’s algorithms, with analysts suggesting that Dojo could be a significant competitive advantage for Tesla. In a recent estimation by Morgan Stanley, the project could potentially add $500 billion to Tesla’s value.

Elon Musk has been vocal about the company's commitment to the Dojo project, planning an investment exceeding $1 billion by the end of 2024. The project's importance was underscored in Tesla's decision to shift from relying on Nvidia Corp.’s supercomputers to developing Dojo, poised to rival systems from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and IBM.

Looking Ahead: Impact and Future Prospects

The recent leadership changes raise questions about the future direction of the Dojo project. Venkataramanan's exit, coupled with the departure of another critical artificial intelligence player from Tesla last year, Andrej Karpathy, signals a transition period for the company’s AI and self-driving teams.

However, Tesla's robust talent pool, blending experienced and emerging professionals, offers a silver lining. Bannon's promotion to lead the Dojo project is seen as a strategic move, leveraging his experience and insights gained from his tenure at Apple. Moreover, the recent installation of Dojo hardware in Palo Alto, California, marks a step forward in centralizing and enhancing the project’s capabilities.

Tesla’s ambitions for Dojo extend to making it one of the world’s top supercomputers. The company envisions reaching a computational capability of 100 exaflops* by October 2024, a testament to its commitment to advancing artificial intelligence and self-driving technology.

* Confused about "exaflops?" "Flops" stands for Floating Point Operations Per Second. It's a way to measure how fast a computer can process data. "Exa" means a billion billion, or 1, followed by 18 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000). So, when we say a computer can perform 100 exaflops, it can do 100 billion billion calculations per second. That's incredibly fast!

New Parking Visualizations and Custom Locking Sounds Also Coming in Tesla's Holiday Update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is adding a new 'High Fidelity Park Assist' feature in this year's Holiday Update
Tesla is adding a new 'High Fidelity Park Assist' feature in this year's Holiday Update

Following initial reactions to Tesla's 2023 Holiday Update, Elon Musk acknowledged the need for improvement, stating, "We need to step up our game." His post on X was followed by Tesla shedding more light on the Holiday Update than what was in the initial leak.

Call me old, but I remember a time when you bought a car, and that was it; the dealer and manufacturer didn’t give you anything else. So is the Tesla community acting a little bit spoiled here? Absolutely. But it also shows how high Tesla has set the bar with its previous Holiday Updates.

Initial Release and Feedback

The initial release of the 2023 Holiday Update, version 2023.44.25, received mixed reactions from the Tesla community, with some owners expressing disappointment over the lack of groundbreaking new features. But the newly announced features may serve as better stocking stuffers.

The initial rollout included something owners have been asking for, the blind spot monitor. The camera that turns on when you change lanes will now have a red color added if there is something in your blind spot. It’s not clear whether it will be accompanied by a tone.

Here are other features in the leaked update that are being tested by employees:

Navigation and Safety Features: Including symbols for speed cameras, stop signs, and traffic lights in navigation, and the automatic 911 call feature in case of an accident.

Trip Planning via Tesla Mobile App: Allowing for more detailed trip planning, including multiple stops and charging points.

Apple Podcasts Integration: Allowing users to sync with Apple devices for a seamless podcast experience, directly addressing the demand for a richer in-car entertainment system.

New Games and Enhancements: The update brought updates to Tesla Arcade, with Beach Buggy Racing and Polytopia Diplomacy updates, as well as the Vampire Survivors Chilling update.

Light Show Improvements: There’s a new light show that’s included with your vehicle. You’ll also be able to upload several light shows on a single USB drive and pick one from the vehicle, instead of having to use multiple USB drives, one for each light show.

More Live Sentry Mode Cameras: You will now be able to view the B-pillar cameras directly from the Tesla app. This brings the number of viewable cameras in the app up to seven. The only ones still missing are the alternative front-facing cameras that are telephoto and wide-angle, which wouldn’t bring much additional value. Although the B-pillars are viewable in the app with this update, they will still not be used to record during Dashcam or Sentry Mode events.

High-Fidelity Park Assist

Tesla's High Fidelity Park Assist
Tesla's new parking assist feature will dynamically recreate scenes in real-time

In response to the feedback and Musk's statement, Tesla unveiled additional features in its updated holiday update, including an improved park assist with enhanced visualizations.

This feature provides a 3D reconstruction of the vehicle's surroundings while parking, akin to a 360-degree camera system found in other high-end vehicles. The system is clearly leveraging improvements to Tesla Vision to create the surrounding environment, such as cars, pillars and walls.

This feature also appears to change the color of objects depending on how close they are to your vehicle. In the image we can see the pillars are orange, but if we look closer, the object behind the vehicle is also orange near the bottom. The sides of the vehicles next to the Tesla also have a slight hint of orange, indicating their proximity.

However, it looks like this feature may be even better than it initially looks. The vehicles in the image aren’t just predefined 3D models that Tesla created, like the ones used in Autopilot visualizations. These models appear to be dynamically created using vision, so that no two cars would look alike, much more similar to what LiDar is able to achieve. The visualization provides a true representation of the environment around the vehicle. You can see that each vehicle is made up from layers and have blurred edges toward the rear, where the camera would have a hard time seeing.

These 3D models could be a sneak peek at the future of FSD visualizations.

High-Fidelity Park Assist Requirements

A big question on everyone’s mind is who will receive this new park assist feature. Tesla didn’t address this in their post on X besides providing a disclaimer that the features in the holiday release are subject to model and region availability. Tesla often likes to test features in select markets before making them available everywhere. It’s hard to say whether that will be the case here. There likely aren’t any legal ramifications around providing visualizations, so that’s a good sign that this feature will be available in most regions, either in the holiday update, or soon afterward.

However, there are still questions around which models or hardware will be required. From the image shared, we can see it’s offered on a Model Y, removing any speculation of it possibly requiring the HD radar in the new Model S/X. We also don’t think it will require FSD hardware 4.0, so the remaining questions are whether it requires MCU 3, or the FSD package.

Given that Tesla is calling this Park Assist, it doesn’t appear to be linked to Auto Park, which is a FSD package feature. When Tesla rolled out visual and audio alerts for vehicles without ultrasonic sensors, it called the feature Park Assist, and that was available to all owners.

Whether this improved Park Assist feature requires a vehicle with MCU 3 will depend on the level of processing power required. It’ll certainly require more than the current visualizations given that its building the scene in real-time, so we’re hopeful that it’ll work on MCU 2 vehicles too, but we just don’t have enough information right now to make the call.

Custom Lock Sounds

Soon you'll be able to choose a custom locking sound for your car
Soon you'll be able to choose a custom locking sound for your car
Not a Tesla App

Tesla also announced a fun and whimsical feature that allows owners to customize the lock sound of their Tesla. No longer will you need to listen to the car’s horn when it locks as you walk away. Now you’ll be able to customize the lock sound of the vehicle. Tesla is including several options, including sounds like a screaming goat, a jingle, a rubber ducky, a quack sound, an old school horn and applause. However, you’ll also be able to upload your own file to create a truly unique experience.

You can pick anything, from a bird’s tweet to a favorite video game sound. You’ll only be limited by the maximum upload file size, which according to a Tesla engineer, is a 1MB file in WAV format, which is roughly about 40 seconds at good quality.

This feature is possible due to the vehicle’s external pedestrian warning speaker. So if you have Tesla’s Boombox feature or your vehicle makes a sound when traveling under 20 MPH, then you should receive this fun enhancement.

Rear Seat Audio and Gaming

You'll now be able to play games on Tesla's rear screens
You'll now be able to play games on Tesla's rear screens

Enhancing the Tesla Arcade experience, passengers in the rear seats can now play games on the rear touchscreen. This feature, especially when paired with Tesla Arcade’s compatibility with PS4, PS5, Xbox Controllers, and rear-screen Bluetooth Headsets, is a welcome addition for families and long trips.

Much like the new Model 3, which received rear audio over Bluetooth support in the 2023.38 update, the new Model S and Model X will also receive this ability in the holiday update.

New Game - Castle Doombad

Tesla announced one other feature in the 2023 holiday update that hadn’t been previously leaked, and that’s a new game called Castle Doombad. Castle Doombad is a single player tower defense, puzzle-like game that’s currently available on iOS and Android, but has an upcoming release on PC and the Nintendo Switch. This game is expected to require MCU 3.

Release Timeline

The rollout of the 2023 Holiday Update is expected to follow a similar timeline to last year. Tesla announced that the update will roll out starting next week. However, it’s not clear whether this will also include FSD Beta testers that are on a 2023.27 update.

Looking back at the 2022 Holiday Update, it started on December 13 and took about a week to get to the entire fleet.

Speculation on Future Features

Like a spoiled child on Christmas morning, Tesla owners still ask, “Is that it?” Well… possibly, but there may be more to look forward to early next year as Tesla builds off of the new High-Fidelity Park Assist feature.

Advanced Smart Summon: Upgrading the Smart Summon feature to be more intuitive and efficient, especially in complex parking scenarios.

Reverse Summon / Park Seek: What happened to Tesla dropping its passengers and driver off at the location and then finding a parking spot on its own?

Enhanced FSD Visualizations: Expanding the Full Self-Driving visualizations to more regions or models or completely recreating the FSD visualizations using the same neural networks Tesla is using for the High-Fidelity Park Assist feature.

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