I know exactly how frustrating it feels when the key fob stops working. And my one acts weird once in a while too. Thankfully, I have already found a solution that helps to fix this annoying trouble.
You first need to identify the reasons for it, which are:
- Incorrect placement of the battery.
- Key fob’s being dirty.
- The Board test point/trace is broken.
- Low battery message on a touchscreen.
- A glitch in MCU.
Once you are able to select the cause, then it’ll be easy to solve the issue.
Let me bring all the pieces of information in this guide to show you the right way of fixing the Tesla key fob not working problem.
5 Reasons Why Tesla Key Fob Not Working!
Before you buy another key fob or blame it on the battery, it’s wise to look into the real cause that happening inside the device.
Reason #1: Improper Placement Of Battery
If you catch tiny ‘key fob low battery’ signs on one or two key fobs, know that the reason why it’s acting strange is due to the improper alignment of the battery.
This happens when you change the battery the first time without expert help and put too much or less pressure on the surface. That causes the battery to sit unevenly.
Reason #2: Dirt Inside The Key Fob.
When you install a new battery and program the key fob by using the touchscreen monitor (Tesla Model X key fob programming is only possible via service center unlike other series), it still not reacting.
If this happens to you, then this means the issue of dirt inside the key fob. It occurs if you haven’t cleaned the key fob once in 3 or more years.
Reason #3: Cracks In The Board Test Point/Trace
Sometimes when you put a lot of pressure on the battery compartment area, this action cracks the board test point or trace part.
It’s a small and round (golden color circuit) which can be found right above the battery compartment.
The connection of the battery to the circuit board is pretty weak which causes the round part to crack easily.
That’s why a lot of folks face issues like the key fob not working when using extreme force when inserting the battery into its place.
Reason #4: Low Battery Of Key Fob
Another reason why this doesn’t act as usual is due to low battery power. Meaning you have to change the battery as fast as possible to get the key fob working as it works in the usual period.
Reason #5: Glitch In Media Control Unit
The MCU unit can sometimes cause an error message on the touchscreen if it suffering from the problem. If your key fob not working even if it’s all new and the battery seems okay, then the MCU unit is the real culprit.
Troubleshooting Tesla Key Fob (Solutions)
To get rid of all the issues related to the key fob, it’s best to try everything you got. Here’s how to fix issues in Tesla Model X, Y, S, & 3:
Solution #1: Align The Battery Properly.
- Open the back cover of the key fob using a flat tool.
- Take out the battery.
- Align and place the battery on the spot on a level surface.
- Put in the back cover and test whether it operates or not.
Solution #2: Clean The Key Fob.
- Take out the back cover using the flat screwdriver.
- Detach the battery using the same tool.
- Use your hand to remove the side covers. It might need the pressure to get it out.
- Grab a brush and wipe the dust out from the left and right sides.
- Use your fingernail or screwdriver to detach the middle cover.
- Detach the side circuit board using a tweezer.
- Use the electronic cleaner solvent spray on the circuit board and run it using a tiny brush (which has soft bristles).
- After that take another brush and simply wipe out the dust from all the covers.
- Lastly, put everything back in its place and try unlocking your car to confirm the success.
Solution #3: Repair The Broken Circuit Board Test Point.
- Take out all the covers from the key fob with the flat-head tool or fingernail.
- Reach out to the circuit board.
- Plug in the soldering iron to get hot.
- Use the tip of the soldering iron on the solder flux.
- Fix the cracked part using the hot solder flux. Just be sure the tiny round part in the circuit part (test point or trace right above the battery compartment) is attached properly.
- Wait for 45 minutes to 1 hour for it to dry out.
- Then, put everything back in place.
Solution #4: Replace The Battery
No matter if it’s an about low or dead battery, you have to change it. However, you have to identify the signs to know if the replacement of the battery will fix the problem or not.
Suppose your Tesla Model X key fob not working suddenly and show the touchscreen monitor show the error code ‘Key fob battery low’ with ‘see owner’s manual to replace’.
In that situation, you have to replace Tesla Model X key fob battery to fix the error. The same thing goes for the other 3 Tesla Models (Y, S, & 3). Here’s the direction:
- Grab a flat-bladed tool or use your fingernail to detach the bottom cover.
- Take out the battery carefully.
- Place the new battery (Panasonic CR2032) inside the battery compartment area using less force. Do not touch the battery’s flat surface as it’ll lessen the battery lifespan due to finger marks.
- Put the cover back in its place just by aligning the slot part on the key fob using slight force.
- Check if the key fobs working or not.
Note: Be sure the plus sign (+) is facing upward (meaning you can see even if placed).
Solution #5: Reboot The MCU (Media Control Unit)
Before you actually start the reboot procedure, know that the Tesla Model X and S soft reset is slightly different from the Model 3 and Y. That’s why I’ll show the right methods in 2 different sectors:
Reboot Tesla Model X & S
- Place your Tesla car in Park while all the door is turned off.
- Hit the left and right scroll wheels in the steering wheel both at the same period.
- Don’t stop pressing the two buttons until the monitor goes all black.
- Let it be like that until the screen refreshes in 10 – 32 seconds.
Reboot Tesla Model Y & 3
- Hold the left and right scroll wheels on the steering wheel at once.
- Wait for 10 – 32 seconds for the touchscreen and instrumental panel to go black.
- No need to switch to Park mode as you can do it when driving.
Unlock The Car Door If Tesla Key Fob Not Working In 3 Ways!
What if your key fob not working but you have to unlock the car door? In this kind of situation, you’ll need alternative methods. Here’s how to unlock the Tesla easily:
Method #1: Use Tesla App On Your Phone.
- Turn on your phone.
- Switch on the Bluetooth on your phone and Tesla car.
- Connect the Bluetooth.
- Go to the Tesla app.
- Click on the Controls bar.
- There you’ll find Unlock bar at the top. Click on it while you are near the Tesla car.
- Wait for the car to unlock.
Method #2: Use Tesla Key Card.
- Grab the key car near to Tesla car.
- Now, activate Tesla key card on the Card Reader location (center console or driver’s side door pillar).
- Hold it like that for around 2 – 5 seconds.
- Wait for the exterior light to flash, mirrors to unfold or fold (when Fold Mirror is turned on), and horn beeps (when Lock Confirmation Sound is turned on). This way it indicates that the car reads the Tesla key card. Done!
Method #3: Put Key Fob On The Sensor.
- Put the key fob right on the passenger side windshield wiper’s gap areas (black coated part).
- Go to the front door handle and press it on the right side of the vehicle. It’ll unlock the car.
- If it doesn’t work, then try again by placing the key fold at different angles and waiting for the car to read it correctly.
- Once you enter the cabin, place the key fob’s bottom part in the Low Voltage Power Outlet (against the Center Console area). Hold the brake pedal to start the Tesla.
Note: In the LHD vehicle, you have to go to the left side while in the RHD vehicle the location is on the right side.
If your Tesla key fob not working now, try the above techniques after locating the real cause through some serious inspection.
I would suggest you keep the key fob away from severe impact, hot areas, or interior damage through the water.
Just don’t clean it using solvents, waxes, or any sort of cleaners in its exterior parts since the surface contain a sensor with a touchscreen.
Hope you find this guide handy to try in daily life to get rid of the key fob issue. See You In The Next Guide Soon!