How do you open a Tesla with a dead battery?

Like most electric cars, Tesla also runs on the main traction battery and a 12V lead-acid battery. However, if the 12V battery dies completely, your Tesla will become disabled, meaning that things like doors, windows, and headlights won’t work. So, how can you open a Tesla with a dead battery? 

If your Tesla door is closed and you have a dead battery, you can open the door by charging the 12V battery through the frunk. The 12V battery is the one that powers doors and other auxiliary systems on the Tesla. It is also the same battery that turns on headlights when the main 400V battery goes off. 

What is the procedure for opening a Tesla with a dead battery?

If by chance your frunk 

  1. Get an external 12V jump starter 
  2. Locate the tow eye cover on the front bumper on the driver’s side. The tow cover is usually a large circle. Pop it out by pressing on the uppermost right of the cover till it pushes inside, then pull the cover in your direction. 
  3. Next, you will notice two wires connected to that cover or they will be inside a hole and you will be needed to pull them out slowly. 
  4. Attach the 12V jump starter’s cables to the car’s cables. Start by connecting the jump starter’s red positive cable to your Tesla red positive cable. Next, connect the 12V jump starter’s black negative cable to your car’s black negative cable. 
  5. Employ power using your external jump starter to pop the frunk open. 
  6. After opening the frunk, disconnect the cables. Start with the black and then the red one.
  7. Attach the wires back to the tow cover and place the tow cover back by placing the wires into the opening and aligning the cover into place, beginning with the bottom left corner first, then pushing it into position. 
  8. Next, remove the large black plastic panel housing the 12V lead-acid battery. In most cases, it is based above the frunk compartment. Besides, no tools are needed to open the housing. 
  9. After opening the frunk, you will see the black cabin intake panel, which is usually located on the driver’s side of the car. This panel can also be removed by pulling the clips upwards. 
  10. Next, you can attach the red positive cable from the jump starter to the red positive terminal on the 12V battery. Additionally, attach the black negative cable from the jump starter to the black negative terminal on the battery. 
  11. Switch on power from the external jump starter
  12. Give the car battery about 10 minutes. After a short while, the car will power up its computers. Additionally, you will see the touchscreen turn on. 
  13. After powering the car, disconnect the cables. Normally, you should start by disconnecting the black cable and later on, the red cable. 
  14. Return the black panels you had removed earlier by popping them back in position. Ensure the panels are properly aligned before pushing them in place. Handle them with care as they are very fragile. 
  15. At this juncture, you can open the door even if the main traction 400V battery doesn’t have power. The power in the 12V battery is enough to allow you to open the door and other auxiliary systems. 
  16. Lastly, drive to a charging station to charge your car and you should not turn off the car. If you do so, you may get stuck in the car if you have not fully charged it.  
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N/B: Since Tesla updates you when your 12V battery is about to go out, it is important to charge it in time to avoid the battery going dead. Besides, charging the battery in time also prolongs the life of the battery. 

If you want a visual on how to open a Tesla charge port when battery is dead, then watch the video below.

Video: How to Open Tesla Model X in case Dead battery !!!


How can I move a Tesla with a dead battery from the road?

If your Tesla battery dies in the middle of the road, you don’t have to wait until the tow truck arrives for you to push it aside. As long as the 12V battery has some charge, you can use it to put the car in neutral. Nonetheless, you should push the car slowly and in short distances. 

Note that the 12V battery and 400V batteries work differently. The 400V battery is for running the motor, while the 12v battery is used to power auxiliary functions on the car. So, if the car runs out of battery, the 12V battery will keep the touchscreen on where you can use it to put the car in neutral.  

What happens when a Tesla dies in a remote area?

If your Tesla battery dies in a remote area, you should start by looking for another car to help you jump-start your car. Ensure the car is a combustion engine as electric vehicles can damage their engine if they jump-start other cars. 

However, if there are no cars in the vicinity but you’ve got a lithium-ion jump starter, then you can still jump-start your car. Simply make sure to connect the jump starter cables to the terminals on the 12V battery as needed. Afterward, visit a charging station to fully charge the battery. 

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 Is Tesla good for long-distance driving?

It depends on the route. Some routes are good for long-distance traveling while others are not. So, if your route has several supercharger stations or restrooms where you can access charging, then there is no problem. Nevertheless, if you want to travel a long distance on a route with few charging stations, then it becomes a challenge. 


If your Tesla has a dead battery but you want to open the door, you will require a jump starter to do so. First and foremost, you will have to open the frunk before linking the 12V battery with the jump starter. After powering on the 12V battery, you can now open the door. 

Tesla comes with two batteries: 400V and 12V batteries, The 400V battery is for powering the motor, while the 12V battery is for powering the auxiliary systems, such as the doors. After opening the doors, ensure to leave the windows partly open until you’ve charged the battery fully. 

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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