Turn Off Bluetooth To Stop Your Tesla From Being Stolen

Electric Vehicles / 6 Comments

Model Y owner claims his car was stolen while he was fast asleep.

A Tesla Model Y owner on Reddit is urging other owners to turn off passive entry into their vehicles (for Model S and X) or remove your phone as a key (Model 3 and Y) if you sleep within 30 feet of the car. The owner "NextBestSong" claims his Model Y was stolen two days ago from his San Francisco apartment.

Now, Tesla's aren't as easy to steal as Dodge Chargers, of which 1,000 were pilfered around Detroit last year. We'll accept that a Tesla might be hard to catch--they're quick--but probably not as hard to catch as a Porsche 911 GT3. We'll note that the car was recovered the following day for an interesting reason. But first, here's the story.

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The apartment-dwelling owner found that the passive entry on his Model Y "is enabled by default without the option to disable." He worried that his phone's proximity to the vehicle was close enough that it could be unlocked while sleeping. But after testing it, the car was locked when he went down to check.

He tried Sentry Mode the first night, which, when activated, uses the 360-degree exterior cameras to monitor the environment around the car when it's left unattended and starts recording if it detects any suspicious activity. "It was set off 100 times without anyone near the car. So that used significant battery, and I have to use superchargers while living here so decided to keep Sentry Mode off after that first night," he said.

He should have kept it activated.

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"Last night, someone was able to get into the car even though I'd locked it from the app the night before. They were able to drive it almost a mile away. Apparently, Teslas can continue driving without a key card or phone inside the car, so long as it's initially unlocked with the phone nearby. When the car was parked again, they couldn't put it in drive again since it was outside the phone's proximity. Thankfully they must not have known that and didn't make it far before putting the car in park."

The police found the car the next day "in the middle of a lane a mile away." The owner didn't even realize it was missing because he hadn't left the apartment. The cops drove him to the car, where his glovebox was still locked safely. He noted that's he's thankful the box can't be opened manually, a feature he was annoyed with at first.

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He says he talked to two Tesla representatives, the second more helpful than the first, who confirmed that the phone could unlock the car with the passive entry within 30 feet, but the RFID entry card can only be used pressed against the driver's door. His plan now is to disable mobile access or turn off Bluetooth every night, which is what makes the connection.

News you can use: Turn off passive entry if you can in your Tesla, keep your RFID card in your pocket, and keep Sentry Mode on if possible.

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