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Auto lock based on distance or time?

I've been a little unhappy with the walk-away locking function because I thought it took too long to lock; not that anyone would steal the car, but I believe they could steal something I left on the seat - and I didn't particularly like having the re-load the Tesla app to lock it. Since then, I've learned from these forums that if I hit the lock icon after opening my door, it will automatically lock when I close the door, and I'm happy with that. I had been searching to a way to decrease the distance to the walk-away lock function, which it seems one can't do, but I found an alternate solution. Good.

Then I discovered something unexpected: I was sitting outside the car about 3' from the front bumper, waiting on the Home Depot team to deliver me my correct on-line order (with the back seat window open) -- then suddenly the car closed its windows, folded in its mirrors, and locked itself. I had thought the auto lock was determined on distance I would walk from the car, but now I'm wondering if it's based on time, instead. Or is this some other feature that I don't know about, that will lock the car if left "unattended"?


Do the math. Save the world. — Mark Leon
Dec 26, 2019
Silicon Valley
It could be a combination of factors but I think the main factor is signal strength which can vary with distance from the phone to the car's antenna (which IIRC people report is in the right side view mirror on both left and right hand drive cars???), nearby Bluetooth radios, and maybe reflectors like other vehicles. Perhaps also the phone could be slow to respond at times.

BTW you can set the car to honk when it does walk-away locking. That's a big help.


Oct 7, 2020
I believe it's based on a prioritized rule, first signal strength, then time. If you leave your phone in the car (e.g., signal > 99%), it will never lock. Once the car knows your phone is outside, I believe it starts a timer. If I get out with my phone, but stand right next to the car, it will lock in about 5 seconds. If I get out and walk away quickly, I can get fairly far before it locks. I believe the time is fixed.

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