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Breaking into a Model Y

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
Had a good-up over the weekend that got me to learn how to break in to my car. Turned out it is extremely easy.

I drove out into the middle of nowhere in the woods to practice some trials on my new electric trials bike, closest cell reception is 20 miles away. Then I thought, well, if I leave my phone on it'll drain battery, so I put the phone into airplane mode and close the trunk. And I changed out into riding gear and my credit card clip is also inside.

Oh *sugar*! The car locked itself and now I'm screwed!

Not so fast. We had a piece of roof flashing, basically a strip of soft sheet metal folded 90 degrees. I folded it all the way to flat. You can pull the front door window down a little with your palms. Then pry it out, basically just fingers is good if you have strong hands, and have some stick ready to jam it in there. On my car at least, it is possible to get the upper back edge of the driver window at least 2cm or 2/3" out. Then slide the folded sheet metal stick up towards the front and press the door opening button. Alarm goes off and I get to grab my card key and phone.

Whew. Now I'm thinking I'll order another card key and hide it somewhere on the outside of the car, behind the hitch cover or something, to not have to do this again.
 

BreatheEasier

Member
Mar 26, 2020
550
366
Northern Virginia
Had a good-up over the weekend that got me to learn how to break in to my car. Turned out it is extremely easy.

I drove out into the middle of nowhere in the woods to practice some trials on my new electric trials bike, closest cell reception is 20 miles away. Then I thought, well, if I leave my phone on it'll drain battery, so I put the phone into airplane mode and close the trunk. And I changed out into riding gear and my credit card clip is also inside.

Oh *sugar*! The car locked itself and now I'm screwed!

Not so fast. We had a piece of roof flashing, basically a strip of soft sheet metal folded 90 degrees. I folded it all the way to flat. You can pull the front door window down a little with your palms. Then pry it out, basically just fingers is good if you have strong hands, and have some stick ready to jam it in there. On my car at least, it is possible to get the upper back edge of the driver window at least 2cm or 2/3" out. Then slide the folded sheet metal stick up towards the front and press the door opening button. Alarm goes off and I get to grab my card key and phone.

Whew. Now I'm thinking I'll order another card key and hide it somewhere on the outside of the car, behind the hitch cover or something, to not have to do this again.

When I first received my MY last summer I accidentally locked myself out, but then I used the app on my phone to unlock the doors. Given that I now carry my card key in my wallet, I use my fob for day-to-day, and also have my phone app, I'm not sure of a scenario where I need to do what you describe, but happy to hear it worked for you!

In my opinion, it is no harder to break into a MY than any other car, frameless windows or not. Potentially use PIN to drive to help make it a little harder, but a good thief can steal any car of their choosing. Maybe some won't disable tracking as quickly as others, and you are lucky to track down your car, but at the end of the day, that's what insurance is for.
 

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
When I first received my MY last summer I accidentally locked myself out, but then I used the app on my phone to unlock the doors. Given that I now carry my card key in my wallet, I use my fob for day-to-day, and also have my phone app, I'm not sure of a scenario where I need to do what you describe, but happy to hear it worked for you!

In my opinion, it is no harder to break into a MY than any other car, frameless windows or not. Potentially use PIN to drive to help make it a little harder, but a good thief can steal any car of their choosing. Maybe some won't disable tracking as quickly as others, and you are lucky to track down your car, but at the end of the day, that's what insurance is for.

Yes I'm not at all upset that it's so easy to open, you can't really drive off anyway and if thieves want something from the car they'll likely just break the window and grab it. Why are you carrying a fob at all? What does it offer over cell phone bluetooth pairing?

This was a perfect storm of no cell signal and all the means to open a car are locked inside. If I was in an area with cell signal I'd just need to call my woman and ask her to unlock our car via her phone.
 
Nov 3, 2019
244
271
Green Valley AZ
Speaking of locked model Ys... The other day, at home, I tried to enter my MY. It was locked(?). I hadn't locked it, but, no biggie. I went and got my credit card "key." Car wouldn't open. Wouldn't open with my cell phone either. Opened with my wife's FOB.

Not a clue what that was all about.

Rich
 

Puma2020

Member
Jun 16, 2020
400
418
New Hampshire, USA
Not a clue what that was all about.
Did you have Bluetooth turned on?

Not sure why the credit card key wouldn't work.
If you go into menu system -> Locks, it will show you all of the "keys" that it knows of and when they were last used.
You can see if the key card is still registered. To re-register it, you will need a valid key card. A phone or fob will not work.
 

N1L CO2

Member
Jul 10, 2020
384
253
OC, CA
I wear a ring instead of carrying the card. It works out well in all "emergency" situations. It helps me stay more active too (i.e I go for runs and don't have to carry the card in my pocket). I lock my wallet in the glovebox then go.

As for the break-in scenarios, it's all about deterrence than prevention. You can't prevent some thief from taking your car but you can make it hard so that they move on to the next, more vulnerable car. If someone had to do what the OP did to get into your car in any normal surrounding, it would have been seen and recorded on Sentry. :cool:
 
Nov 3, 2019
244
271
Green Valley AZ
Did you have Bluetooth turned on?

Not sure why the credit card key wouldn't work.
If you go into menu system -> Locks, it will show you all of the "keys" that it knows of and when they were last used.
You can see if the key card is still registered. To re-register it, you will need a valid key card. A phone or fob will not work.

BT was on. Tesla app showed I was connected. The card worked once my wife's FOB got me into the car. My phone also worked after that.

Again, a head scratchier.

Rich
 
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Wilber

Member
Oct 17, 2015
99
90
Mill Valley, CA
That is puzzling! What i will add is that i have learned the keycard is very touchy as to exactly where you touch it on the pillar. If you are 1 inch too high or 1 inch too low it simply doesnt work.
 

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
If you were going to call your woman to unlock the car, you presumably used a phone that you could use to unlock the car. :rolleyes:

If the phone is in the car, of course not. Luckily mine and hers are not the only 2 phones in existence, and I'm not beyond asking a friend or an innocent bystander to make a call/text.
 

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
BT was on. Tesla app showed I was connected. The card worked once my wife's FOB got me into the car. My phone also worked after that.

Again, a head scratchier.

Rich

I've noticed sometimes the car takes a bit longer to wake up and become responsive to things like my phone being around or me waving the charger plug around with a button pressed waiting for the charge port door to open.
 

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
I wear a ring instead of carrying the card. It works out well in all "emergency" situations. It helps me stay more active too (i.e I go for runs and don't have to carry the card in my pocket). I lock my wallet in the glovebox then go.

As for the break-in scenarios, it's all about deterrence than prevention. You can't prevent some thief from taking your car but you can make it hard so that they move on to the next, more vulnerable car. If someone had to do what the OP did to get into your car in any normal surrounding, it would have been seen and recorded on Sentry. :cool:

Huh, what ring? You can use something with bluetooth radio other than a cell phone bluetooth as a key to open the car?

Edit: ohh I got it, an $125 ring that has RFID and can be set up to use instead of the card. Cool!
 
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dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
If you were going to call your woman to unlock the car, you presumably used a phone that you could use to unlock the car. :rolleyes:

Oh wait, maybe I don't know something -- can you unlock the car from ANY phone, maybe via tesla.com? For all I know, you can't unlock it remotely in any other way but with a phone app that was previously paired with the car.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,417
4,517
Kaneohe, HI
Yes I'm not at all upset that it's so easy to open, you can't really drive off anyway and if thieves want something from the car they'll likely just break the window and grab it. Why are you carrying a fob at all? What does it offer over cell phone bluetooth pairing?

This was a perfect storm of no cell signal and all the means to open a car are locked inside. If I was in an area with cell signal I'd just need to call my woman and ask her to unlock our car via her phone.
Options.
You could take at least one spare programmed key card with you and bury it at the base of a tree or a small lanyard for a squirrel in the woods. And there's a couple of companies that are making a ring out of a key card. You simply program it to match your car. And there's a Youtube video and stories of a girl that embedded the contents of the key card in her arm. Now she just walks up and holds her wrist-ish near her B Pillar and unlocks. You could do that, not instead of, but too.
 

Akikiki

A'-Lo-HA ! y'all
Nov 26, 2012
6,417
4,517
Kaneohe, HI
Oh wait, maybe I don't know something -- can you unlock the car from ANY phone, maybe via tesla.com? For all I know, you can't unlock it remotely in any other way but with a phone app that was previously paired with the car.
A smartphone offers you two choices. 1) if you have service, you can log into the app, connect to the car and unlock. 2) is you Bluetooth pair it to the car and unlock it. And since you brought it up, you could be in an area that has no cell service for your carrier, but a different carrier does have service where you stand. Its a little likely/unlikely that most carriers could be out of range/service, but possible. These days there's only two or three cell tower companies that lease space to all the carriers in the areas. So, since they don't fight over ownership of towers the tower companies have multiple carriers on the same tower.

Of course, there's also the frustration that you might have service on a T-Mobile or Verizon smartphone, but the car is out of at&t's cell range so you can connect to the Tesla server, but the servers' can't connect to the car. Want to know a trick that some people have made work (so they have said?) They used the cell phone with service, and turned on the phone's hot spot, they used the same WiFi SSID on the hotspot and password that they used on their home network. So, the car connected to the smartphone's hotspot thinking it was on its home's WiFi. Then they used the smartphone to download the Tesla app, and logged in and unlocked the car.

I said you put your phone in the car. I wondered why you didn't take it with you on the ride. Maybe the risk of losing it? You could also get an old phone, a cheap new phone, or a burner phone and carry it vice your good one.

I'm a fan of the TV show Person of Interest. Seven seasons of what 20+ episodes each season? Everybody depends on cell phones. They lose them, step on and break them, throw them in the river, shot them even simply take the other guys phones so he doesn't have a phone. Even in the last couple of seasons they used that hybrid TV antenna network to talk to each other, and always had another spare at the house ready to go. But everytime I saw them lose a phone, they never had a back up, a spare, a second phone on their person. Why? The bad guys or good guys stopped looking on the person when they found the first. Would have been easy to carry/hide a spare/second. Never understood that.
 
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jcanoe

Active Member
Oct 2, 2020
2,208
2,178
Maryland
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, other Ford vehicles, have a vehicle option for a hidden touch key pad on the B pillar. The key pad can be used to lock and unlock the vehicle, open the trunk or hatch. Ford has offered similar keypad options for what seems like 30 years.

Some of GM's OnStar service plans include the ability to call OnStar, ask the representative to unlock your vehicle. OnStar will ask you to provide your PIN before they will unlock the vehicle. This requires the vehicle to be parked in a location with cell phone service.

It should be possible for Tesla to use one of the driver's side cameras for facial recognition.
 

dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
I just ordered up an extra card from Tesla and I'll just hide it somewhere, like behind the black plastic rear bumper cover where the hitch access port is.
 
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dakh

Supporting Member
Jun 14, 2015
1,139
2,493
Seattle, WA
A smartphone offers you two choices. 1) if you have service, you can log into the app, connect to the car and unlock. 2) is you Bluetooth pair it to the car and unlock it. And since you brought it up, you could be in an area that has no cell service for your carrier, but a different carrier does have service where you stand. Its a little likely/unlikely that most carriers could be out of range/service, but possible. These days there's only two or three cell tower companies that lease space to all the carriers in the areas. So, since they don't fight over ownership of towers the tower companies have multiple carriers on the same tower.

Of course, there's also the frustration that you might have service on a T-Mobile or Verizon smartphone, but the car is out of at&t's cell range so you can connect to the Tesla server, but the servers' can't connect to the car. Want to know a trick that some people have made work (so they have said?) They used the cell phone with service, and turned on the phone's hot spot, they used the same WiFi SSID on the hotspot and password that they used on their home network. So, the car connected to the smartphone's hotspot thinking it was on its home's WiFi. Then they used the smartphone to download the Tesla app, and logged in and unlocked the car.

I said you put your phone in the car. I wondered why you didn't take it with you on the ride. Maybe the risk of losing it? You could also get an old phone, a cheap new phone, or a burner phone and carry it vice your good one.

I'm a fan of the TV show Person of Interest. Seven seasons of what 20+ episodes each season? Everybody depends on cell phones. They lose them, step on and break them, throw them in the river, shot them even simply take the other guys phones so he doesn't have a phone. Even in the last couple of seasons they used that hybrid TV antenna network to talk to each other, and always had another spare at the house ready to go. But everytime I saw them lose a phone, they never had a back up, a spare, a second phone on their person. Why? The bad guys or good guys stopped looking on the person when they found the first. Would have been easy to carry/hide a spare/second. Never understood that.

Ok so you would have to have the phone already authorized, you can't just grab a friend's phone, punch in your password and unlock a car (in case there's cell serice)? Heck I might try it today, have some old phones laying around that would work.

On why I didn't take the phone, I simply didn't have pockets in my riding gear and didn't want to take a backpack this time since we were training very close to where we parked. The main lessons really are 1) don't put phone into airplane mode or turn it off and lock it in the car and 2) have a working key strapped to the car somewhere so you can drive off if you got no normal means to activate it.
 
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