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Key Fob Range/charging connector?

I park my Tesla in the left-most garage in our house, with my UMC cable hanging on that wall by my charging port. My wife parks her vehicle next to mine (on the right), so the layout of our garage requires me to walk behind her car to get to mine when I'm leaving. So I always approach my car from the back right to the back left. I walk behind the car around to my UMC, where I unplug it. Problem is, the car doesn't want to recognize my key fob when I'm standing behind the charging cable. Because of this, I have trouble getting the charging cable to unlock. I press the button and it acts as if I am a stranger trying to unplug the vehicle - it won't let me. So I have to either carefully step over the cable to get closer to the front of the car, or go back around the other side to get the handles to present, then the charger disengages normally when I press the button.

I'm wondering if this is a key fob issue, a car/fob recognition issue or something else (interference or something like that)? Other than this, the key fob seems to work normally. I'd love to find a solution to this so I'm not having to do a silly dance around my car every morning to unplug the connector. :confused:


Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
Boise, ID
Ah yes. This has been known for a while and has been nicknamed “the Tesla two-step”. The antennas for the fob are in the side mirrors, I think, and they only detect to a distance of something like three or four feet, which only reaches to about the pillar or the rear door. If you are at the back of the car, it probably can’t “see” your fob yet. So the two-step is having to move forward to the back door area for the car to see your fob and unlock, and then you can go back to the charge port to unhook the cable. Or, you can of course just pull the fob out of your pocket and manually unlock it as you are walking through the garage, so you don’t have to do that move back and forth.

- - - Updated - - -

I should add, just for completeness, that there is one other fob sensor (locations are shown in the manual), but it acts differently than the others. There is one at the very back of the car, at the lift gate. It is there so that if you reach in and pull the lift gate release button, it will detect if the fob is there to release the lift gate or not. But walking behind the back of the car through the field of that sensor does not automatically unlock and present the door handles like the side sensors do.
Thanks for the feedback. Regarding the trunk, I was actually going to mention that in my original post but thought it might be allowing me to open it because the car was unlocked or something. I always open the trunk first to put my bag in no problem, then to (locked) charge port, then do the two step. Was wondering why the back would open without the handles presenting/charger unlocking. Good to know!


Electrical Engineer
Aug 8, 2012
You can also double-click the center button on the fob to unlock the car, then the charge cable button will release the handle. A long press on the rear fob button also opens the charge port, so it might also unlock the handle. (not tested)

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