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Random lockouts

darylhuff

Member
Nov 1, 2019
6
2
San Jose, CA
We all know about the infamous mass lockout that occurred on Labor Day, 2019 where owners were unable to unlock their cars with just the phone app. The card still worked, just not the phone app for a few hours.

Over the past 2 weeks I have been locked out of my Tesla Model 3 (purchased June 2019) on three different occasions. On all three occasions I have been unable to unlock the car with my iPhone app, or with either of the keycards pressed against the pillar beside the drivers door and Tesla has not been able to do it remotely. No command I sent from the phone to the car worked save one (I'll come to that). Of course I couldn't unlock the door, nor could I pop the trunk or the frunk, ... I had Tesla service on the phone for all occasions and they could "see" the car online, and when they issued commands to the car, they appeared to work from their side (such as unlock the car) but at the car nothing happened. Tesla sent someone out to "break into" the car.

The third party arrived about 30 minutes later and was starting the "airbag between the window and pillar" technique of breaking into the car. While they were setting up to do that, I thought of the "vent" function in the iPhone app that vents all 4 windows. I tried that, and miraculously the windows rolled down an inch or so. Still, nothing else worked from the phone to the car (nor the physical card). With the windows vented it was trivial to "break into" the car.

Once in the car though, the car was still "asleep". The rear view mirrors were still folded back in park mode. The car wouldn't go into drive or reverse and the mirrors stayed folded back. I tried putting the card on the appropriate place on the center console (just under the armrest) and still no joy. I then remembered that I had recently (a few days before) installed a USB drive and enabled DashCam and Sentry Mode. As I slid the USB drive out of the USB port, the car came to life and was fine.

The car drove fine with no problems for a few days, then 5 days later it happened again while my wife had the car. We called Tesla and she used the vent mode on the phone (still the only thing that worked from the phone to the car) so that she could easily break into the car herself. When she got into the car, same result, the car was still asleep. She thought that maybe I had put the USB stick back in the car (I hadn't) so she lifted the cover to look for the USB drive, and as the cover was lifting, the car sprang back to life.

Then 2 days ago it happened again. The same steps worked. She vented the windows, broke into the car and started "fiddling" with things until the car worked again. At this point she had taken to "stashing" her "break in rod" under the car when she parked. This time she drove straight to our local Tesla Service Center. They spent an hour looking through the logs and could find nothing wrong. It was the day the latest firmware pushed so they wanted to install the firmware while it was there and see if it came up with any errors. After another 45 minute wait and the firmware installed, no errors.

My wife will no longer drive the car for fear of being locked out and not being able to get back into the car. I live in CA so if does happen again the car is by definition a lemon and back it goes to Tesla.

I've scoured the Internet, and can't find anyone else that has had this experience. I'm hoping that me posting this will trigger someone to respond that has had the problem and knows of a solution. I'd rather not lemon the car, but if it happens again I will.
 
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cOoTeR

Member
Aug 31, 2019
280
348
Arizona
Hopefully they can find a fix. In most cases of lemon law the manufacturer has to attempt to fix the problem a certain number of times and still have the issue. Going to the service center once and them not being able to replicate the issue might not qualify as a repair attempt for lemon law. But it varies state to state.
 

Occar

Member
Jun 20, 2019
163
263
TN
We all know about the infamous mass lockout that occurred on Labor Day, 2019 where owners were unable to unlock their cars with just the phone app. The card still worked, just not the phone app for a few hours.

No we don't because such a thing didn't really occur like you're implying. And definitely not on Model 3s. Did plenty of websites report it that way? Sure. Was it accurate? No. The people who were locked out were indeed people using the phone app, but not the phone key feature which is what was implied at the time. Basically, if you had an S or an X and for some reason were using the backup access via phone controls instead of carrying your key fob, you had an issue. Model 3s which intend you to use your phone as a key still worked perfectly fine. Could you click the unlock button in the app? No. But that's the backup functionality just like the S and X. Your phone still worked fine as a key which doesn't require any sort of cell connection or server availability at all.

The same silly folks who would have been impacted by this are the same ones who also would be SOL if they drove their car to a no-AT&T service area and stopped it. Honestly, they were just doing something extremely ill advised to begin with.
 

Kilotango74

Active Member
Apr 2, 2019
1,350
1,278
Palmdale, CA
I would like to see some credible info on the “infamous mass lockout that occurred on Labor Day”. It’s so infamous that I have never heard of it. Please supply links

by the way OP nice first and only post.
 

Occar

Member
Jun 20, 2019
163
263
TN
I would like to see some credible info on the “infamous mass lockout that occurred on Labor Day”. It’s so infamous that I have never heard of it. Please supply links

Oh, it happened alright. It happened to the few Model S and Model X owners that for some reason didn't actually carry their key and relied on the app's ability to have the Tesla mothership unlock and allow their cars to start. Well, that's not really "mass", but still. It got reported in quite a few places without that little tidbit with the implication that every model 3 owner was affected because our phones are our primary keys (when none of them should have been because the phone as a key feature doesn't rely on server connectivity or anything other than bluetooth).

Maybe a couple of 3 owners logged out of the app previously (which may break the phone key feature?) and couldn't get back in?
 

Kilotango74

Active Member
Apr 2, 2019
1,350
1,278
Palmdale, CA
Oh, it happened alright. It happened to the few Model S and Model X owners that for some reason didn't actually carry their key and relied on the app's ability to have the Tesla mothership unlock and allow their cars to start. Well, that's not really "mass", but still. It got reported in quite a few places without that little tidbit with the implication that every model 3 owner was affected because our phones are our primary keys (when none of them should have been because the phone as a key feature doesn't rely on server connectivity or anything other than bluetooth).

Maybe a couple of 3 owners logged out of the app previously (which may break the phone key feature?) and couldn't get back in?
My point is that on their first post the OP is misrepresenting information to attempt to paint a wider picture of a localized issue. Spreading FUD.
 

Occar

Member
Jun 20, 2019
163
263
TN
Sure. That's why I posted the correction to begin with. I was just having a little fun with your post.
 

darylhuff

Member
Nov 1, 2019
6
2
San Jose, CA
I was locked out of my car again (not the mass lockout, just my car). I have another service appointment scheduled. I did talk to a Lemon Law Attorney and cOoTeR above was correct. In CA there have to be 3 service appointments scheduled before the car is actually lemoned (not just them sending out a person to break into my car). The good news is though that the odometer effectively stops on the first service incident. If the car ends up being repurchased by Tesla, the value is based on the mileage at the first service incident.

So, either Tesla will figure out what is wrong with my car, or I'm driving my car for just the electricity it take to charge it. I know how to "break into" the car and get it going again which is pretty inconvenient and not acceptable in the long run, but at least I'm not completely stranded. In the end I'll have a Tesla 3 that works -- either my current one or it's replacement.
 

NOLADriver

Member
Sep 16, 2019
368
466
New Orelans, LA
Thats a pretty interesting dilemma, I am curious the outcome of this. I will bet they do a fresh operating system install and then start checking inputs into it for a short.

@Occar You realize you said the exact same thing as he did ? lol....But because you are weirdly emotional about the event you went on a diatribe to say the exact same thing the OP did about the phone not working but the card working...He was just being general about it.
 

Occar

Member
Jun 20, 2019
163
263
TN
I do realize I said the same thing ;)

I was being a bit cheeky about it, admittedly. And yes, it is pretty frustrating as that story was parroted on another site that I frequent where the author didn't bother with a retraction or correction even after he was corrected in the comments. Comments that he participated in, so there is no way he didn't see. So seeing someone on here repeat it as fact irked me a bit.
 
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