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Suddenly facing "Key not in vehicle, unable to drive" unless it is sitting in rear of the console - WTH?

BurntOC

Member
May 27, 2018
57
17
SoCal
So my mid 2018 Model S suddenly started acting differently, as it is refusing to acknowledge the key in the car unless placed in the rear of the console near the USB ports. For 3 years I've been able to have it in my pockets, just about anywhere in the console, on the passenger seat, etc. and it worked fine, except for very rare instances when other objects in my pocket blocked the fob from being detected. Even then, removing it from my pocket hooked me right up. Now this. I've checked and this is happening with both of my fobs. I replaced the battery on mine, too, and no help. Rebooting hasn't helped either.

This "feels" like a bug as I've had two software updates in the last week or two and I just don't see how a hardware failure would allow it to be recognized in that specific area but not within the broader interior as it had before. Anyone have any ideas why this would happen and how to fix it?
 

BurntOC

Member
May 27, 2018
57
17
SoCal
Oh yeah, and the key works fine to lock/unlock, and I even tried the Fob Update in the settings and placed my key in the designated area and it tells me my fob is up to date.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,469
866
Kentucky
Tesla tech support asked me when I had this issue..."Is your phone in the cradle charging when this happens?" Particularly Samsung, and some other phones evidently block the key from being seen by the receiver when it is charging. They replaced my phone charger on my 2020, but it still does this sometimes. It is likely RF interference around the console.
 

EVRider-FL

Active Member
Aug 18, 2015
1,026
581
South Florida
Which update(s) are you suspecting are causing the problem? Haven’t seen this issue in my 2018 Model S. I last replaced the fob battery about a year ago if I recall correctly. I’ve only ever used one of the two fobs.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,469
866
Kentucky
I think there has only been one security update to the key fobs since 2018. If you haven't tried to update your key fobs, do this:

For increased security, your key fob may require periodical updates. To update your key fob, go to Controls > Service > Update Key
Fob and follow the onscreen instructions. Your vehicle must be in Park to update the key fob.
 

BurntOC

Member
May 27, 2018
57
17
SoCal
Hey @DerbyDave and @EVRider-FL - I appreciate your responses. Unfortunately I didn't get a notification of them, so I guess I'll go check my settings. In any case, I'd definitely tried the key fob update and it said they were good. I'd also replaced the fob battery. Cleared the console area out while troubleshooting, too, and the phone wasn't charging or in the cradle - I'd unplugged all USB items as well to try to get to eliminate variables. Nothing helped.

I had Tesla mobile service come by as I suspected it was a bug and/or it would require a 12V reset based on some searches talking about modules locking up and causing similar weirdness. Sure enough, he was back at my door in about 10 minutes after having done some quick testing and performing a 12V reset and it is working normally again.
 
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