Tesla Key Card Not Working [8 Ways to Fix]

As a Tesla owner, you can get rid of heavy loads of Key fobs and physical keys when you own a key card to unlock the car.

But like any other electrical device, this card using an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip as a keyless entry system can eventually malfunction.

I have found several common causes why the Tesla Key card not working.

Keep reading to implement simple solutions to know the procedure to fix your Key card.

Why Tesla Key Card is Not Working

tesla keycard not working

The Tesla key card is simple and has only 2 components: copper wires and an RFID chip. The good news is they are unharmed by water and use no battery, unlike key fobs. 

So it goes a long way. But on the contrary, it can snap, and the magnetic field can face interference when it detects other similar devices around. 

So, let’s move ahead to see what causes the Tesla key card to stop working.

1. Temporary Glitch

You will likely tap the card with the Reader, which initially refuses. It’s nothing but a result of a temporary glitch.

Tesla keeps working to improve every software update for users, but an unexpected glitch can temporarily make your Tesla Key card unavailable.

But don’t panic; take a deep breath and return to tap the car on the Tesla driver-side B-pillar again. The software glitch will resolve automatically in the meantime.

2. Key Card Not Paired

When you get a new Tesla, you get two cards. If you assume you are ready to use the card, then my friend, you must reconsider the thought because you must pair both cards in your new Tesla using the central console.

Many users pair one card and forget to pair the other. If, in any case, you damage or lose one key card, the other won’t work until you complete the pairing process, where the central console scanner first scans the already paired card. 

So, you must ensure the card is paired with the Tesla.

3. Defective Key Card

When you handle your key card just like an ordinary card in your wallet, it will get scratched sooner than later. 

Following the damage, the key card would lose its function. You also need to inspect the card for any cracks If the Tesla key card is not working. 

4. Range And Interference Issue

Tesla’s key card works by utilizing NFC (near-field communication technologies). If you do not tap the card at the specific point on the B-pillar, the sensor will not recognize and unlock the car. NFC is a short-range wireless technology. 

So, to unlock the car, make sure that a close magnetic field is not interfering and that you have placed the key card just below the camera over the sensor on the B-pillar.

5. Not Recognized By Central Console

NFC readers are fixed at the b-pillar and central console, where you first authenticate the key card. For some reason, if your Tesla key card authentication fails, the key card will not work. 

So, if that happens as you travel, you’re left with no option other than calling the Tesla roadside service. They will get to you as soon as possible to assist you in the authentication process. 

6. RFID Reader Failed

The RFID readers that scan the Key card can be faulty. If you do not see any visible damage in the key card and the firmware is up to date, your RFID reader may have failed. 

That is an electrical part, so you better call an expert to assist you in changing the Reader.

However, you can repair the RFID reader by Tesla if your car is still under warranty.

7. Tesla Failed To Install New Software Version

Sometimes, you install the latest software version in your Tesla but later discover that it’s rolled back or not installed correctly.

You must check first if the software is up to date and make appropriate decisions afterward.

How To Fix Tesla Key Card That Stops Working

You can fix the error that stops the key card from unlocking the car using a few simple methods. However, remember that it’s cheaper than a key fob.

For just $ 25, you can replace the key card. But let’s first figure out how to fix the Tesla key card not working.

1. Tap The Key Card 

You might have forgotten the fact that the key card reader is located below the camera on the B-pillar. 

you must bring the key card to the B-pillar and tap it. That’s the right way so the near field communication technology unlocks the car after identification. 

Rubbing the car once against the B-pillar is also helpful in some instances. Make sure to tap the card at the appropriate place.

2. Reboot Tesla

You solve the electrical system glitches as you perform a reboot. So, you can reboot the Tesla by the following method.

  • If your car is in Park, press and hold both wheel buttons on the steering wheel for a few seconds until the screen turns off.
  • Leave the scroll buttons and do not interact with the screen. 
  • Wait till the screen turns back on. 
  • You can now try the key card again.

3. Clean The Key Card Surface

The Tesla key card surface needs to be clean so the Reader can identify and unlock it. Clean the card using soft cotton or tissue paper from any dust. 

Visually inspect your Tesla key card for any debris. Clean it thoroughly if something is sticking on its surface. Afterward, clean the surface of the B-pillar using window cleaner spray. 

After you clean the key card and b-pillar surface, tap the key card again on the b-pillar to test.

4. Replace the Damaged Tesla Key Card

If your key card has scratched or broken the card accidentally. Which is visible now after cleaning. Then, you must use the other key card you received when buying a Tesla. 

If that’s now available, you must order the new one. But still, you will need the old card to authenticate the new key card. That’s where Tesla Service Center would step in to help you. They will authenticate the new key cards for you.

5. Recalibrate The Key Card

You can recalibrate the key card using the following method.

  • Unlock the car using your phone or key fob.
  • Ensure your car is in Park mode.
  • Tap the Car icon on the display’s lower left corner to access the ”Controls” menu.
  • Navigate ”Lock” and tap the ”+” sign to add a new Key card.
  • Place the key card behind the cup holder between the driving and passenger seats.
  • It’s where the other NFC reader will detect the card and ask you to scan the old card.
  • You must place the old card on the scanner in the same place.
  • The new Key card will be added to the list and is ready to use.

You have recalibrated the card. 

6. Push Update To Your Tesla

The Card reader would not work if the firmware is not installed correctly. You can call the Tesla service center to resolve the problem.

  • If your Tesla requires you to install the new software version, you can go to ”Controls’‘ and then Navigate to ”Software”.
  • Then tap on ”Advance” and confirm to begin the installation.
  • Talk to the Tesla service if the installation does not resolve the Key card issue. They will push an update to Tesla to fix the problem.

7. Temporary Glitch

If the Key card does not work on the first attempt and has never happened before, it’s probably a temporary glitch.

You need to wait for a few minutes. Come back after some time; the system will clear any glitches in that time and enable the Reader to read the key card to unlock the driver-side door.

8. Replace the NFC Reader

In the end, if the RFID reader in the B-pillar is faulty, then there is no option but to change the part. 

Here is the step-by-step process to replace the B-pillar Reader.

  • Turn off the Tesla by going to ”Controls” and then Navigate to ”Safety”.
  • Scroll down to ”Power off,” and the screen will turn off.
  • Now use a screw gun to remove the screws on the B-pillar.
  • Then, use an appropriate pry tool to remove the rim around the driver-side door.
  • Detach the B-pillar glass with a pry tool and unplug the camera switch.
  • Replace the NFC reader and reattach the B-pillar housing.

The process requires expertise and skill, so It’s better to leave the Tesla with an expert to replace the Reader.

What To Do If You Lost Tesla Key Card?

Tesla gives you two cards when you buy a vehicle. You can still use the other one if the existing key card is lost. 

But you must authenticate both cards as you cannot authenticate the other card if the existing card is lost. In that case, the Tesla service center would help you with authentication.

Can Tesla Key Card Deactivate?

You can deactivate a Tesla key card anytime by deleting the key card link in the Controls.

You must Access the ”Controls” and Navigate the ”Locks”.

Then tap on the name of the key card you want to deactivate and hit the trash icon to complete the process.

Can A Tesla Key Card Be Replaced?

You can replace the old card with the new one anytime after authenticating, following the steps mentioned in the article. Make sure to delete the existing key card from the list.

Can You Start Tesla Without a Key Card?

Yes, the Tesla app allows you to remote start the car remotely. Using that feature, once you start Tesla, you have to drive the vehicle in the next two minutes.

Wrapping Up!

Tracing the root cause and troubleshooting a problem takes patience and dedication. It’s so convenient for me to carry a key card around.

So I don’t mind spending a few hours fixing the problem. However, if the troubleshooting involves changing the B-pillar card reader, I highly recommend you ask an expert to do it.

Remember to keep the spare key card with you on long routes. I hope the compilation of key card troubleshooting methods helped you.

Happy Reading!

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References

How To Recalibrate the Key Card

How NFC Works in Automotives

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