Tesla Model 3 Owners & Service Manuals

Tesla Model 3: Starting and Powering Off

Tesla Model 3 2017-2023 Owner's Manual / Driving / Starting and Powering Off


When you open a door, Model 3 powers on the touchscreen and you can operate all controls.

To drive Model 3:

  1. PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL - Model 3 powers on and is ready to drive.
  2. SELECT A GEAR - Move the gear lever all the way down for Drive and all the way up for Reverse.

Note: If the PIN to Drive feature is enabled you must also enter a valid PIN on the touchscreen before you can drive Model 3.

Note: If Passive Entry is off and you do not press the brake pedal to start Model 3 within approximately five minutes, a message displays on the touchscreen and you must use the key to lock then unlock Model 3 again before starting the vehicle.

Everything you need to know when driving Model 3 displays on the touchscreen.

Drive Disabled - Requires Authentication

If Model 3 does not detect a key when you press the brake (an authenticated phone is not detected, or 30 seconds has passed since you used the key card), the touchscreen displays a message telling you that driving requires authentication.

If you see this message, place the key card behind the cup holders on the top of the center console where the RFID transmitter can read it. The 30 second authentication window restarts and you can start Model 3 by pressing the brake pedal.

Drive Disabled - Requires Authentication

A number of factors can affect whether Model 3 can detect an authenticated phone (for example, the phone's battery is low or dead and is no longer able to communicate using Bluetooth).

Always keep your authenticated phone and a key card with you. After driving, your authenticated phone or key card is needed to restart Model 3 after it powers off. And when you leave Model 3, you must bring your authenticated phone or key card with you to lock Model 3, either manually or automatically.

Powering Off

When you finish driving, shift into Park by pressing the button on the end of the gear selector. The parking brake automatically engages and all systems keep operating.

When you leave Model 3 with your authenticated phone and key card, it powers off automatically, turning off the touchscreen.

Model 3 also powers off automatically after being in Park for 15 minutes, even if you are sitting in the driver's seat.

Although usually not needed, you can power off Model 3 while sitting in the driver's seat, provided the vehicle is not moving. Touch Controls > Safety & Security > Power Off.

Model 3 automatically powers back on again if you press the brake pedal or touch the touchscreen.

Note: Model 3 automatically shifts into Park whenever it is determined that you are exiting the vehicle, even when you shift into Neutral before exiting. To keep Model 3 in Neutral, you will need to activate Transport Mode

Restarting the Touchscreen

If your touchscreen is unresponsive or demonstrates unusual behavior, you can restart it to potentially resolve the issue.

Warning: Only restart the touchscreen while the vehicle is stopped and in Park.

The car status display, safety warnings, backup camera, etc. will not be visible during the restart.

  1. Shift into Park.
  2. Hold down both scroll buttons on the steering wheel until the touchscreen turns black.

Restarting the Touchscreen

  1. After a few seconds, the Tesla logo appears. Wait approximately 30 seconds for the touchscreen to restart. If the touchscreen is still unresponsive or demonstrating unusual behavior after a few minutes, try power cycling the vehicle.

Note: Restarting the touchscreen using the scroll buttons does not power Model 3 off and on.

Power Cycling the Vehicle

If your vehicle demonstrates unusual behavior or a nondescript alert is present, you can try power cycling the vehicle to potentially resolve the issue.

  1. Shift into Park.
  2. On the touchscreen, touch Controls > Safety & Security > Power Off.
  3. Wait for at least two minutes without interacting with the vehicle. Do not open the doors, touch the brake pedal, touch the touchscreen, etc.
  4. After two minutes have passed, press the brake pedal or open the door to wake the vehicle.



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