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Tesla owners say they've been trapped in their cars. Here's how to manually open a Tesla door

Tesla Owners Say Theyve Been Trapped In Their Cars Heres How To Manually Open A Tesla Door

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A retracting door handle on a Tesla.Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
  • Numerous Tesla owners say they have been trapped inside their EVs after they lost power.
  • Teslas come with manual door releases, but they can be hard to find without the owner’s manual.
  • Business Insider has compiled a guide on how to find them in a range of different Tesla models.

Numerous Tesla owners have said they’ve been stuck inside their EVs after the cars suddenly lost power.

Firefighters recently had to rescue a toddler from a locked Tesla after the car’s battery died.

Renee Sanchez told reporters at On Your Side, a segment in the local outlet Arizona’s Family, that her EV’s battery died after she put her 20-month-old granddaughter in the car and went to get in the front seat.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they used an ax to break the car’s window to rescue the child, the report said.

YouTuber Tom Exton claimed back in 2022 that his Tesla Model Y ordered him to pull over before it suddenly lost power and left him unable to exit.

Exton said he followed the instructions for the manual release to open the door, but that this “somehow broke the driver’s window.”

Another Tesla driver, Rick Meggison, told Arizona-based TV station ABC 15 last summer that he got trapped inside his Model Y vehicle for around 20 minutes on a 100-degree day. He said he couldn’t open the doors or windows as the battery had died.

Meggison, who was 73 years old at the time, said he called his sister who was able to open the passenger door using the Tesla app — but that also cracked the car’s window, he said.

The manual door release can be tricky to find unless you’ve combed through your car’s owner’s manual.

To help Tesla owners avoid getting into the same situation, here is a short guide on how to locate and activate the manual door releases in the Model S, 3, X, and Y.

Model S 

The Tesla Model S.
The Tesla Model S.Tesla

To manually open the front doors when a Model S loses power, you need to pull up the release tab that’s found in front of the window switches on the door panel, the Tesla owner’s manual says.

To open the rear doors, pull back the carpet below the back seats to expose the emergency door release cable, the manual says, adding that you then need to pull the cable “toward the center” of the car.

YouTuber @TeslaInventory, who posts videos about his experience with Teslas on his channel, said that the front doors of a Tesla Model S would still work even if the car lost power, but the rear doors would not.

He also says the manual release will override the car’s child lock.

Model 3 

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3.Tesla

The Model 3 owner’s manual states that “only the front doors are equipped with a manual door release.”

To open the front doors in the event that the car loses power, you need to pull up the manual release that’s located just in front of the window switch panel on the door.

Model X 

The Tesla Model X.
The Tesla Model X.Tesla

The front doors of the Model X can also be opened using a manual door release that you can find in front of the window buttons, the owner’s manual says.

If the power drops out, you can open the rear doors using a mechanical release found behind the speaker grille, which you need to remove from the vehicle’s door, the manual adds.

You then need to “pull the mechanical release cable down and towards the front of the vehicle” before lifting up the door to open it.

Model Y

The Tesla Model Y.
The Tesla Model YTesla

You can also find the manual door release for the Model Y’s front seats in front of the window switch panel, the owner’s manual says.

The manual makes it clear that not all Model Y cars come with a manual release for the rear seats. For those that do, it is located in the rear doors’ pockets.

You need to remove the mat from the pocket and press a red tab to reveal the manual release cable, which you need to pull forward to open the door.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from BI.

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