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How to turn off a Tesla

Driving a Tesla is unlike almost any other vehicle, but how do you turn it off when you’re done?

Tesla badge on rear of model 3
Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

Quick Answer: Tesla cars don’t have engines to turn off, and they power off automatically. To power off your Tesla, enter the Park mode (which might differ on different models) and leave the car with your phone and key card. After 15 minutes in Park, the vehicle will turn off automatically.

If you have found yourself in a Tesla for the first time, you might be wondering how to turn it off once you’re finished driving, like any normal vehicle with an engine.

But since Tesla doesn’t run on a combustion engine, there’s nothing to turn off in the most familiar sense.

So, what should you do once you finish driving for the day? How do you turn off a Tesla?

How to turn off a Tesla?

Tesla model 3 on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Considering that electric vehicles (EVs) don’t run on a combustion engine, there is no need to turn off a Tesla in a traditional sense.

Every Tesla model can be “turned off,” in a sense, by going into a rest mode with minimal battery drain. It’s the equivalent of the key being off on an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle.

You can turn off your Tesla by exiting the vehicle, putting your EV into Sleep mode, or clicking the power off switch.

Does a Tesla turn off when I exit the vehicle?

The easiest and most common way of “turning off” a Tesla is simply by exiting your car with your phone and key card.

Once you exit your vehicle and shut the door, the HVAC and electric systems will turn off, but you will not hear the regular sound of the engine shutting off like you would with a traditional car.

After 15 minutes of inactivity, the electric motor(s) will shut down. You won’t need to spend that time next to your car, making sure it stops running.

Luckily, “inactivity” means just that – even if you forgot your key card in the car, it will still shut down.

Tesla cars are manufactured so that if no one is sitting inside of them and the doors are shut, they will automatically stop working, and the screen and HVAC system will turn off until someone starts them.

The only exception is if you set your Tesla to “dog mode,” which keeps the interior at a comfortable temperature for your canine companion.

How to turn off a Tesla with a power off switch?

Interior of a tesla with a person driving
Image: Pexels

Every Tesla model has a simple Power button allowing you to turn off the engine with just one click from inside the car.

This is how you can do it in just a few seconds:

  1. Open the Settings Menu.
  1. Click Safety & Security.
  1. Choose Power Off.

Once you tap on this button, the vehicle will automatically start shutting down.

Just so you know, you will be able to access the Power button only when your vehicle is in Park mode.

When you want to turn your car back on, all you need to do is to open the touchscreen again and choose Power On.

How to turn off a Tesla with sleep mode?

Tesla steering wheel illustrating how to turn off a tesla
Image: Unsplash

Another way to turn off your vehicle is by putting it in Sleep mode. However, this is the least used option, and many owners don’t even know it exists.

Sleep mode on your Tesla can be activated by the following process.

  1. Open Settings.
  1. Open the True Energy app.
  1. Tap on your car.
  1. Choose Advanced settings.
  1. Activate Sleep mode.

If you put your Tesla in Sleep mode and don’t take any actions for more than 15 minutes, the vehicle will turn off completely.

What is power cycling on Tesla?

Tesla model s in red on the road.
Image: Tesla

It might happen so that every once in a while, your car will show some unusual behavior. In these cases, you would want to restart it, and you will do this by power cycling.

The process is the same as when trying to shut down your vehicle, except that you will want to start the engine right after.

This is how power cycling is performed on your Tesla.

  1. Head to settings

    Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose Safety and Protection

    Choose the Safety and Protection menu.

  3. Power down the Tesla

    Tap Power off on the screen.

  4. Wait

    You need to wait for a little while, about two minutes.

  5. While waiting

    Stay in the driver’s seat and avoid any interaction with the vehicle

  6. Interact with the car

    After two minutes, either open the door or push the brake pedal.

Your Tesla has now been power cycled, which can sometimes fix glitches, like anything with an onboard computer.

Do Tesla cars need to be turned off?

Tesla charging at house
Image: Unsplash

Tesla vehicles don’t need to be turned off, but if you want to be sure your vehicle won’t activate any features, it is best to shut it down each time you leave the car.

The HVAC and electric systems in the vehicle turn on and off automatically, but if you want to be double sure and in control of it, there is a way to shut down your Tesla.

You will, however, be notified through your smartphone if there is any activity with the vehicle even if you don’t shut it down, so you can solve everything with a few clicks!

You dont need to turn off a Tesla but sometimes it makes sense

Even though there is no need to turn off your Tesla, there are still several ways to do so. We’re so used to turning off our cars, so it’s nice to know that EVs can be turned off if desired.

All the techniques mentioned above work on every Tesla model, so find the most convenient one for you, and don’t stress about your electric vehicle anymore!


Can you remotely turn off a Tesla?

The company can turn off your Tesla remotely and restart it only at their facility. If you want to keep your car safe, the best bet is to lock the doors through your smartphone.

Should I turn off my Tesla every time?

Tesla recommends keeping your car plugged in even when you are not using it because it is better for the battery, so you don’t need to shut it down frequently, especially not every day.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Stefan is a versatile content creator, tech nerd, and gamer who tries hard to make your life easier with simple guides and studies that have helped millions so far (probably). Staying on the non-biased side, he brings highly valuable content to your screen.

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