How To Keep Tesla On When Driver Leaves? (Explained)

Last updated on April 18th, 2023 at 11:17 pm

Sometimes you need to use a function in your Tesla while you’re out of the driver’s seat. But you’ll notice the system shuts off only after a few minutes.

That’s because the intelligent sensor system detects inactivity in the car and shuts down to save energy. Yet, your Tesla isn’t a mind reader.

So it can’t tell when you want it to stay after you leave the driver’s seat. How, then, can you send a message across?

Usually, leaving the door to the driver’s seat slightly open will keep your Tesla running. So that gives the impression that you’re still busy with the car even when you leave the driver’s seat. However, if leaving the door open isn’t safe, you can initiate the brake system to keep your Tesla running for as long as you like.

Keeping your Tesla on while you’re out of the driver’s seat is simpler than you may think of it. Even if none of the hacks you’ve tried so far have worked, this article will show you what does.

Sit back and read on as this article takes you through keeping your Tesla on without sitting in. You’ll also learn some simple steps to keep your car running with or without passengers.

Does Tesla Turn Off When the Driver Leaves?

How to Keep Tesla On When Driver Leaves

Yes, Tesla turns off automatically when the driver leaves the car. The car’s system puts your Tesla into sleep mode when it’s not in use to save its battery power.

The driver leaving the car indicates that you will not use the car for a while. So Tesla turns off during that time. What if there are passengers in the car?

Tesla’s system recognizes when the driver wants to bring the car to a halt. When there’s no prompt from the driver, Tesla will still turn off since there’s no activity.

In essence, your Tesla will turn off after inactivity in the car. So, if passengers are in the car while the driver is out, you can keep the HVAC system running.

Doing that will let your Tesla know you need some functions running while you’re out. 

Otherwise, your car will engage in Sleep Mode and deep sleep after further inactivity.

For Tesla’s Model 3, the car will turn off after 30 minutes if you’re parked and in the driver’s seat. 

However, that function still works based on inactivity in the car during that period.

Also, the car’s system will shift into Park when it detects that the driver wants to exit the vehicle. 

Like when you unbuckle your seat belt and move the car close to zero motion.

If you shift your Model 3 into Neutral after that, the car’s system initiates Park when you open the door. But you can use Tesla’s Transport Mode to keep your Model 3 Neutral.

Tesla’s intelligent system detects inactivity to limit functions and preserve battery life. This function maximizes battery efficiency and extends battery life.

So, when using your Tesla, remember that the system will turn off when there’s no interaction with the driver.

How Do You Keep Tesla On While Parked Without a Driver?

Leaving the driver’s door open or initiating the brake system can keep a Tesla running without the driver. Doing that keeps the car’s system busy and ensures it doesn’t fade into inactivity.

There are a few ways to keep your Tesla on when you park and have to leave the driver’s seat. 

Most of them work for all Tesla Models, although with some exceptions for Model 3.

But not to worry, this article covers tips for Model 3 as well. There’s a clear distinction between the general tips and those for Model 3, so you go straight to what will work for you.

The first section shows the general tips, and those for Model 3 come next. 

Here’s how to keep your Tesla running while parked without a driver below.

#1. Leave the Driver’s Door Open

Leaving the car door open gives the Tesla car system the impression that you want to use it. As a result, the system won’t shift into sleep mode, so you can use the car.

Here you don’t have to open the driver’s door all the way, just keeping it slightly ajar does the trick.

#2. Tap the Tesla Center Screen

This tip only works when they are passengers in the car when the driver is out. So, you can have someone tap the center screen to send a prompt to the system.

Doing will ensure the car stays on regardless of how long you take before returning to the car. But there’s a catch here; tapping the center screen has to happen every 30 minutes.

That’s because the Tesla system automatically shifts into sleep mode after 30 minutes of inactivity. So tapping the center screen within that time cancels any inactivity in the system.

#3. Use the Remote S App

You can put your Tesla in Camp Mode to keep it running via the Remote S app. The app serves as a virtual remote for Tesla cars. It’s different from the free app Tesla offers.

The significant difference between them is that you pay for Remote S, which supports Apple watches and has extra functions.

In Camp Mode, the Remote S app prompts the car’s system every 30 minutes to keep the HVAC system running. Thus, the prompt interrupts the inactivity window every 30 minutes.

Also, your Tesla will stay on as long as the HVAC system keeps running. So you only have to ensure that the app stays on as long as you want the car to stay awake.

#4. Use Camp Settings

Camp Mode is available on all Tesla models and keeps the car running when parked. The mode is active with or without the driver and retains most of the car’s functions.

But activating Camp Mode disables the vehicle alarm system and Sentry Mode. To access Camp Mode, put your Tesla in Park and ensure the battery level is at least 20%.

Next, navigate the climate settings on your car’s center screen and turn on Camp Mode. For other models, Keep Climate On, or Dog settings serve the same purpose as Camp Mode.

#5. Use the Emergency Brake Button

Tap on the center display screen in your Tesla vehicle and navigate to the braking system. You’ll see an option for an emergency brake in the menu under “controls.”

The control for the emergency brake is a large red button on your screen. Press and hold the red button to activate the emergency brake.

That will shift your car into Neutral gear and keep the car awake. After using the function, you can return to the menu to turn off the emergency brake.

The table below shows ways to keep your Tesla Model 3 running when parked without the driver.

Don’t Remove the Phone KeyThe car system will detect activity when you leave the phone in the car.
Leave the Center Screen ActiveYou can leave music playing or stream a show via Tesla Theater. They serve as an activity to keep the car running.
Press the Brake PedalYou can place a heavy object on the brake pedal or have someone press it every 30 minutes.

The tips that work on the Model 3 can also go for other Tesla models where it’s applicable. Always ensure the safety of your vehicle before you use any of the suggested methods.

How Long Can Tesla Stay On Without the Driver?

Most Tesla vehicles power off automatically after 30 minutes when the driver exits the car. But for some models, it takes only 15 minutes when you don’t engage in any other function.

The vehicle will stay on only while some activity runs in the car’s system. But your car’s system exchanges information with the Tesla database when you put it in Park.

That process lasts 30 minutes, and the system debugs and checks for updates. After that, the system goes off to save the battery if there’s nothing else to do.

So, your Tesla will turn off when it slips into inactivity, which happens after 15 to 30 minutes. But you can have your vehicle stay on longer when you deliberately keep it awake.

That’s possible via the tips you came across while reading this article. In essence, your Tesla will turn off after 15 to 30 minutes but stay on longer when you engage in an activity.

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