Tesla’s line-up of fantastic electric vehicles with blistering performance, ample range, and production right here in the USA mean that the world’s first all-electric mass-production automaker has gained a cult following. Over 2 million Teslas have been sold to date. If you own a Tesla, you know how technologically sophisticated and connected it is, allowing you to do a lot from your mobile phone or even the key fob. However, things do go wrong on any vehicle, and if your Tesla has lost 12v or low voltage power, chances are you will not be able to open the hood the traditional way.
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Why do I need to open the hood?
Under your Tesla hood lies the front trunk, or frunk, which is a critical Tesla storage area for owners of Tesla vehicles. It means you have twice the trunk-space of a traditional combustion-engined car, perfect for vacations and road trips.
If your Tesla’s hood is unable to be opened due to a 12v or low voltage power loss, and you urgently need to open the hood on your Tesla Model 3, Model X, Model S, or Model Y, this article will take you through the steps required.
What tools do I need?
You need two things to open the hood on your Tesla.
The first is a 12v power source, of which the most suitable is a portable jump start kit. Before using one, you should:
- Ensure that it is functional, and switches on with no tripping, weird noises, or odors.
- Check that the internal battery of the power source contains ample charge.
- Visually inspect the wires and connectors for any loose connections, fraying or other forms of damage. Rodent damage can be an issue if the device is stored loose in a garage, for example.
The second item you might need (only if you’ve got a Tesla Model X) is a small flat-bladed screwdriver. An electric tester screwdriver is perfect for the job.
Tesla recommended hood opening procedure
The following steps will grant you access to your Tesla’s frunk via opening of the hood. We suggest you read through them fully before attempting the procedure.
- Bring your vehicle to a complete stop.
- Go to the front of your Tesla and locate the tow eye cover.
- If you’ve got a Model, S, Model Y or Model 3, the tow eye cover is located behind a clearly demarcated circular trim piece.
- If you’ve got a Model X, the tow eye cover is located behind a triangular trim piece on the left hand side of the grille opening.
- Remove the tow eye cover as described below:
- For a Model S, Model Y or Model 3, press firmly on the top right perimeter of the circular tow eye cover until it pivots inward, and use a fingernail or the small flat-bladed screwdriver to pull the raised section towards you.
- If you’ve got a Model X, insert the small flat-bladed screwdriver into the top and bottom slots of the tow eye cover to release the snaps, and pull the cover towards you.
- You will notice that two wires come with the tow eye cover – a red wire and a black wire.
- When making connections and at all times, ensure that the exposed connections do not touch each other, or the body of your Tesla.
- Connect the positive (red) jump lead from the 12v power source to the red wire.
- Connect the negative (black) jump lead from the 12v power source to the black wire.
- Switch on the power source. You should hear the hood latches release, and the hood unlock.
- Disconnect the power supply in the following order:
- Disconnect the black wires first, pushing them back in and safely stowing them.
- Disconnect the red wires next, also pushing them back in and safely stowing them.
- If your Tesla needs to be towed away, do not refit the tow eye cover. If it’s not being towed away, go to the next step.
- Ensure that the black and red wires have been pushed back, place them back within the tow eye cover and re-fit the cover. You may need to re-align it, rotate it, and push it into place.
For more information and a visual guide, check out the owner manual pages of the Tesla Model 3 here.