Is Stealing A Tesla Hard Or Easy? (We Checked)

Did you know that in 2016-2018, the Tesla Model S and X were the least stolen vehicles?

Their safety system has made it so hard to break into, rightly so anyway.

Buying a Tesla means buying luxury and luxurious things should be protected.

Thankfully, Tesla meets up to its safety expectations. Let us learn in this article about the unique technology installed in Tesla cars that gives thieves a very hard time breaking into.

What Features Does Tesla Have to Prevent Theft?

Tesla has three major safety features that protect its vehicles. These features include:

  • GPS Tracking
  • The Sentry Mode
  • Pin to Drive

GPS Tracking

Tesla does not have standard tracking equipment in your vehicle, but they have a GPS chip that connects to your Tesla app on your smartphone.

From your smartphone, you can watch, monitor, and receive data from anything around your vehicle. If your car is ever compromised, you can give exact information about your vehicle and tell the time and location it was seen last.

More often than not, most stolen Teslas have been recovered through this GPS tracking system. However, one drawback of this feature is that the car only sends the most accurate information while driving, just in an attempt to save the battery’s life. Also, tech-savvy thieves could remove or break the car’s SIM card to prevent tracking.

Asides from the real-time information the GPS sends to the owner, it can also help in daily activities.

The tracking system can send reminders when the car needs to be serviced or repaired and can even suggest what kind of maintenance and repair it needs. This saves you from sudden and abrupt car damage because you’re clearly in line with its maintenance.

Sentry Mode

The sentry mode is an actual anti-thief feature installed in Tesla. This mode uses cameras and sensors to constantly record all activities around your vehicle.

If there’s any activity that goes beyond the proximity limit, the car will react and quickly send an alert to your Tesla app to notify you of the incident.

If it is a minimal threat, for instance, a passerby just resting against the car, it will set the car from “standby” to ‘alert’. This means that the cameras are in action and they are recording any movement.

Should the compromise become more severe, like trying to break the windows, the sentry mode activates the alarm.

The car’s sound system plays at the highest volume and the touchscreen at the brightest light level.

As said earlier, it also sends an alarm to the owner to notify him. This mode has effectively deterred thieves from breaking in and, although it is not foolproof or a 100% protector, it still lowers any weird moves around your Tesla.

However, for this feature to actually work, the dog mode must be turned off as it can not work simultaneously with the sentry mode. Also, the dash cam must be properly installed with its USB drive.

How Do You Turn on the Sentry Mode?

The sentry mode is turned off by default. That means the owner has to turn it on before leaving the car.

The simple way to activate the sentry mode is to go to the controls >tap on Safety and Security> tap on the Sentry Mode.

Another method of turning it on is to use the voice command or the Tesla app.

The downside to the safety feature is the effect it has on the battery. A Tesla loses 1% of its battery life per hour or two when this mode is on.

The sentry mode will remain active until the battery gets to 20% and then it deactivates. Do not fret, your Tesla app will notify you when the battery reaches 20%.

PIN to Drive 

This feature allows you to set a 4-digit pin verification to your vehicle that must be entered before you can have access to drive it.

Even if the thief has successfully passed the two stages above and probably has broken the car’s SIM card, he will still have a very hard time driving the car away because he must enter the pin first.

Luckily, the location of the pin pad shifts with it starting, clearing all the fingerprint smudges on the screen, and the only way to reset the pin is to go through the Tesla account.

How Do You Activate The Pin to Drive Verification 

  • Tap on the controls on your touchscreen 
  • Then tap on Safety and Security 
  • Press the Pin To Drive button

This will create the platform where you create the 4-digit pin.

Can the Tesla’s GPS System Help You Locate a Stolen Tesla?

The main design and purpose of the Tesla GPS system is to tell the exact location of your car. A user once stated that his Model 3 was stolen in Germany and it was recovered through the Tesla app and the GPS position.

Another user said she used the “find my Tesla” app to locate her car. In her situation, she was watching from the phone how the thief took off with it before the police came to intervene.

They saw exactly where the car stopped after they damaged the tires. However, the report showed that the owner’s key fob was missing, and that’s probably how they gained access to the vehicle.

Related: Is Tesla’s Autopilot Safer Than Human Drivers? (We Checked)

Are Teslas Stolen More Often Than Other Cars?

It’s important to have it at the back of our minds that any car can be stolen. Some are just easier than others.

Tesla cars, as a point of reference, are luxurious cars that people want to steal, but they have a hard time getting around the whole process.

Even if the person passes all the safety features and eventually gets away with the car, Tesla cars are very easy to locate.

They can easily track the car through the Tesla app and it will be recovered. In fact, a report in the US claimed that out of 115 stolen Tesla cars, 112 were actually recovered.

This is proof that you really have to be a wizard to get away with stealing a Tesla.

Another report showed that, when more sophisticated thieves were actually getting away with stealing Teslas in Europe, the company quickly sent out an upgrade that makes it harder to steal their cars.

That was when the Pin To Drive was introduced. And even when thieves could disable the tracking system, Tesla pushed a more recent update that requires logging into your Tesla account to deactivate the tracking system.

Now, there’s hardly any thief that would want to target a Tesla and even if there is, their success rate is really low.

However, Tesla owners are advised to be vigilant and careful with their cars. Even if they cannot steal the whole ride, thieves can still vandalize and damage some car parts.

Related: How Reliable Are Teslas Really? (We Checked)

Does Tesla’s “Sentry Mode” Really Keep Thieves Away?

There was a case when a thief was losing the nuts off the wheel of a Tesla and when he noticed he was being recorded, he gave up on his mission. This is clear proof that the sentry mode deters thieves from compromising your vehicle’s safety when you are not around.

The alarm system and notifications just seem to unsettle thieves on their mission, especially when the car suddenly lights up through the display and music blasts through the speakers. This is enough to destabilize anybody.

Although in this strange situation, the thief leaves the nuts halfway and it could have been dangerous for the innocent owner to climb into the car and drive, but yet again, the Tesla app saves the day.

The supposed owner got a notification from the Tesla app regarding strange moves around his vehicle. So he returned to the vehicle alongside the police to check what was wrong. Ultimately, the sentry mode is and will be useful to deter thieves away from your car.

Are Stolen Teslas Typically Returned to the Owner?

In 2016, Tesla had a 100% recovery rate on their stolen vehicles all thanks to the GPS tracking device.

Ordinarily, electric cars are stolen every year, and the rate keeps increasing as days go by, but with these safety features in Tesla, it gets hard to break into and even harder to actually get away with these cars.

First, you have to hack into the vehicle to perform whatever illegal activity, you also have to be very conversant with its use.

The director of public affairs at the National Crime Information Bureau stated that “I’m wondering if the thieves’ intellect might have been overwhelmed just sitting in a Tesla, much less figuring how to operate it for any length of time”. 

The Pin to Drive also saves the day when Tesla owners complained people could unlock their Tesla remotely through their key fob.

Now you have to actually enter a verification code before you can drive. Thus, if a Tesla is eventually stolen, there’s a high chance it will be returned to the owner shortly.

Related: Are Tesla Cars A Good Investment? (We Checked)

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