Here’s What You Need to Know About Tesla’s Valet Mode

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 12/06/21 •  7 min read

When I hear the word “valet,” my mind immediately flashes to that scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where a reassuring valet driver takes a beautiful red Ferrari for a joyride and does some serious damage to the car.

tesla valet mode
Credits To: Paramount Pictures

While that particular valet might not be the best example, there’s always that chance that when you hand over the keys to your car, it could come back a mess—if it comes back at all.

Hence, a bunch of luxury vehicle makers, including Tesla, have come up with ways around this troubling valet scenario that can give you some peace of mind.

Several vehicle makers resorted to creating valet keys, a separate key altogether that would limit the car’s speed and engine RPMs and can even keep the glove box and other areas locked.

This can be annoying though, having to carry around yet another key, so thankfully, Tesla decided to go the software route instead as they’ve been known to do.

Tesla rolled out Valet Mode back in 2015, and it’s a very simple, effective solution for limiting what a valet can potentially do to your car if you do need to hand over your vehicle.

We’ll break down Tesla’s valet approach and cover how and when to use Valet Mode.

How to Activate Valet Mode

It might not be a feature you use often, which is why it takes a couple of steps to activate Valet Mode.

4 Steps To Active Valet Mode:

But for the most part, it’s a fairly simple process.

  1. From Park (you can’t turn it on while driving), touch the driver profile icon on the top of the main touch screen.
  2. Choose Valet Mode.
  3. Next, enter a four-digit PIN. If it’s your first time using Valet Mode, the system will prompt you to create a new PIN. 
  4. If you have Pin to Drive activated, it will prompt you to use your same number.

The PIN is the most important part as you’ll also need it to cancel or deactivate Valet Mode. 

Once you’ve canceled Valet Mode, all the settings associated with the most recent driver profile are restored, and all the restrictions are lifted.

Valet Mode can also be activated directly from your mobile app without a PIN since you’ve already logged in to your Tesla account.

In the app, hit Controls to enable or disable Valet Mode from your phone.

What Features Are Limited in Valet Mode?

Valet Mode restricts some performance features in your Tesla for drivers other than you.

Basically, it is there to protect your vehicle and your valuables and limits functionality in the vehicle when you’re not the one driving it.

Restrictive Functions In Valet Mode:

✅ Locks the glove box and front trunk so your valuables remain out of sight
✅ Limits the maximum speed to 70 mph and acceleration to 25% of the Tesla’s standard capacity
✅ Blocks Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings
✅ Disables voice commands, cruise control, and the entertainment screens
✅ No autopilot functionality
✅ Driver profiles are not accessible
✅ Hides personal information found in your driver profile from the main screen, such as your home address, favorite saved locations, and even past charging locations
✅ Does not display the list of keys that can access your Tesla

Important Note:

Don’t leave your phone in your vehicle while in Valet Mode. It may override some of those privacy and security functions while inadvertently providing access to calendar data or phone contacts, thinking your device is connected.

For a full in-depth demo of Valet Mode and everything it restricts, check out this video from The Buzz

This video walks through the real-world experience from the valet’s side of things too. 

It can get tricky as he points out that valets might not understand how to use the Tesla key card that will allow them to get in and start the car.

This walkthrough video from Tesla Tom focuses on the key safety features that are still available in the vehicle while in Valet Mode like mirror and seating adjustments and rear cameras, as well as comfort features like temperature and volume controls.

Valet Mode is intelligent and very handy for a number of instances, but with another tweak, you can gain even more control.

Can I Customize Valet Mode?

Unfortunately, there are no custom options inside Valet Mode, but there is one aspect you can control another way.

You can change the speed limit, but you have to do it from Speed Limit Mode.

A software update now lets you adjust the top speed of your car with a specific speed limit feature that can be used directly from the app.

The maximum vehicle speed can be set between 50 and 90 mph. 

Here’s a quick walkthrough video of how to use the Speed Limit Mode.

So even though Valet Mode tops out at 70 mph, you can use Speed Limit Mode to set it to a more conservative 55 or 60 mph.

This might be a good option for when you have new drivers behind the wheel where you don’t want to totally restrict features like in Valet Mode but still want to prevent them from putting the pedal to the metal.

When To Use Valet Mode

An obvious time to use Valet Mode is when you’re actually using valet service at a hotel or a restaurant. 

You’re handing your vehicle over to a complete stranger at this point, so it’s great to have an option to restrict how they can drive it when it’s out of your sight.

But as mentioned above, maybe you have teenagers at home who are learning to drive in your Tesla and you want to keep the car safe while also protecting them.

Keeping the speed limit maxed out to 70 mph ensures no burning rubber or spinning out.

Using Valet Mode just provides that extra little bit of assurance that your kids aren’t out there joyriding while also adding a little longevity to your vehicle knowing it’s not being driven crazily.

Valet Mode FAQs

So now you know how and when to use Valet Mode, but there are still some other questions that come up on the subject.

Here are our answers to some of the more popular questions:

What Is The Difference Between PIN To Drive And Valet Mode?

PIN to Drive allows the driver to require a PIN to start driving the vehicle. The key difference is that with Valet Mode, the PIN is needed only to activate and deactivate certain security features but doesn’t prevent the vehicle from operating altogether like PIN to Drive.

What To Do If I Forget The PIN?

If you forget your valet PIN, you can reset it from inside the vehicle by entering in your Tesla account credentials, which will also cancel Valet Mode at the same time. This can be done from the app as well.

Can I Turn On Valet Mode When Someone Is Driving?

Maybe you’re at home while your stressed-out, new teenage driver is behind the wheel, and you want to quickly engage Valet Mode to regain some control. Unfortunately, as discussed here in Tesla Motors Club, you can’t enable Valet Mode remotely. You’ll want to set it ahead of time.

Do All Tesla Models Have Valet Mode?

Yes, Models S, X, Y, and 3 all have Valet Mode.

Can You Charge The Tesla In Valet Mode?

Yes, you can still charge the vehicle in Valet Mode. The restrictions are targeted more for privacy and performance.

Easy to activate, Tesla’s Valet Mode is certainly handy for those times when you have to relinquish control of your car. With the ability to lock down features and prevent poor driving, you can feel safer knowing your car should return to you in the same state you left it in. 

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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