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Key Takeaways

  • Tesla Sentry Mode is an anti-theft feature that monitors suspicious activities around a parked and locked Tesla, recording and activating the alarm system if a threat is detected.
  • To turn on Sentry Mode, go to the car's settings menu, open security settings, and toggle Sentry Mode to enable it. It can also be activated through voice command or Tesla app control pane.
  • Sentry Mode is available on Model S, 3, X, and Y. It uses about 1 per cent of battery charge every 2-3 hours and remains active until the vehicle reaches 20 per cent battery or is charged at a Supercharger.

Tesla offers a feature called Sentry Mode, which is an anti-theft measure installed in all its vehicles. Sentry Mode uses the cameras on the car and constantly monitors activities around a Tesla vehicle once a proximity alert is triggered. It's meant to provide protection, or at the very least serve as a deterrent to thieves who try to steal Teslas thanks to flashing lights and loud sounds.

Here is everything you need to know about Sentry Mode, including how it works, whether your Tesla offers it, and how to turn it on in your vehicle.

What is Tesla Sentry Mode and how does it work? photo 4

What is Tesla Sentry Mode and how does it work?

Sentry Mode is an anti-theft feature that allows a Tesla vehicle to monitor suspicious activities when it's parked and locked in specified locations. When suspicious motion is detected, the vehicle will react. For instance, if a significant threat is detected, the cameras on your car will begin recording, and the alarm system will activate. You will also receive an alert from your Tesla app notifying you of the incident.

Here is Telsa's description of Sentry Mode:

"Sentry Mode adds a unique layer of protection to Tesla vehicles by continuously monitoring the environment around a car when it's left unattended. When enabled, Sentry Mode enters a "Standby" state, like many home alarm systems, which uses the car's external cameras to detect potential threats. If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alert" state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording. If a more severe threat is detected, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alarm" state, which activates the car alarm, increases the brightness of the center display, and plays music at maximum volume from the car’s audio system."

What is Tesla Sentry Mode and how does it work? photo 2

How to turn on Sentry Mode in your Tesla

Sentry Mode must be enabled each time a driver wants to use the feature by going to Controls > Safety > Sentry Mode. To be specific, your car settings menu needs to be tapped, and from there, your security settings need to be opened. After that, you must toggle Sentry Mode to turn it on. Sentry Mode can also be enabled via voice command or through the Tesla app control pane.


For Sentry Mode to work, Dog Mode must be disabled and a Dashcam must be installed and equipped with a USB drive. (The USB drive needs to be inserted. To install your Dashcam, follow these steps.) Newer vehicles come with a USB drive installed, older vehicles might need one adding.

Sentry Mode has to be manually activated with each operation. Otherwise, Sentry Mode is off by default. The feature is activated once the car is parked.

What is Tesla Sentry Mode and how does it work? photo 1

Which Tesla vehicles support Sentry Mode?

Sentry Mode comes with the Model S, 3, X, and Y.

Does Sentry Mode drain a Tesla's battery?

Reportedly, a Tesla loses 1 per cent battery charge for every 2-3 hours Sentry Mode is activated. Your cameras will constantly record, but the footage will only be saved from a few minutes before a perceived threat as well as during a threat. According to Tesla, unless at a Supercharger, Sentry Mode will remain active until your vehicle is at or below 20 per cent battery. Your Tesla app will also notify you if Sentry Mode is turned off due to low battery.

Want to know more?

For more information on Sentry Mode, refer to your Owner's Manual. You can also go to this Tesla support page for details.