A while back I wrote about Tesla’s 7.1 software update and the “Homelink auto open/close” functionality. Back then I had trouble getting the feature to work reliably and I wanted to provide an update after some extended use.
Getting Auto Homelink to Work
Homelink auto open/close was added in Tesla’s 7.1 release in January 2016. Other than small (mostly undocumented) releases we’re all still waiting on the next software release whether its 7.2 or 7.5 or some other version. A while back Elon promised some more User Interface updates to the main 17″ display and Tesla has yet to deliver them so I assume those will be here “soon.”
While living with 7.1 for a while and using the Homelink functionality for many months now i’ve come to really appreciate the feature and it works for me about 99% of the time, but it took some fiddling to get it to a happy place.
Change door locations
I have a 3 car garage (you’ll see in videos later), I had all 3 doors programmed into my home link so I can close any other doors that are open when i’m leaving. From discussions online it seems not that many people did this, but for my setup it seemed to cause confusion for the system.
When I originally set up Homelink 2 years ago, I programmed my three doors right in front of each door. Garage doors are obviously near each other and non-military GPS isn’t very accurate, so there’s a chance for the car to be confused about which door its supposed to be operating.
To remove any possible confusion for the system I drove away from the house and for the doors I don’t need to auto-open I did a “reset location” operation.
Tip 1: Don’t program multiple garage doors near the same location
Change where auto open triggers
I found that triggering auto open right in front of the garage isn’t necessarily the best place for that as there’s a time delay from the trigger to the garage door opening and there is distance and movement involved.
With the door I wanted to auto-open I tried a few locations, performing the “reset location” operation until I got it just right.
Tip 2: Adjust your main door location until the results are reliable.
For various reasons, my charger is at the rear of my garage which means I need to back into my garage daily. Thanks to parking sensors and the great rear view camera its never been an issue for me.
So as I pull up to my garage I swing in towards the garage and then angle away so I can back in. Getting the open position just right took some time but it was worth it.
In the video below you’ll see the door start to move about the time I get to the 2nd garage door. I didn’t press any buttons, it just did this for me and does it correctly about 99% of the time:
Homelink Auto Close
Homelink Auto Close is a little more flaky for me even after some tweaks. The hardware for homelink in the Model S only exists in the front of the car and since I back into the garage the hardware is pointed away from the garage and moving away from it as I leave.
I found that if I just slow down a bit as I leave the odds of success are better. It fails enough that i’m now used to double checking that my garage door didn’t stay open before I get all the way down the driveway.
Tip 3: Double check your garage door shut for good security.
For some reason bad weather seems to make this worse. I’d say auto-close works about 80% of the time which is just enough of a failure rate to be annoying but not enough for me to give up on it. I really wish Tesla had hardware in the front and the back to handle this scenario. Perhaps they’ve already done that on newer cars.
Here’s an auto-close event in action.
Homelink auto open/close is a small feature Tesla slipped into a minor release. While it was intended to help the Summon feature and Autopilot cars, its been very helpful to me as a “classic” Model S owner.
One of my big concerns as Tesla continues to grow and expand is that they neglect the original buyers of the Roadsters, Model S’s etc and focus on just the newer cars and needs. A crazy amount of software effort has gone into those Falcon Wing Doors, and now probably a HUD for the Model 3. Meanwhile, the Navigation system (on all cars) is still severely lacking in some areas (waypoints anyone?) and many of these other areas could use some tuning/updates.
So, while i’m thankful for new additions like Homelink auto open/close, i’d love to see Tesla continue to dedicate a few resources to improving things that can help all current and future owners like the UI, Navigation, etc.
Interesting. My garage has a timer feature that I get set so it will automatically close in 1, 2, 5, or 10 minutes (assuming it doesn’t detect movement). That could come in handy in your case, in case the Tesla doesn’t close the door. Of course, my garage door also isn’t HomeLink compatible and I needed to buy a HomeLink repeater to get it to work with my car..
Unfortunately mine don’t have that option but that would be a good backup plan. The thing to remember is to be careful as when the garage doors get confused they can do bad things to the car.
Michael Coiner said:
I have found the Auto Open/Close to be very unreliable, I pull in to the driveway and the door either doesn’t go up at all or it raises up about two feet and stops. Sometimes a button appears that says (Skip) after the word Garage but there is no way to Unskip – when you press the Garage button.
An addition I would like to see is to be able to set the number of inches from the wall the car would automatically stop each time I pull into the garage – something that is already on the Summon feature.
Do you have AP hardware? I wonder if the reason you can’t set the distance on mine is because I’m missing AP hardware which has better granularity.
Also have you tried adjusting the trigger location as I mentioned? I had similar issues until I spent a few hours fiddling with it.
Also a word of caution, driving down the end of the driveway and back isn’t a test. The car needs to go off in between tests it seems.
Thankfully, I have had a 99% success rate since Auto Homelink came out, and the 1% failure wasn’t so much the Tesla’s fault (I park in the driveway for some reason and then it triggers when I didn’t want it to). I did the Reset Location only once, after arriving home from a trip (so plenty of time for the GPS to navigate) and I park my car in the garage. Now it closes when I reach the end of the driveway and opens when I’m halfway across the yard to turn into the driveway from the street. Luck of the draw I guess.
Perhaps, is your car a newer (late 2014 or 2015+) model? Perhaps they improved the antennas.
I got my S as a CPO, it’s a 2013.
Danal Estes said:
I use auto/open close extensively and have found it highly, but not absolutely reliable. I have a 200 foot driveway and have the point set to be right as the car is fully off the street and in the driveway, i.e. 200 feet from the garage door. I was initially concerned that being far from the door, nose pointed away, would affect “close” reliability as compared to “open” reliability, wherein the nose is pointed toward the door.
What I have gradually come to believe, and I could be wrong, is that reliability is directly related to low speed. In my case, when departing, I must stop (or rolling stop) at the end of the driveway and look both ways for traffic. Closing has been VERY reliable. Not absolutely perfect, I do look in my mirror to ensure the door is on the way before I depart. Still, pretty darn good.
Arriving, I can be at several different speeds coming in from the road to my driveway. Even though the nose is not toward the door, arrivals have been ‘statistically’ less reliable. Again, I could be making this up, but lower speeds seem to help.
For some reason recently my close has become super unreliable even at very slow speeds and even if I press the button myself. Trying to figure out if my door antenna went bad or Tesla changed something that affected the range.