How Much Battery Does Sentry Mode Use? (Explained)

Tesla cars are equipped with amazing features for a higher user experience; however, these features prevent the vehicle from being inactive when not in use. One of such features is the Sentry mode, which drains the battery even when the car is parked and not in use. Although great, this feature can leave you with a dead battery if not careful.

On average, the sentry mode of a Tesla drains about one mile per hour off the battery percentage. The level of drainage sometimes depends on the model of your Tesla.

What is Tesla Sentry Mode?

Tesla sentry mode is an anti-theft feature that protects cars from potential threats. When your car is on sentry mode, it uses its external cameras to monitor its surroundings, watching for potential threats. If your Tesla notices any threats, it will instantly alert the intruder of being. An increase in the threat will turn on the alarm function of the car. When the alarm is activated, the brightness of the car increases while playing the alarm sound. Once the Tesla hits alarm mode, the owner of the car is alerted immediately.

This feature is very nice in preventing thefts. It really comes in handy when your Tesla is parked in an unsafe neighborhood. However, this feature comes at a great cost to your car’s battery. The Tesla sentry mode drains about one mile per hour, which might be a hassle if you do not live close to a supercharger station or do not have access to home charging.

The sentry mode can be turned on in the car via the control setting or through the mobile app. The mobile app allows owners to turn on the sentry mode using voice commands.

Although the average battery use of the sentry mode is one mile per hour, this might differ from your Tesla, depending on your model. To efficiently monitor the battery use of your Tesla when on standby, observe the battery use for about a couple of days or a week. As a safety precaution, plan before parking your car in sentry mode. Ensure your vehicle is sufficiently charged to support the sentry mode and your drive for the day. Otherwise, park at a supercharger station. This way, you can charge when your battery drains.

Why does the Sentry Mode drain battery?

New Tesla owners love the sentry mode that monitors the car in their absence. However, the decrease in battery percentage discovered each time after a long time of inactivity is most times not anticipated.

According to Tesla, if the sentry mode is left active for about 11 days and the Tesla is not in use, you might end up meeting a dead battery when you go pick up your car. This is a great difference from the 20 days your car can last when left inactive but not in sentry mode. So why does this feature drain your Tesla battery?

If the sentry mode is active, your Tesla is constantly on standby and is never truly inactive, even when parked. The sentry mode uses the camera and sensors; these use a lot of battery charge to monitor the car’s surroundings.

Due to the excessive battery drain, Tesla has a preinstalled failsafe that prevents total battery drain when the car is not in use. When the percentage of the vehicle hits 20%, the sentry mode automatically turns off, but the car is left in a vulnerable state. However, you’ll get alerted via the mobile app when the sentry mode turns off due to the low battery charge.

If your car is safely parked in your garage, you might not have to turn your sentry mode at all times. Basically, if you are parked safely, you can turn off the sentry mode to save your battery charge. To exclude your Tesla from running the sentry mode in certain locations, customize these locations into your sentry mode settings. You can exclude locations set as home, work, or favorite. If you turn off or turn on the sentry mode via your mobile app, the excluded locations will not count until your next drive.

Does Sentry mode work while charging?

You can use the sentry mode while charging, but this might be unnecessary as you will most likely be present during the charge. However, if you are charging at home, the sentry mode might not work if it has been customized to exclude home.

To exclude certain locations from sentry mode activation, your Tesla can be preset to exclude home, work, and other favorite locations. In these locations, the sentry mode is not activated when parked.

How long does the Sentry battery last?

The sentry of your Tesla has an internal battery that the system feeds on to prevent excessive use of the car’s battery. The sentry battery can last about 12 hours of continuous use on average. The drain of the sentry battery is highly dependent on the traffic around the car as well as the model of the vehicle.

Does Tesla Record if not in Sentry Mode?

No, your Tesla does not record while in sentry mode. The cameras and the sensors of the car, as well as other functions that help in recording, are only active when the sentry mode is active. The moment the sentry mode is turned off, the car remains inactive in the true sense till your turn the car back on.

Therefore, if your car is unsafely parked on the street, you need to keep the sentry mode to record any activity. Otherwise, the car is vulnerable and will not have any record of any case of theft or crash.


The sentry mode is an excellent safety measure to keep your Tesla safe when parked. However, the battery drains of the feature place it at a disadvantage to owners. To fully utilize the full abilities of the sentry mode without being worried about your battery charge, it is best to park by a charger. You could install a home charger if you do not live next to a supercharger station.