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A Microcosm of what's wrong with Tesla service, the door handles

So I finally joined the club. The real Model S club. The minute when I knew I joined with when my door handle broke. Other people, even Model 3 people are very perplexed when I need a stick to open my drivers side door from the back door. But those of us in the club. They look at me and nod. They know.

A door handle broke on my 2013 tesla a car that msrpd for around 90$ Unacceptable in my opinion. They last car I had where the handle broke was an 83 nissan sentra with 250000 miles on it. That one was straight forward. Some bolts. Some harnesses. Keep the harnesses tied down.

Now Tesla.... The door is straightforward enough. But if you take a look at it closely then you'll see that the exterior handle system is severely out of place. It looks... how do I say this politely? Sort of like it was an afterthought and they got an intern to design it. So we've got one door handle assembly and it's a mess. The vast majority of the time it breaks 2 specific microswitches that cost maybe 70$ which is a ridiculous price but it's much cheaper than letting Tesla handle it for $1000 or whatever it is these days to replace the thing. No talk of fixing the thing. Just replace it and charge the customer 10x what is necessary.

So what's wrong with the door handle? Well staring at the thing over the weekend while I was fixing it gave me the answer. The entire door handle assembly has no water ingress protection of any kind, none, zero. Any water that gets in there is soaking the door handle assembly So I would highly recommend no directly blasting your door handles at the car cash.

Next what happens is that wiring harness, not rated for outdoor use, starts corroding. This I've heard is what kills door handles more than anything.

But okay so I got through all that. Reinstalling it, eventually. The thing is like a science experiment. The mount points don't mean anything. You have to adjust it by hand to get it to look right. Then there's the harness to the exterior door handle. I don't know how the door isn't eventually going to destroy this harness.

Yeah, rants over. I'm half way seriously looking into adapting a car handle that wasn't designed by interns.
 
Just so you know, Tesla charges closer to $400 for a new door handle. It is way better than the original. Might save you a bit of frustration.
I have done 3 and Tesla had to do one of them again - failed for a different reason.
The wiring harness used to be $20. They recently jacked the price and thus made just replacing with the new generation handles a better idea - especially if you plan on keeping the car for awhile.
 
Other people, even Model 3 people are very perplexed when I need a stick to open my drivers side door from the back door.
There are simpler ways than using a stick. Some tie a long piece of string to the handle, run that to the back seat so you can pull to open via the inside handle. If it's the sector gear (handle doesn't present) then you can get something like a strong piece of velcro, wrap it around the handle, leaving a tab to just pull to get the handle out and open the door. That's what I did about 16 months ago for my rear driver's door and what I have currently on my driver's door (handled failed 3 days ago, again likely sector gear failure).

Tesla charges closer to $400 for a new door handle.
My last experience, Oct of 2020 was $290 including sales tax. I do not have the estimated cost yet for the mobile service appointment 1 week from today to fix my drivers door handle. Whatever it is between $300-$400, it's not the $1000 hyperbole type of value quoted by OP.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
8,371
16,311
California
But those of us in the club. They look at me and nod. They know.
So how come you didn’t know, buying an 8+ year old used car from the early mass production days of a new car manufacturer? Your whole hyperbolic story suggests you were caught by surprise, when honestly there’s no good reason for that as handle failures are perhaps the most infamous weak spot of the early cars. This is “unacceptable” in your opinion? 😂

The Gen 3 units are vastly superior and cost about $300 bucks installed in your driveway in less time than it took you to write this witty post.
 
So how come you didn’t know, buying an 8+ year old used car from the early mass production days of a new car manufacturer? Your whole hyperbolic story suggests you were caught by surprise, when honestly there’s no good reason for that as handle failures are perhaps the most infamous weak spot of the early cars. This is “unacceptable” in your opinion? 😂

The Gen 3 units are vastly superior and cost about $300 bucks installed in your driveway in less time than it took you to write this witty post.
What makes the gen3 ones better exactly? like I've fixed 2 of my handles on my car as they broke with the kit from Evtuning and it seems to fix the failure points and I don't expect those ones to fail again. Its easy and when the other 2 handles fail I plan on doing the same thing
Also is it true the gen3 handles are tied to the computer meaning you need to program them (tesla has to install them) instead of simply bolting up a new handle in my driveway.

When my drivers handle failed i tied a piece of 550 cord guts to the inner handle and when i closed the door i let a small loop hang out by the back of the window and pulling it easily opened the door till the weekend when i had time to fix the handle.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
8,371
16,311
California
What makes the gen3 ones better exactly? like I've fixed 2 of my handles on my car as they broke with the kit from Evtuning and it seems to fix the failure points and I don't expect those ones to fail again. Its easy and when the other 2 handles fail I plan on doing the same thing
Also is it true the gen3 handles are tied to the computer meaning you need to program them (tesla has to install them) instead of simply bolting up a new handle in my driveway.

When my drivers handle failed i tied a piece of 550 cord guts to the inner handle and when i closed the door i let a small loop hang out by the back of the window and pulling it easily opened the door till the weekend when i had time to fix the handle.
The kit you reference might be the way to go for DIY. The Gen3 units appear to be massively simplified and address the weak points and complexity of the original designs.

I don't know if toolbox/programming is required to upgrade.
 
The kit you reference might be the way to go for DIY. The Gen3 units appear to be massively simplified and address the weak points and complexity of the original designs.

I don't know if toolbox/programming is required to upgrade.
i was not aware v3 needed any programming, mine was plug and play. and it is a massively simplified design.
 
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When mine stopped working, I used a credit card to push the handle outward and then tied a string until the mobile service guy showed up. His advice is that if you park the car outside in winter,if water gets in the door handles, then it has very high Chance of failure, but the new door modules fixed this problem. However, make sure your old door handles stop working during the warranty period as out of warranty repairs would be 1000+
 
Jesus, this is such a persistent myth. It’s been mentioned 3 times I think in this thread alone that door handle replacements are approximately $300 USD now.
That’s what the mobile service guy told me for a visit and replacement P&L - that was a year ago though when mine broke. Mind you he did not replace just a sub module but the entire big piece that time. In fact I saw the whole estimate that was under warranty.
 
I just had a broken gear door handle replaced and can verify it's about $300 bucks for the Gen 3. If you want to see the difference, there is a good video from super fast matt that explains it well:

I should add that I was pushed an update for the new door handle after the install was completed. Also will mention the door handle seemed to work correctly before I installed the update.
 
The kit you reference might be the way to go for DIY. The Gen3 units appear to be massively simplified and address the weak points and complexity of the original designs.

I don't know if toolbox/programming is required to upgrade.
When I had a replacement last year (Oct?Nov?), he did need to apply a firmware update, which delayed the mobile install process because my eMMC-upgraded MCU1 was not accepting it.

The new Gen3 units have the door handle lighting that used to be included in some option - "premium upgrades" maybe? They do not produce the lightless handles anymore.

The new unit's pop-out noise is also different from the Gen1/2 noise; it seems a louder/grindier.

If you did not have whatever upgrade previously, and you want all your doors to be matching you'll need to replace all 4 at once (if Tesla will let you). I've gotten strange looks in a parking lot from only my rear passenger having an LED light.
 
For some still questioning the repair/replacement cost, I just received the cost estimate to fix the driver side handle on my mid-2016 MS90D. If I read this I current have Gen2.1 and they are fully replacing it with Gen3. This is a estimated cost of $282.25 is a whopping increase of $0.75 over what I paid to have the driver rear door handle fixed about 15 months ago in Oct of 2020. Add in my state sales tax of 7%, and will be just over $300 total. I've pasted in image in case anyone would like to see part numbers. Again, this is in US for the Driver side front door (driver's door).

1642794317281.png
 
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How do I know which version of the door handle I have in each door?

For the doors the handles have been replaced, I can see the version of the new parts in service receipts. What handle version would the be in a late 2017 Model S door that has not been replaced yet?
 
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The way I understand it, it doesn't matter what version handle you have. They actually reuse the handle itself and just replace the internal parts. I think this is one way they reduced the cost of the repair.
To me it looks like V3 mechanics could be drastically better than the original unsealed microswitch design.

Handles themselves are the same, but they are just a piece of metal and should not become a problem.
 

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