Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Crunched charging port door

This site may earn commission on affiliate links.
I haven't seen this issue posted elsewhere on the forum, and wanted to see if others have experienced this. I have a recently built (delivered 7/7/15) 85D with the auto-closing charging port door. I had pulled into a parking slot to charge and was showing the process to a friend. I opened the port by touching the door, and then saw that my friend was getting the connector cable. I moved forward to take it from him and brushed against the charging port door (1). This drove the door into the acrylic plastic of the rear light (2).


I heard a crunch, and the reflector on the front of the charge port door was neatly broken at the point the door hit the acrylic frame.


It did not seem that I hit the door all that hard. Of course I should have been more aware and not hit the door, but shouldn't it have stood up to this action better?

Yesterday I spoke with an owner who had a Tesla built last year which did not have the auto-closing charge port door. He examined my charge port door and said it did not feel as substantial as the door on his one-year old car. I looked at his charge port door (he was charging) and I could not really tell much difference. But perhaps the redesign of the door for auto-closing resulted in a weaker door?

If you have had experiences with hitting the charge port door with either the old design or the new design, I would be interested to hear what happened.

I was told it's $125 for the part and $148.75 for the installation.
I doubt they glue on the reflector, or that you can buy just the reflector. When my magnet came lose, they replaced the entire door rather than just gluing the magnet back on. The price is likely to replace the entire door, and it doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Parts are often manufactured and sold like that.

OP, how did you hit the door and what did you hit it with? It sounds like you hit it with your body and, if so, that can be a lot of force even though you may not realize it.
The price is likely to replace the entire door, and it doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Parts are often manufactured and sold like that.

Yes, that is what was stated, they will replace the door.

OP, how did you hit the door and what did you hit it with? It sounds like you hit it with your body and, if so, that can be a lot of force even though you may not realize it.

I brushed against the door at hip level as I was moving to get the charge cable, so yes, I likely hit it with a good deal of force. Hitting the door was less likely to happen when you have to open it with the charge plug's button, but now that you can open it with a convenient touch of the door, it's more likely.

I'll certainly be more careful in the future, but I think the design needs to account for the increased chance of someone brushing against it as I did. What's the best way to raise this point to Tesla, so that perhaps they can work on redesigning the door to be more robust?
I reported this at the X Unveil party in Hawthorne that one of the sales reps did the exact same thing.

I think there needs to be another spring loaded joint that would allow the door to lay flat against the body if it is brushed against in this manner. It is not as much a concern once plugged in as the handle protects the door. It is vulnerable though before it is plugged in.
This is slightly off topic but I notice in your picture that it appears that there's a piece on the door that goes into the chRge port ring? My 2013 car doesn't have this and as such and CONSTANTLY have problems with dust getting into my port. Anyhow does anyone know if that piece on the new port door is air tight?
I think Tesla will deny paying for it because warranty covers defects or fault when cars were built and not intentional damage like this.

but if the damage occured because its a defective design, then they need to fix it.

Looks more like a design flaw.


I didn't realize Tesla started paying for all the frunk dents. O wait...

if my frunk was dented i'd sure as hell fight to get it replaced via warranty.

its worth noting that on all previously cars i've owned, chevy, ford, nissan, when damage occured by bumping into various interior and exterior components that snapped or broke ALL of these by all 3 manufacturers were replaced and fixed UNDER WARRANTY for free. I don't see how this is any different.
Regardless of whether it is covered under warranty or not, and that's debatable, Tesla should do it as a gesture of goodwill. The amount is peanuts. I had a door actuator go after warranty and GM knew it was a common problem on my Tahoe and they replaced it under warranty even though they had no obligation to do so. The damage here is right on that line of being defect vs. damage and any ambiguity should be resolved in favour of the customer.
One design fix would be to have the door open say 170degrees. Alternatively, a mechanism like that in the wing mirrors would also work. That is, if over stressed, the door opens 170 degrees and can then be closed identically to the wing mirrors.
Regardless, though, my gut feeling is that this would not be covered under warranty, but Tesla might want to do it as a goodwill gesture. This would be called careless damage. Tesla must be aware of at least some issues with the doors, on the basis that they saw a need to design a self closing door.
When I first brushed against and broke the charge port door's reflector, my first reaction was, "oops, my bad." My second reaction was, "why was the door so vulnerable to my brushing against it?" While I thought about complaining to the service department about it is as a design flaw that Tesla should pay for, life is too short. I would much rather that Tesla notice that it as a design flaw that they will fix for future cars (which my complaining about it as a design flaw that Tesla should pay for may or may not achieve).

So my current hope is to warn owners with the auto-close (and touch-open) charge port doors to be aware of how easy it is to damage the door, and to only open the door when you are immediately ready to insert the charge plug. If the door is open without the charge plug inserted, it will be vulnerable to damage.

Hmm, maybe I should post a request for a better designed (ie, more robust) auto-close charge port door to the teslatap site.
I did exactly what OP described (brushing open charge door with my hip, hyperextending the door and break the external reflective red plastic exactly where OP picture shows). Tesla Repair quoted about $200 to fix, but sent a Ranger who fixed it as a Warranty Repair. (2015 S fixed on 9/27/18). Tesla did good.
  • Like
Reactions: Canuck