Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • Want to remove ads? Register an account and login to see fewer ads, and become a Supporting Member to remove almost all ads.
  • The final cut of TMC Podcast #29 is available now with topics time-stamped. We discussed the Tesla Cybertruck's expected 1 MW Ultra-Fast Charging capability, the Tesla Semi Delivery Event, the coming Model 3 refresh (project "Highland"), and more. You can watch it now on YouTube.

Door Handle Failures

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,584
2,031
Kansas City, MO
Model S door handles: when are they going to fix these things?

This would be a possible candidate for aftermarket product, though the risk there is that the 3rd party works hard to develop a product, and then shortly after it goes on sale, Tesla comes up with a durable redesign, possibly replacing older handles under recall or something.

I may actually customize mine after it goes out of warranty. It's just some crap switches that keep failing due to crappy design.

Anyways, for the most part my S works great, and I'm very happy with it. But the door handles are starting to annoy me. I've had to have a door handle serviced about 5 times now in my 1.5 years of ownership, if I include service scheduled for tomorrow.

Anyone open up a new one recently? Did they ever flip the switches around so that they are on the parts that don't move? Did they improve the wiring any?

Mine is a 2014 Model S, roughly mid year build.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KidDoc
I've had my Model S ....90D for 14 months. Only issue I've had was A/C not working after I have been driving for a while. After about 11/2- 2 hours of driving. Call in Service Dept. Cathedral City, Ca. on Thursday and made appointment for the following Tuesday. When I showed up I was told they got the part and already knew where the problem was after going into my car diagnostics remotely. Wow...first time this has happened. Good job Hector........Love my Tesla
 
Model S door handles: when are they going to fix these things?

This would be a possible candidate for aftermarket product, though the risk there is that the 3rd party works hard to develop a product, and then shortly after it goes on sale, Tesla comes up with a durable redesign, possibly replacing older handles under recall or something.

I may actually customize mine after it goes out of warranty. It's just some crap switches that keep failing due to crappy design.

Anyways, for the most part my S works great, and I'm very happy with it. But the door handles are starting to annoy me. I've had to have a door handle serviced about 5 times now in my 1.5 years of ownership, if I include service scheduled for tomorrow.

Anyone open up a new one recently? Did they ever flip the switches around so that they are on the parts that don't move? Did they improve the wiring any?

Mine is a 2014 Model S, roughly mid year build.

I've been through 4 on my very late 2014. I spoke to the supervisor at the SC, the last time that mine was in. I had wanted him to change ALL of the handles to a more recent design. He commented that there had been no change in the design for the older cars, but that the ones in the newer cars were more reliable. Apparently they just keep swapping the old faulty units with brand new faulty units.

I was a little frustrated by this; I asked him if Tesla's plan was to just keep swapping them until the warranty runs out. He was very polite, and agreed that they should have fixed the design, but he hadn't seen anything yet. I interpreted that response as "yes"... they will just keep swapping them until the warranty runs out.

What do you do?
 

Skotty

2014 S P85 | 2020 3 P19"
Jun 27, 2013
2,584
2,031
Kansas City, MO
It just seems like something they should permanently fix, and it's bad show -- the kind of thing that will quickly turn a person off from Tesla if you are showing them a Tesla for the first time, and the $*#& door handle doesn't work. I'll fix it myself if I have to once it's out of warranty.
 
Model S door handles: when are they going to fix these things?

This would be a possible candidate for aftermarket product, though the risk there is that the 3rd party works hard to develop a product, and then shortly after it goes on sale, Tesla comes up with a durable redesign, possibly replacing older handles under recall or something.

I may actually customize mine after it goes out of warranty. It's just some crap switches that keep failing due to crappy design.

Anyways, for the most part my S works great, and I'm very happy with it. But the door handles are starting to annoy me. I've had to have a door handle serviced about 5 times now in my 1.5 years of ownership, if I include service scheduled for tomorrow.

Anyone open up a new one recently? Did they ever flip the switches around so that they are on the parts that don't move? Did they improve the wiring any?

Mine is a 2014 Model S, roughly mid year build.
 

Attachments

  • B1F4DC8C-15FC-4AC6-9C5E-B77A426FC9E9.jpeg
    B1F4DC8C-15FC-4AC6-9C5E-B77A426FC9E9.jpeg
    360 KB · Views: 201
The drivers side handle failed--stopped presenting--on my MS 75D after about 3 weeks. Tesla sent a mobile truck to fix it in 1.5 days. The technician--who was excellent--said that door handles are his No. 1 service job, but that Tesla introduced a Generation 3 door handle in 2017 that is much better. He said that I was the first Gen 3 handle he's had to replace, although it's more common to for the Gen 3 handles to need recalibration or a new computer. Each handle is controlled by a little computer module in each door, and those sometimes fail, although not in my case. He showed me a Gen 2 and Gen 3 handle set side-by-side, and I can say that the Gen 3 handles do look like an improvement. The Gen 2 handles had at least 3 small limit switches that looked like they were begging to get fouled or broken, plus its electronics were potted in a cup on the door handle unit itself, where it was much more vulnerable to moisture than inside the cabin side of the door like the Gen 3. Also, the Gen 3 has a better waterproof covering than the Gen 2. I hope this translates into better reliability down the road.
 
Just had my Gen3 door handle replaced. Not yet discussed failure mode (AFAIK) for mine. It would appear that the internal reduction gear set in the motor stripped. This results in a high pitched noise from the handle when it is supposed to present as the motor spins but doesn't move the actual externally visible gear.

Took the ranger an hour to replace and align the handle.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Global Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,888
3,414
Ottawa, Canada
My 2012 had more than three complete sets of handles. In the end they appeared to be reliable.

My 2017 had an issue with the driver’s handle sticking, but that was just alignment. Unfortunately it has now failed so it won’t present (most of the time - it occasionally works). So I guess that’s going to be the first replacement on my new car.

You’d think this would have been resolved by now.
 
I was a little frustrated by this; I asked him if Tesla's plan was to just keep swapping them until the warranty runs out. He was very polite, and agreed that they should have fixed the design, but he hadn't seen anything yet. I interpreted that response as "yes"... they will just keep swapping them until the warranty runs out.

What do you do?

I can confirm this. Just out of warranty (81,996 km) and door handle comes out, but the door does not open when pulled. Had two other door handles changed under warranty 6 months back. Asked if they had a grace period for this well-known problem, answer 'No' it's out of own pocket. I actually find this kinda shitty on Tesla's part, it's such a well-known and high-frequency fault that Tesla should just own up to it and take it on them selfs.
 

scottm

Legacy account
Jun 13, 2014
3,070
2,376
Canada
For Gen 2 handles (~2013 through ~2017)

"presents but does not open when pulled" is the easier of the problems to fix yourself... see that link, post #7. Microswitch wire fixes.

"does not present" or "stuck out" possibly making whirring and grinding noise as if trying to present.. you may have a broken paddle gear... see post #10, upthread.

All four of my Gen 2 handles eventually failed to open when pulled, pretty early on.. first year or so.
2 were replaced under warranty, but then also modified by me
2 originals fixed by me

All 4 have remained intact and working for years now.

"Fix it right once" is a better philosophy to me than "repeated warranty replacements with same weakness".
...is why I fixed them myself... see that link post #7 I walk you through a video on how-to
 
Last edited:

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top