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Easiest way to open (stiff) Model 3 doors?

Sackmonkey

Member
Jun 7, 2021
41
59
Clarkston, MI
Sorry if this has been asked before, but I searched and couldn't come up with anything. I've been driving a couple different M3's over the past 2 1/2 years or so. After all that time, I'm still of the opinion that the door handle design is dumb and unintuitive. Yes, I do understand how to operate it (press with thumb, grab handle with fingers), I just find it annoying that it forces me to use a certain hand (depending on which side of the car I'm on) and I also have arthritis issues in my knuckles, further complicating things.

A few months ago, someone posted on here about a brilliantly simple way to open the door: press the handle with whatever finger you want, the door releases and opens slightly, then just pull the black trim above it using your fingers (in the area just rearward of the side glass). I find it works perfectly every time on my driver's door, thankfully, but only about 50% of the time on the passenger door because the door molding is stiffer and often the door doesn't fully open. Both rear doors are even stiffer and I have about a 25% success rate. So I'm wondering, is there a safe treatment (silicon spray, etc.) that I can apply to the door moldings that isn't going to cause squeaks, whistles or other issues? I hate the idea of causing a problem, but I wish all four of my doors operated the same way. My new M3 is only a few months old, so maybe this will loosen up and fix itself over time, but I'm hoping I can help it along.

I've also noticed many times when people are getting out of the rear seats, the rear doors are so stiff they get confused how to open them. They push the button and expect the door to pop ajar... then they realize on the second or third time that they have to push the button and simultaneously push the door if they are ever getting out. This seems obvious to me, but I've seen it happen enough times that it's clearly not intuitive for some. I'm hoping adding some spray will improve this situation also.

Any suggestions?
 

GtiMart

Active Member
Nov 13, 2019
1,396
1,227
Quebec City, Canada
The door seals can be lubricated with silicone lube. It's actually recommended, at least for the window area, in freezing regions to help in winter. Otherwise, door hinges can be lubricated like any other car. Since we don't go in for oil changes, no one gets to do the normal lubrication. I'm not saying they all do it, but they're supposed to :D
 

Sackmonkey

Member
Jun 7, 2021
41
59
Clarkston, MI
The door seals can be lubricated with silicone lube. It's actually recommended, at least for the window area, in freezing regions to help in winter. Otherwise, door hinges can be lubricated like any other car. Since we don't go in for oil changes, no one gets to do the normal lubrication. I'm not saying they all do it, but they're supposed to :D

Thank you. I didn't realize silicon lube was recommended for winter. I appreciate the info.
 

Candleflame

Active Member
Mar 9, 2015
3,325
1,799
QLD, Australia
The doors are so easy to open youd have to have pretty bad deforming arthritis to struggle... And then i presume youd also struggle with other car doors? For me the doors all open the same and just fine.

You can open them two handed if you got too much deviation of your fingers. Push the doorhandle with your right hand and then pull with your left....
 
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Resist

Member
Mar 24, 2019
522
331
San Luis Obispo
I find opening the doors easy to open and very intuitive. It's never been an issue for me. If they're difficult to open due to arthritis, then opening your house door must even more difficult.
 
Dec 26, 2019
200
106
Silicon Valley
I tell rear seat passengers to hold the "open door" button down then push the door open.

I asked the the service center to investigate. It surprised them, but then they compared it to other cars on the lot and declared it "operating as designed."
 
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Sackmonkey

Member
Jun 7, 2021
41
59
Clarkston, MI
I find opening the doors easy to open and very intuitive. It's never been an issue for me. If they're difficult to open due to arthritis, then opening your house door must even more difficult.
Not at all. A knob is simple to grasp and turn and was designed so that you can easily use the full gripping strength of your hand (assuming you have all your fingers). Pushing my thumb at an angle *forward* of my four fingers is a dumb motion that's not only awkward, but also uncomfortable for my hands. I basically stand at an angle that minimizes the twist to my hand/wrist to reduce the pain. Oh and then if I'm on the other side of the car I get to juggle the crap I'm carrying to the other hand because that's the only way to do it (use right hand for passenger door; left hand for driver door). How many other cars FORCE you to use a certain hand based on which side you're standing? (you could argue I suppose those vertical ones like on a 370Z are a little limited also)

I have no issues with Model S or X (except that the metal is too sharp on the edges/corners when extended), nor the 5,000 other car door handles I've operated over the past 40+ years. I can't believe people defend such a lame design as the Model 3's when it's so obviously bad. I'm not saying it isn't livable and that I don't know how to do it, nor that it was a big enough deal to keep me from buying one. I'm saying it's lame. I truly love my car but I'm not so deep into the Tesla Kool aid that I can't also admit it has a few faults.
 

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