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Faulty door handles

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
Hello,

Both left hand door handles on my Tesla stopped working. The motor whirls away, but the handle doesn't extend. I have been quoted almost $300 each door to fix. As in the car just left warranty.

However I claim this was a known defect in the door handles at the time the car was manufactured. I previously asked for the other doors to be fixed while under warranty, but they refused. As a result, I feel statuary warranty should apply:

Warranties on used cars

Tesla disagrees, and wants payment before they start fixing the problem.

Any ideas? Should I persist or just pay the $600 to fix both doors?

Regards
 

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
The doors stopped working immediately after we got the car back from body works after an accident. Might be hard to prove a link here however, as they didn't have any need to touch the doors on the left hand side...
 

Blue heaven

Fair Dinkum Tesla
Nov 25, 2014
1,149
1,373
South West Australia
Hello,

Both left hand door handles on my Tesla stopped working. The motor whirls away, but the handle doesn't extend. I have been quoted almost $300 each door to fix. As in the car just left warranty.

However I claim this was a known defect in the door handles at the time the car was manufactured. I previously asked for the other doors to be fixed while under warranty, but they refused. As a result, I feel statuary warranty should apply:

Warranties on used cars

Tesla disagrees, and wants payment before they start fixing the problem.

Any ideas? Should I persist or just pay the $600 to fix both doors?

Regards

The door handle staying in Is a one hour repair with a $5 part, just be careful with the airbag equipment on the front doors.
 

paulp

Active Member
Jul 23, 2015
2,806
1,295
Adelaide, Australia
Yes I’ve had a couple of those and its definately a known problem. Plenty of threads on the issue.
If you want to stop the motor temporarily pull the handle out and wedge some rubber behind the handle to keep it out.
You probably have to get it fixed and then make a consumer warranty claim against tesla for a refund, which I would have thought is a no brainer for a known widespread fault on cars of that age.
 
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Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
You probably have to get it fixed and then make a consumer warranty claim against tesla for a refund

I was told at the time it might be harder to get a refund after paying. Dad who was negotiating at the time decided to postpone the repairs.

which I would have thought is a no brainer for a known widespread fault on cars of that age.

I think companies try to avoid their obligations unless there is a court order (cough cough ... Sony to pay $3.5 million penalty for misrepresenting PlayStation gamers’ rights).

I have been in the position before where a mobile phone retailer refused to fix my phone under warranty despite it being a known factory problem in the warranty period, until I posted on whirlpool and somebody else started challenging the assertions of the company on my behalf. I also have a laptop where the USB-C port failed under normal use, and the manufacturer refused to fix it under warranty because they say it is "physical damage".
 

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
We intend to complain to the ombudsman. But first we have complained in writing now to Tesla:

To whom it may concern,

I wish to bring to your attention that I have a problem with Tesla Model S door handles failing so that the doors cannot be opened from outside the car.

The first failed and was replaced under warranty in 2018. At the time it was requested that the others also be replaced since it appeared to be becoming a major issue with Model S judging by adverse feedback over the internet. The parts were obviously not designed as being fit for purpose under the Victorian Statuary Warranty requirements considering the high number of failures.

Replacement was refused at the time and now two more have failed just out of warranty, which is specified as 4 years or 80,000km.

The car was purchased on 28/9/2016 and km are now 84,635. As Tesla have refused to replace these at their expense, I would appreciate if you could look into this further before I take further action.

Thank you

Brian May​
 

paulp

Active Member
Jul 23, 2015
2,806
1,295
Adelaide, Australia
We intend to complain to the ombudsman. But first we have complained in writing now to Tesla:

To whom it may concern,

I wish to bring to your attention that I have a problem with Tesla Model S door handles failing so that the doors cannot be opened from outside the car.

The first failed and was replaced under warranty in 2018. At the time it was requested that the others also be replaced since it appeared to be becoming a major issue with Model S judging by adverse feedback over the internet. The parts were obviously not designed as being fit for purpose under the Victorian Statuary Warranty requirements considering the high number of failures.

Replacement was refused at the time and now two more have failed just out of warranty, which is specified as 4 years or 80,000km.

The car was purchased on 28/9/2016 and km are now 84,635. As Tesla have refused to replace these at their expense, I would appreciate if you could look into this further before I take further action.

Thank you

Brian May​
Not being able to open your door handle is somewhat significant and important to using the car, and is therefore potentially a ‘major defect’. You have a consumer right to demand a refund for the vehicle if its considered reasonable that a car of the value you paid should last longer than 4 years. If you do a search on consumer rights, its all printed there for you.
I believe Gerard is now at richmond, I’m sure he will deal with it ammicably for you.
 

meloccom

Moderator Aus/NZ
Feb 11, 2008
2,343
1,244
Sydney Australia
I bought a repair kit which has stainless steel replacements for the part that brakes, plus 2 updated microswitches that are also problematic too.
Model S Door Handle Rebuild Kit
I replaced mine myself, but any competent mechanic should be able to do it for you or you can ask Tesla nicely to do it for you after you receive the part, however I recognise they may say no.
In the mean time, I levered out the door handle using a plastic spatula and loosely tied some jute string around the chrome handle. That allowed me to open the door easily until I was ready to install the part.
 

Hyena

Member
Jun 7, 2019
114
147
Melbourne
It's possible that not being able to open the doors would make the car unroadworthy? That in itself should be reason for Tesla to fix them at no cost even outside of warranty.

All latches and secondary latches on all doors giving access to the passenger areas must function correctly and secure the doors and allow them to be readily opened in an emergency.

It's also ludicrous that we're talking about door handles failing on a $100k+ car.
 
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Oli C

Member
Oct 8, 2015
28
12
Bondi,Sydney, Australia
My left front door handle failed late may, they booked me in to fix it (at my expense) 2nd June, they cancelled on the Friday before stating it will be done under mobile repair on 2nd July, most annoying.

But Meloccom's fix sounds like a work around until 2nd July unless they cancel again. The car has 120,000 ks on it and this is its first time I have had to put my hand in my pocket and I drive it like I stole it, so everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize its a minor issue.

I say this as I have a Mercedes in at Zetland now having the turbo being fixed that will cost me $1000s bring on the Cybertruck.

I just did 4500km in 5 days Sydney to Airlie Beach and Back in our Model 3 as it is still under warranty and best long drive ever. So I think the S will do local driving and the 3 will do the big ks while its under warranty.
 
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paulp

Active Member
Jul 23, 2015
2,806
1,295
Adelaide, Australia
My left front door handle failed late may, they booked me in to fix it (at my expense) 2nd June, they cancelled on the Friday before stating it will be done under mobile repair on 2nd July, most annoying.

But Meloccom's fix sounds like a work around until 2nd July unless they cancel again. The car has 120,000 ks on it and this is its first time I have had to put my hand in my pocket and I drive it like I stole it, so everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize its a minor issue.

I say this as I have a Mercedes in at Zetland now having the turbo being fixed that will cost me $1000s bring on the Cybertruck.

I just did 4500km in 5 days Sydney to Airlie Beach and Back in our Model 3 as it is still under warranty and best long drive ever. So I think the S will do local driving and the 3 will do the big ks while its under warranty.
Regarding meloccoms solution, before we had a service centre in Adelaide, tesla used a competant crash repairer to fix my first door handle failure. The first time it took them about an hour. The second one was half that.
 

ShockOnT

⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️
Jun 26, 2016
3,363
3,063
Sydney
I’ve had three door handles go. I picked my car up a month after you, so probably identical.
They should fix for free, being so close to warranty.
 

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
In my case the car is less then 4 years old (was delivered 2016-09-20), but it has over 80K km (around 84K), and that is the grounds that Tesla is using to say they don't have to fix it.

Of course, that is not what the Australian law says.

Tesla said as a good will type thing that they would discount the parts to 50% and not charge for labor. Which sounds good. But the expense the quoted was $489.13 * 50% for one door, excluding labor. When I previously I had been quoted $290 per door including labor.

I tried to clarify, but each time just as I asked the question the (otherwise really good) phone connection mysteriously dropped out. Plus they failed to respond to my request to call back on my landline, or respond to my query via SMS or email.
 

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
Also, interesting to note, no matter how many times I have told them that 2 doors are affected, they keep thinking only 1 door is affected. I feel I have had a complete failure communicating with them.
 

pschubert61

Member
Dec 17, 2017
34
16
New England
The 2016 Model S has a design flaw in the early delivery prior to the upgrade. The pre-multiple cameras Model S before Oct 2016 had a wiring harness that passed over the inner handle extender for the handle to present. It will present but the mechanism to open shorts out. A design change was done. Unfortunately, For those of us with 70K miles on a pre multiple camera S have this as a problem. I have had 3 door handles short out 2 under warranty one now in the rear driverside door. It is quite annoying and will run about 300-400 US dollars, at least in Massachusetts USA. When you do have it fixed have them route the harness under the mechanism so it does not chafe with each extention and retracction. Simple engineering fix that should have been in the original design. Complete PIA when they fail. Good luck
 
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paulp

Active Member
Jul 23, 2015
2,806
1,295
Adelaide, Australia
The 2016 Model S has a design flaw in the early delivery prior to the upgrade. The pre-multiple cameras Model S before Oct 2016 had a wiring harness that passed over the inner handle extender for the handle to present. It will present but the mechanism to open shorts out. A design change was done. Unfortunately, For those of us with 70K miles on a pre multiple camera S have this as a problem. I have had 3 door handles short out 2 under warranty one now in the rear driverside door. It is quite annoying and will run about 300-400 US dollars, at least in Massachusetts USA. When you do have it fixed have them route the harness under the mechanism so it does not chafe with each extention and retracction. Simple engineering fix that should have been in the original design. Complete PIA when they fail. Good luck
If there is a wiring location as you suggest, in Australia Tesla would be forced into a recall regardless of the warranty on the car. Indeed Tesla Australia would be in for a serious monetary fine if they know of this electrical shorting and havnt dealt with it.
 

Brian May

Member
Apr 9, 2016
278
62
Melbourne
If there is a wiring location as you suggest, in Australia Tesla would be forced into a recall regardless of the warranty on the car. Indeed Tesla Australia would be in for a serious monetary fine if they know of this electrical shorting and havnt dealt with it.

I don't think there is any danger of it shorting, and even if does, probably only low voltage, so unlikely to be a safety hazard. Plus there should be fuses to protect against direct shorts anyway.

I had hoped that this wiring issue had been fixed by the time I received my car, but based on the dates given, it looks like I might have missed this (my car was delivered September, fix apparently was October).

IIRC all the door handle faults I can think of right now (1 on front right door, 2 faults on passenger rear door) are mostly likely due to the paddle gear breaking.

After the first fault in the passenger rear door, we were seriously wondering if they screwed the door assembly in tightly. From memory the whole thing seemed wobbly. Might explain why the same door handle failed again. In fact we were worried the same thing was happening yet again with the same door after the 2nd repair, but I think this door was replaced by panel beater after an unrelated accident.
 

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