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How bad are Falcon Wing doors?

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,175
6,674
Canyon Lake,CA
Forum posts from complainers can give a totally false representation of these amazing doors.

They open and close in under 5 seconds, operate silently, don't leak for me, make an amazing presentation and make Model X a unique ownership experience.

Kids and adults have been slamming their fingers in standard automotive door jams for ever. Their mechanical locks freeze up in winter and the sound cheap when closing.
 

mbp11

Member
Jan 30, 2019
377
203
SF Bay Area
my comments last July:
One of the drawbacks is that the falcon wing doors and the back trunk doors is they do not have sensors present when they are going down to lock. If they hit something,, they will stop but they can give you a bang on the head. The doors have hit my girlfriend on the head twice when she was exiting the front passenger door and the FWD was closing on her side. I accidently closed the doors again on her yesterday, and they whacked her on the head again. I thought she was going to cry, she held her head for a minute or two, the yelled at me "I hate your car" and then fled into the pet store where we stopped.

 
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VikH

Supporting Member
Nov 23, 2015
968
781
Midwest, USA
I used to say that I never had FWD problems, but recently (in the last 4 months) the drive side FWD will detect phantom obstacles when leaving my heated garage and into cold weather. This goes away after a bit, but it is frustrating. Of course when I took it into the Service Center they said everything seemed "normal".

The other issue is water ingress when opening during rain. This was fixed by opening up the channels but they seem to be compressed again, so water is entering the cabin when the roof is very wet.

my comments last July:
One of the drawbacks is that the falcon wing doors and the back trunk doors is they do not have sensors present when they are going down to lock. If they hit something,, they will stop but they can give you a bang on the head. The doors have hit my girlfriend on the head twice when she was exiting the front passenger door and the FWD was closing on her side. I accidently closed the doors again on her yesterday, and they whacked her on the head again. I thought she was going to cry, she held her head for a minute or two, the yelled at me "I hate your car" and then fled into the pet store where we stopped.

New Model X cars have interior FWD ultrasonic that is supposed to stop head bonks. They are not perfect, but they do work if you are an adult standing directly under the doors. You are SOL on the trunk though.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,175
6,674
Canyon Lake,CA
These doors operate similar to the automatic systems in hatchbacks. They also can pinch fingers or bonk you on the head.
People need to be aware that these doors are motorized and can catch you out if you are oblivious.
 
Mar 26, 2021
22
15
Gilbert, AZ
Tesla's aren't magical. They aren't the only cars with power hatch/doors. EVERY car that has automatic closing doors will hit you if you're in the way. Why do people think it's "a problem" that Teslas do it?
 

Mr. Ed

Member
Mar 23, 2017
60
63
USA
No I cannot, all I can do is share my experiences. 4 years and 50k+ of X ownership I've NEVER come across water ingress due to FWD on 4 different Xs I've driven - 2 owned, 2 loaners.

Maybe for England the service centers do something different? But there is no reason to think there is anything special about Xs in England versus US??
Simple cheap cure for water intrusion
IMG_6095.JPG
.
 

jotango

Member
Aug 27, 2018
45
13
orlando
2018 model X with 50k miles. Never had an issue with water condensation or ingress when they open. like others say, i use the open doors as a canopy when it rains and it rains tons in florida!
 
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Batt Car

Executive, engineer, entrepreneur, author, dad.
Oct 1, 2018
109
63
West Chester PA
Never an issue. Except every time I open them people have to come over and ask about the car. They are the signature feature of Tesla’s signature model.
 
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cobra

Member
Feb 8, 2021
110
20
Lansdale, PA, USA
I think the water also depends on how flat the surface is you park on. It looked to me like fairly flat and the water would run down the roof. We parked on a slight incline toward the side I opened a door and had some run toward the opening and on the seat once.

But.. how bad are the doors? Super BAD. Not much like them. Cool to see and watch. Hard to compare since there aren't a lot of vehicles with overhead opening doors.

I do notice that they open up a lot of space in the car, so in cold climates I would avoid opening both at once. Cold wind will blow straight through the car and take all the heat with it (noticed it when trying to get our 2 yr old into a car seat and we opened both sides. Stopped opening them both at once to block the wind.)
 

Vitaman

Supporting Member
Aug 9, 2014
471
89
Decatur, GA
Had big water problems the 1st week I owned the car. Tesla service did something to the water channel and never again.
That being said, If there was an option to pay a slight premium to have "normal" doors I would pay it all day long.
I rarely use the back seat because the doors are slow and for me strictly a gimmick. I feel like I really need to have the bigger size of the X because I've lost a portion of the car to the falcon Doors. In my Model S I used the back seat for groceries, etc multiple times a day. Now I cram everything into the front seats.
Bought the X for the presenting Driver's side door and and ride height. The only Falcons I like ......play Football in Atlanta.
 

FirstInTown

Member
Sep 22, 2020
79
102
Northern Wi
I have an X on order. FWD are a major reason. In Northern Wis you don't see any Teslas. Why not have the signature model if you are going to tell the advantages of EVs. Nothing else like it in the road or being devoloped by anyone else. Glad to see most replies are not major problems.
 

omarsultan

Active Member
Jun 22, 2013
2,333
4,721
Northern California
We have an early production VIN (4xx) and after a few SW calibration issues, they have been trouble-free for 5 years now. I also find the water ingress weird. We took delivery during a downpour and we stood outside in the rain, using the FWDs as an umbrella with no issues with water then or any time afterwards.
 

Richbot

Member
Oct 16, 2020
232
153
STL
Have yet to have the FWD keep me from getting wet when it's raining. It must never be windy when it rains in tesla fanboy country lol

They're stupid. I prefer their stupidity to the stupidiy of a non-sunshaded all-glass roof, and prefer the opening and looks to a sliding door, so they're fine, I guess. There are practical upsides but they all pale in comparison to how well a conventional door would work. Or even a suicide door, that'd be weird and still not hit your head!

It's a rube goldberg device and if you appreciate weird engineering for the sake of just seeing if it's possible, they're neat. As realized in my November of 2020 build, they're an incredibly well-executed, stupid idea. They seem to have held up well on every used one I've been in, they don't leak, they don't rattle, it's frankly amazing they came from a company that builds cars in a repurposed toyota factory/campsite. Sortof like how it's amazing when a dog manages to learn how to pee in a toilet. Amazing, cool feature most dogs don't have, but there's still going to be a lot o fpee on the floor

I think one underappreciated feature is how well they perform in wind, actually. You're never going to smash an appendage on a door swinging in the wind. You'll do that when you close it, but it'll be because you pushed a button, not because the wind decided to blow. A swinging door on this car would be a big door with a lot of momentum if not powered like the front doors. Also agree with the earlier comment re the opening size - though this would be the same with a sliding door, the opening size is pretty nice when you want to carry a lot of bulky crap.

<- almost 5000 miles on the car so far, most carting around a family of four + a dog, one of whom doesn't pee in the toilet yet
 
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Julie119

Member
Aug 9, 2020
6
4
Miami
I don't love the FWDs, and I avoid them when possible. I have a baby seat, and I park in my garage. They don't open all the way, even though they are set to do so. I have to really bend down and squeeze in to retrieve the baby. I use the trunk to carry things rather than having to deal with the FW doors.
 

DDoD

New Member
Jan 2, 2018
2
0
Granite Bay, CA
The rain water rolling into the middle seat is DEFINITELY an issue. I've had my MX since 2017, and I'm really in a love-hate relationship with it. Besides the first complete failure 2 weeks after taking delivery of the new car (the FWD motor failed thus preventing the door to be completely closed, car couldn't be driven, Tesla towed it away and made the repair in 5 weeks), I haven't had much technical issues with it until recently. Now if the car sits in the hot sun for too long, the FWD that gets heated up by the sun will refuse to open, thinking that it's 2cm from a concrete wall. Even that I can live with (just keep my finger on the open button to override its false perception). The thing that I absolutely CANNOT STAND is when we open the door in the rain, water will POUR down into the middle seat where my wife sits most often between our 2 kids, exactly the same as that depicted in the video at 16:06. Granted, this happens more often when it rains more heavily so that more water pools up on the top of the car, and 6-seater configurations will have less issues because no one is sitting in the middle. And of course, after the doors are fully opened they do act as canopies to shelter you from windless rain. If it's windy, you're f*cked again. I work in tech and this is DEFINITELY a design oversight.
 

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