Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
  • Want to remove ads? Register an account and login to see fewer ads, and become a Supporting Member to remove almost all ads.
  • We are looking for another podcast participant who can act as a lead co-host to join the TMC Podcast. If you are interested in participating please see this thread.

How to: 2013 Model S Door paddle replacement guide

I wanted to share how I replaced the paddle for the door handle in my 2013 Model S. I did a similar write up for headlights here. I figured if I can do that I could tackle a door handle. Pretty sure most of my handles have been replaced more than a few times under warranty and out. I'm not your mechanic so do this at your own risk but thought it would help someone. I'll attach it as a pdf below but thought this page would help people on a web browser and with pics.

Chad from @uscgreel had the microswitches and paddle for sale. I got my lightbulbs from him and have been happy as can be so I ordered these from him. Still working up the courage to do that behind the wheel bubbly screen replacement part I purchased from him!

I did not install the microswitches supplied because mine looked fine for age and wear. But if I had do them in the future then I have them at the ready. So pick either paddle or combo as you see fit.

Problem: Door handle does not present when unlocked. Will open from inside. Motor making sound when the door is trying to open heard. Replacing paddle only, not microswitches in this guide

Tools needed: Replacement paddle gear and microswitches, trim removal tools, T30, T20, T25, 9mm, 10mm rachet, 10mm crescent wrench, flathead screwdriver, pick tool, trim screw remover blade, Socket extender, magnetic wand, magnetize sockets if possible, masking tape, small zip ties, sharpie, blanket so nothing falls and breaks on concrete, nitrile gloves, climate controlled workspace, good lighting

Tips from which video: RR- Rich Rebuilds, RD- Reel Deal Ev, EG- Electrified Garage KW- Me
RR Video Link:
EG Video Link:
RD Video Link:

Put blanket/padding down below open door to help prepare place for door trim to rest, cables not long enough to fall to the ground

Put window down (EG)
Remove chrome trim at top of door. Twist and lift gently on the outside toward the mirror EG
top window nut off.JPG

Remove 10mm nut on the handle (seen between the supports of the door handle) EG
BE CAREFUL NOT TO SCRATCH GLASS WITH WRENCH (maybe tape lightly the edge toward the window KW)
When nut is almost out use magnet to grab nut (EG- Different than RR order of operations)
Tape up interior chrome trim KW
Open door latch and remove trim piece behind door trim with T30 (2 screws) RR
Remove trim piece from small pocket below window, will be either 9 or 10mm RR

Remove speaker grill which has four clips, one at each corner, by gripping firmly from larger portion toward the inside of the door RR
speaker grill off.JPG

Bottom part will probably come off first (EG), if not opened before it will require a lot of force
Use door handle cutout out to help with top (EG)
With fingers inside the above part grab firmly and pull off the door panel trim DO NOT LET FALL as power cords will still be attached RR
door trim off.JPG

Put window up all the way before disconnecting switch (EG)
Consider labeling with tape each wire harness that connects together for easier assembly.
Unlatch cable release cord, plastic connectors for lights, puddle lights, door sensor. Some might be behind padding and some might be black, blue, white
Inside door trim is disconnected, stow away safely

Removing door handle assembly
Disconnect three power connectors on the black box that is screwed into the door shielding
black box cables.JPG

Use T20/25 depending on age of car to open up door access kidney shaped panel. There are six screws. RR
There will be a wire connected through the panel
Rubber handle seal may fall down into the opening that is sound dampening RR
Move rubber grommet with wire connected out with flathead screwdriver. Wire will stay the door. RR
Trick car to thinking door is closed with this step to move up window farther: use screwdriver to push in latch on side of door. Window will move up. RR
Use trim screw removal tool just below an inside QR code and above where the window regulator was you just pushed. Remove screw from door by pulling into the door cavity.
Help push with fingers of other hand (CAUTION: It is connected to wiring.) RR
Unplug handle harness from door handle wiring EG
Remove black glued NVH pressure sensors. May not be very sticky anymore. Two of them above the opening. Ignore the three grouped together. RR
Use 10mm socket and go to the side opening. Remove nut out from opening. It may fall in side the door so have hand under it if not going well or magnet arm. Repeat for top opening. Then do the one you can see in the big empty part. RR
If door handle is presented push it in RR (not my problem)
Work the handle down at an angle towards the opening RR
inside cover off.JPG

Tesla Door Handle Replacement steps
Will have wire harness trailing it (the one that you popped out from the door above) RR
Repairing handle harness
Remove rubber backing, take picture of wiring for reference, may be held with adhesive and metal washers on top. Careful, removing with tool may bend the washers. I just used my fingers
rubber cover.JPG



  • taped.JPG
    529 KB · Views: 342
  • speaker grill off.JPG
    speaker grill off.JPG
    876 KB · Views: 13
  • top window nut off.JPG
    top window nut off.JPG
    361.3 KB · Views: 15
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DerbyDave
RR says to drill into housing but I don’t want to do that for future repairs.
Present wiring and opening towards you, take picture for reference
assembly cabling.JPG

3 or 4 depending on handle generation T25 screws are around the actuator (RD)
Pull motor out/down towards you just enough to access clip and paddle
Mark with sharpie the center of the shaft compared to where the torx bolt is to help center the clip later during reinstallation, also take picture for reassembly reference KW
centered c clip.JPG

Remove C-clip behind motor but cover with other hand to prevent c-clip from flying, look for opening for pick tool to go between shaft and c-clip
Left side microswitch held in by Torx RR
Use T10 to remove screw on left side of where motor assembly was that holds micro switch RD
Screw has an L bracket connected to it and the microswitch KW
Push shaft to the right to allow the paddle gear to become uncoupled, remove paddle gear. If shaft will not move use pin punch to the shaft on the other side of the handle. Continue to pin punch enough for shaft to allow paddle to be inset. Washers may fall out between paddle and housing.

Place paddle where old paddle was
Pin punch the shaft from the other side back to center it with the cut out in housing
Put C-clip back in where the cutout is and where the other one was
Reconnect microswitch with T10
Put motor back in from the right to the left RD
Put T25 screws back in, verify handle moves freely by pushing the handle out to present, paddle will not move
Verify all wires are not obstructing movement and place back in guides if moved
handle cable mgmt.JPG

Attempt door handle functions correctly without putting the unit back
Connect 3 cables to the black box on the shielding (does not need to be installed back on door)
Hook up power connector that was left inside door shell RR
Connect opener cable wire
powerup test.JPG

Tesla Door Handle Replacement steps
Door should present and open when pulled/touched/unlocked
Open where you un/latched it when you took the window up to get to the last hiding screw
Disconnect cable that was left inside door
Disconnect power
Put rubber backing on the assembly for installation into the door and metal washers. If any zip ties are broken reapply new ones
Check to see if you can actually push through the rubber backing for fit testing below.
Installation of assembly back into door frame
Tilt corner vertically towards door handle corner for easier access in panel and slip in RR/EG
Slide back to left behind crossbar RR
Make sure top assembly opening slides in between stud and window EG
Watch screw head that will fit bottom left corner RR
Fit loosely (finger tight) and screw on (will need to be adjusted to line up with the outside of the door) RR
Repeat for 12 o’clock panel opening screw RR
Repeat for 9 o’clock panel screw RR

Handle Adjusting- to sit flush
Extend door handle (push vapor barrier? Or just open another door so they all open?) RR/EG
Look for even spacing/ Watch the tips on corners to be as square as possible
Place ratchet on bottom outside nut ahead of following step to tighten as watching for fit from the outside
Keep door handle pressed flush to door with one hand while tightening nut with ratchet on other side of the door
Two bottom nuts tightening should hold the angle
Start with lower nut towards the inside of the door (right when facing inside door the one in the big opening) RR
Top inside nut next. Outer top nut will be connected later when window is down.

Closing up door
Connect door latch connector (the cord that stayed with the assembly) RR
Push through nylon screw back into the hole RR
Routing door handle cable IS EXTREMLY IMPORTANT- loop the door cable over the actuator of door latch and bring down on the RH side then to the back (failure to do so will result in the window tearing it out when the window goes down) EG timestamp 15:40
actuator cable.JPG

Move window to down position slowly to verify window can completely close EG
Put last nut on door handle that was between the window and door on a magnet and slide to stud or very slender fingers. This may be the hardest part for you, (it was for me) EG
Use the magnet to start the thread turning with the wrench acting as a pressure hold
Move to turning with wrench and can tighten firmly since it is already adjusted EG
Recover pressure circle tape pieces
Thread wire with grommet back into the kidney panel cover of the door RR
Connect the three power cables to the black box
Screw in the bolts (six T20/T25)
Connect cables for puddle lights, underlighting, door open red led, handle and other cables to door trim
Reinstall the entire trim piece by pressure. Start from mirror and work way to end of door RR
Push trim back into trim clips firmly RR

Reinstall speaker grill by pressing firmly
Reinstall screws behind inside door handle and pocket (back to front on the clip EG).
Reinstall plastic trim in front of screws
Make sure window is down
Shut door
Attempt to open door from outside
Shut door and attempt to have window come up.
Open door and listen/look for window to come down a bit
Close door and watch window go up into the correct closed position
Party that you did something yourself
Time Completed: ____________
Total Time: ____________
Tesla Door Handle Replacement steps


  • 2013 Tesla Door Handle Replacement.pdf
    160 KB · Views: 29
  • Like
Reactions: mrj25

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.