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Model 3 Trunk Button Stopped Working

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
Two days ago the physical button on my Model 3’s trunk randomly stopped working.

I can still open the trunk via the phone app or the car’s screen, but the physical button on the trunk doesn’t work in any circumstance. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the Bluetooth phone key — it fails the same whether the car locked or unlocked, awake or asleep, or with the phone key present or not. And the phone key is otherwise working normally for opening the doors.

I’ve tried doing a scroll wheel reset and also powering off the car via the screen, to no avail. I still feel the familiar click from the button when it’s pressed, but there’s just no response. And this change did not coincide with any software update.

Has anyone else experienced or heard of a similar problem occurring on a Model 3 or any other Tesla?
 

AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
524
436
Bay Area
When you push that button, do you feel it physically depress the trigger inside it?

Put in a service request. They'll probably have to get you a new button.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
Anyone?

(I really don’t prefer going into service situations with Tesla without any idea about what the likely root cause of the problem is or what the fix might entail. But I seem to be unfortunately adept at running into issues that few, if any, have run into before — or at least mentioned anywhere on the Internet). :D
 

TX_M3P+

Member
Mar 6, 2020
561
396
Austin, TX
Yeah, this is the first I have heard of the trunk button not working. Not sure if you'll find too many that have run into this issue. Seems like a mechanical failure of the release mechanism, so service might be your only path to getting it fixed, unless your a mechanical engineer that can look at these types of mechanisms and spot failures and fix them.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
unless you're a mechanical engineer that can look at these types of mechanisms and spot failures and fix them.

Well, I actually am the former, but probably not the latter. :)

But I might look for some trunk teardown videos to see if removing the trim cover on the inside of the hatch is an easy-enough task to see if there's anything obvious underneath I could check.

Edit: Hmm... in this video the process looks easy for removing the trim (@2:55) but re-installing (@28:23) might require replacement clips and a pry tool for replacing broken ones. Not sure I want to bother ordering replacement clips and tools if I probably won't be able to find anything obvious underneath the trim anyway.
 
Last edited:

TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,011
1,995
Houston
This is a very common failure on older cars. The wires that go through the trunk hinge eventually break connectivity from the bending every time the trunk is opened and closed. It's possible that Tesla didn't install these wires very well on your car (shocker!), so they had a premature failure.

I would definitely start by checking those wires before blaming the powered latch mechanism.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
This is a very common failure on older cars. The wires that go through the trunk hinge eventually break connectivity from the bending every time the trunk is opened and closed. It's possible that Tesla didn't install these wires very well on your car (shocker!), so they had a premature failure.

That definitely sounds plausible.

The same thing happened with a broken wire in my driver's door wiring harness after only 6 months of ownership. The power window stopped working, intermittently at first, then more and more frequently. It took an unsuccessful visit from a mobile tech and then a visit to the Service Center to correctly identify the root cause, which was tricky to nail down since it was an intermittent problem, and then 3-4 more days to get the replacement wiring harness shipped and installed. (This was another of my prior issues where I couldn't find any similar reports online.)
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
Looks like it is indeed probably a problem with the wiring. Good call @TLLMRRJ .

A mobile repair tech came out today and tried plugging in a new button/switch, but it didn't make any difference. He also tried doing a "hard" reset by disconnecting the 12V power as sort of a hail mary to see if it would do anything, but to no avail.

He said that he'll order a new trunk wiring harness, but that they're currently really busy with mobile appointments so it will likely be several more weeks before they can come back out.

Also, after watching it, I'm glad I didn't try taking off the hatch trim cover myself. A couple clips broke while removing it and a bunch more had to be pried out from the holes in the hatch and placed back in the slots in the plastic trim cover before it could be installed, and it all looked like a surprisingly tedious PITA.

I'll post another update when there's more to share.
 
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jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
UPDATE: Got it fixed today by a mobile repair tech. Replacing the trunk wiring harness (part no. 1068789-00-E) did the trick. :)

It was covered under warranty. For reference, here's the invoice:

upload_2020-9-9_0-34-12.png
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,128
2,099
San Jose, CA
Any idea what the cause of the problem was? Broken wire somewhere in the harness I would assume but there might be other things that can go wrong.

edit: I guess what I'm asking is that do you have the broken harness or see it in detail before the tech left?
 
Last edited:

toolman335

Member
Oct 3, 2019
854
606
Rochester
That definitely sounds plausible.

The same thing happened with a broken wire in my driver's door wiring harness after only 6 months of ownership. The power window stopped working, intermittently at first, then more and more frequently. It took an unsuccessful visit from a mobile tech and then a visit to the Service Center to correctly identify the root cause, which was tricky to nail down since it was an intermittent problem, and then 3-4 more days to get the replacement wiring harness shipped and installed. (This was another of my prior issues where I couldn't find any similar reports online.)

I had a driver's door wire malfunction a few months after I got my car last year. They said it was improperly installed at the factory. It would tell me my door was open when it wasn't and wreak havoc with the window. It was worse when it rained or I got a carwash.
Like with many new things like this, once I got the bugs worked out this car has been a dream!
 

KetchupKilla

Member
Oct 2, 2019
153
178
Massachusetts
My physical trunk button started doing he same thing since the last update. If I press it 2 or 3 times it works though. Don't see how an update could affect it. Maybe I will see if it goes away on the next update before I schedule anything
 

AdamVIP

Member
Mar 4, 2019
535
308
California
I had a driver's door wire malfunction a few months after I got my car last year. They said it was improperly installed at the factory. It would tell me my door was open when it wasn't and wreak havoc with the window. It was worse when it rained or I got a carwash.
Like with many new things like this, once I got the bugs worked out this car has been a dream!

My rear drivers side door stopped after like a week of ownership. It did the same stuff where the handle and button wouldn't open it but it would randomly open and close the window and sometimes pop the door open too. They tried to fix it a couple times with a mobile tech until they finally had me bring it into service and they ended up replacing a control module. Its been good ever since.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,177
1,693
Chicago suburbs
Any idea what the cause of the problem was? Broken wire somewhere in the harness I would assume but there might be other things that can go wrong.

edit: I guess what I'm asking is that do you have the broken harness or see it in detail before the tech left?

No, they didn’t leave the old harness for me to inspect. But I can’t imagine what else it might’ve been other than a broken wire, probably at the flex joint at the trunk lid hinge.
 
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ken604

Member
May 2, 2019
8
12
Van
My trunk wouldn't open from app, car screen or physical button.
Booked mobile service to come within 1.5 wks (Vancouver, Canada)

Service came and they brought the wrong parts, whoever handled the service request assumed it was the frunk even though in my description I only said trunk (in hindsight i should've said BACK trunk). He did a diagnostic and determined the trunk data wire was not sending a signal so it needed to be replaced. Luckily the tech said he had the part at home and would go do a quick repair for another customer first and come back after hours to fix my trunk.

He came back and it took about 1.5 hrs for him to replace the entire trunk cable bundle, see attached pic.

I feel the service guys really want to help fix customer issues, maybe it's cause they get OT pay or bonuses? Anyway, I was very impressed it was the first time I've used the mobile service.

Two days ago the physical button on my Model 3’s trunk randomly stopped working.

I can still open the trunk via the phone app or the car’s screen, but the physical button on the trunk doesn’t work in any circumstance. And it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the Bluetooth phone key — it fails the same whether the car locked or unlocked, awake or asleep, or with the phone key present or not. And the phone key is otherwise working normally for opening the doors.

I’ve tried doing a scroll wheel reset and also powering off the car via the screen, to no avail. I still feel the familiar click from the button when it’s pressed, but there’s just no response. And this change did not coincide with any software update.

Has anyone else experienced or heard of a similar problem occurring on a Model 3 or any other Tesla?
 

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TLLMRRJ

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
2,011
1,995
Houston
No, they didn’t leave the old harness for me to inspect. But I can’t imagine what else it might’ve been other than a broken wire, probably at the flex joint at the trunk lid hinge.

As I mentioned in my previous post, broken wires in the harness at the trunk is very common in older cars. Tesla obviously has another design or build issue because these wires are failing way too early. They are either using really crappy wires, or they are installed with too much stress being put on the wires, or both.
 

AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
524
436
Bay Area
@ken604 your tech went above and beyond. Coming back after hours. I'd tip him or write him a stellar review. The techs are all rushed by their managers. And without good reviews, these techs can't really get their bonuses if they get any
 

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