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Why do the rear doors behave differently?

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
To be clear, I'm aware that the emergency release only exists in the front doors. This thread is about the behavior of the electronic releases.

Try this experiment with your car:
  1. At either front door, with your phone in hand, push and release the "fat" part of the door handle, but don't pull the handle.

    As expected, the window will go down an inch, the door will move out an inch, and the door will swing freely out even if you just pull by the glass or the outer edge of the door.

  2. Now do the same with the rear door.

    The window will go down an inch, the door will move out an inch, then the window will go back up again, then back down. The door will NOT swing out freely until you push the fat part of the door handle again.

  3. Now sit in either front seat with the door closed and "tap and release" the door opening button, but don't push the door out.

    As before, the window goes down an inch, the door moves out an inch, and it will swing out freely if you push it.

  4. Now do the same from inside, in the rear seat. (Tap and release the button, with no pressure on the door.)

    As before, the window goes down, the door moves out one inch, half a second later the window goes back up again, then back down, and the door is still latched unless you push the button a second time. You must push the door while holding the button, unlike the front.

  5. Now do the same again from inside the rear seat, (tap and release) but this time push the door out quickly, after releasing the button, but before the window goes back up.

    Turns out the rear door IS fully unlatched during that half-second, and the window won't come back up this time. So it's not a mechanical issue due to different door geometry. Tesla software is literally raising the window again, re-latching the door, then lowering the window again.
I'm fully aware that simply pushing and holding any button will open any door quite effectively, from inside or outside. But to me it seems really weird that the windows would go down, then up, then down again, and that it would re-latch when it goes up. It's also inconsistent, front versus back.

I discovered this when I was showing off my new car to my dear sweet mother, who sat in the back. I told her "push the button, then push the door". She's an older woman who tends to think "step one, then step two". So she did what I said, she tapped the button, then pushed the door, which didn't work. (And the window down/up/down thing... it's just weird.)

It could be changed with software. To my knowledge there is no good reason for it to "re-latch" and raise the window half a second later, only to lower it again. Is this a glitch?

Why does this matter to me?? For my needs, I'll be using the car for commercial purposes, so I may have several people each day in the back seat, and for most of them it will be their first time in the rear seat of a Tesla. I realize I'll need to tell them "Push and HOLD the button while pushing on the door", which isn't actually necessary for the front. But I expect I'll have more confused people than I would if it worked like the front door. Not a big deal... but it could be fixed with software. And people like my Mom wouldn't be confused if they changed it.

I'm just wondering the REASON the rear doors behave differently? Or is there a reason at all? I tend to think it's just a glitch... Something they missed in development.
 

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
I just went out to take a video to prove you wrong, but it turns out mine does the same thing

I'm not surprised you wouldn't find what I'm saying believable, because neither would I.

As a matter of fact, I had Tesla mobile service come out to address it, and they too were surprised at the behavior, but they said they'd check to see if all Model 3's do the same thing, then call me. I told him in advance, if he told me it was normal I wasn't going to believe him.

So, he called me back and said he had tested other Model 3's and that it was normal. (Well, "typical" might be a better word.)

I told him: "I appreciate that, but as I promised I wouldn't, I don't believe you. So I'm going to drive to the Tesla showroom and check."

So... That's what I did, and he was right.
 

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
Via email yesterday from Tesla support:

Thank you for contacting Tesla Support, I am happy to assist you today.

We appreciate your feedback and I apologize for the inconvenience that the functionality of the back doors could cause for your passengers. I will pass this information on to or development team.

It shouldn't be their top priority, but they can't fix it unless they know about it.

Personally, I'd put custom steering wheel scroll buttons at the top of their priority list. Especially "close the active feature". (Like tapping the [X] in the upper-left corner, which is hard to do while driving.)
 
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Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,989
2,306
Rancho Cucamonga
Another person posted a few weeks ago on the same thing except it only mentioned the behavior from inside the car opening the front and rear doors. So I went to test it on my car since I never sat in the back seat so never get to try opening the door from the inside. I do not see that behavior. Both my front and back auto pop open by pressing the button just once. I have an older M3 from 8/2018 though. Maybe they changed something along the way.
 

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
DId you press and RELEASE before pushing on the door? That's where it behaves differently, where the window goes down/up/down.

Indeed the door does open a little, but it re-latches and doesn't swing freely unless you either didn't release in the first place,or if you re-press the button.

I did test on about five Model 3's at the showroom, they all did the same. Of course they were new but I would expect we'd all have the same software.
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,989
2,306
Rancho Cucamonga
DId you press and RELEASE before pushing on the door? That's where it behaves differently, where the window goes down/up/down.

Indeed the door does open a little, but it re-latches and doesn't swing freely unless you either didn't release in the first place,or if you re-press the button.

I did test on about five Model 3's at the showroom, they all did the same. Of course they were new but I would expect we'd all have the same software.

Yes, I press and release before pushing the door. I wasn't playing attention to the window, but the other guy said the rear door does not pop out and require you to press and push to get the door open. When I tried it, I just press the button once and the door pop out exactly like the front door. It pops out so much that there is no way it could re-latch I think. I could try it again later today when I get back to the my car.
 

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,198
1,772
Chicago suburbs
I had also previously noticed a dissimilarity in how the front and rear doors opened in my 2018 Model when they weren't pushed/pulled open at the same time the button was pressed, although I didn't observe the same window behavior as described where it tries to raise the window back up (unless I tried to physically pull/push the door back closed).

Earlier this year noticed the rear doors often failing to escape the latch when the "open" button was pressed without simultaneously pushing the door out. In comparison, the front doors usually DID escape the latch even when not pushing the doors out. This caused confusion with new passengers trying to exit through the rear doors who found the doors still latched after pressing the button.

So I ended up buying a T45 Torx bit and using it to adjust the position of the door strikers for the rear doors and move them slightly inward. This way the doors' latch would fully release more consistently when the button was pressed. They still weren't perfect after adjusting them (sometimes they would still fail to escape the latch), and I had to be careful about over-correcting with the adjustment and making it too hard to close the door. But it was a marked improvement.

Long story short, I'm not sure the OP's speculation of what's going on is accurate. Rather than being a deliberately programmed behavior to re-latch the rear doors, I believe this more likely simply has to do with the adjustment of the door strikers, the stiffness of the door seals, and possibly slight differences in the geometry of the rear doors that makes them more prone to fail to escape the latch when opened.
 

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
ather than being a deliberately programmed behavior, I believe this more likely simply has to do with the adjustment of the door strikers

That's why I included experiment #5, to confirm that's not the case. Granted, it's possible that both front and rear doors "relatch" but the front just moves out far enough that it's free, BUT... the behavior is different, and the window is moving down, then up, then down again.
 

AdamVIP

Member
Mar 4, 2019
535
314
California
Whats the best site to upload videos. My doors do all sorts of weird stuff. Most of the time the rear drivers door doesnt work at all but the other day it went crazy in a parking lot and would keep tryting to pop the door even when pulled open. THe handle when pulled would stop the car from trying. After it was done with that the window switch would operate the door latch. I have video of that one. I have sent it to Tesla already. They attempt the 3rd repair for the door this Friday.

EDIT: Heres my doors latch operating via the window control. Turn your speakers up to hear the latch activate.

 
Last edited:

jsmay311

Active Member
Apr 22, 2016
1,198
1,772
Chicago suburbs

I've found this occurs with all the cars I checked at the Tesla showroom

Maybe there has been a hardware change in newer vehicles then.(?) :confused:

In my 2018, when you press the interior button or exterior handle to open the door, there's some mechanism inside the door that briefly pushes the door out. (You can see/feel/hear it.) Sometimes this mechanism pushes the door out far enough to fully escape the latch, and you can then push/pull the door open the rest of the way. But other times, the door ends up cracked open just a bit but is still caught by the latch, and so you have to press the button again to fully open it.

This is similar to what you showed in your video, but with the notable exception that I've never seen the window do the up/down thing that you showed. Unless I were to physically push the door back in... in which case at some point before fully latching/closing, it will try to raise the window, and then typically the aforementioned mechanism will immediately push it back out and the window will lower back down.
 

HelixSpiral

Member
Oct 19, 2018
93
117
Cincinnati
I think this comes down to slight differences in the door installations. One of my rear doors behaves exactly as the video shows. The other pops open like the front doors.

The window behavior probably happens because the door opens right where the window up/down triggers.
 

AquaMan

Member
Aug 16, 2019
216
712
Sacramento, CA
I don't know the cause, but I think it should be addressed.

Those who say "this probably happens because..." may or may not be correct, but it doesn't matter. I'd like Tesla to fix it, whether it's a software issue, door seals that don't push the door hard enough, etc. Everyone's doors should behave the same.
 

Need

Active Member
Nov 22, 2017
2,989
2,306
Rancho Cucamonga
I tried again with my Aug 2018 AWD M3, the rear doors pop out. The window come down just like the front doors and do not go back up. I tried both from outside (just press the thumb part) and from inside press and release button. There is a different though.. the front door pop a lot more. The back door pop out about 1/3 as much as the front. And the first time I try, even though the rear door pop out (about 1/2 inch gap), it re-latched and I can't pull it out. But then after that, it was okay... like it needs some practice or something.

I am thinking they put in a weaker door pop actuator in the newer M3 rear doors. They probably changed supplier or something. I know they did it back in 2017 with the Model X charge port. It was a lot tighter than the previous ones.
 

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