Why Is My Tesla Door Handle Causing Issues?

Tesla door handles are well known for their unique design, which reduces the aerodynamic drag to the minimum. But several Tesla users have reported issues with them. The handles either fail to present or do not retract. Though there have been several revisions and addresses to the problem, some are yet to be solved completely.

Tesla door handles cause issues when they get stuck due to damage to the internal wiring, gears and cogs breakage, snow accumulation in extreme weather conditions, and misalignment with the frame of the door.

Most Reported Problems in Tesla Door handles


Wires Breakage: The internal wires may break when operating the door handle. This will cause the door handle to stick and never retract unless the wires are fixed again.

Gear Cog Breakage: The connection between the motor gear and the retraction mechanism might break. This can also cause the handle to get stuck at the position where the connection breaks.

Freezing: Tesla door handles can get stuck in extremely cold and snowy situations. This problem mostly occurs in Models 3 and S.

Bad Adjustment: Sometimes, the handle might not align with the body of the door, causing it to be briefly stuck as it presents and retracts.

Tesla Door Handle Issues: Causes Explained

Wires Breakage

Over time, as Tesla handles extend and retract, the internal wires can break, causing them to stuck. When the retractable handles present themselves for pulling and opening the door, the microswitches connected to the internal ends of the handle get pushed against the frame and turned on. This way, they signal to the module that the handle has been extended and needs to be retracted soon. But if the wires between the switches and the module break, these signals fail to make their way. Eventually, the module will never know if the door handle has been extended and will not proceed to retract it. 


Gear Cog Breakage

Unfortunately, some parts of the motor assembly in Tesla handles are prone to breaking. When any of those breaks down, the retracting mechanism is ineffective. The handle jams where it is and does not allow further operations. The motor will still rotate, but its mechanical power will not be transferred to the rest of the mechanism.


When snow accumulates in the movable parts of the car’s body, such as handles and windows, it can freeze in place. Unlike other models, to open the doors of the 3 and Y Tesla cars, the owners need to push the handles. The problem exacerbates when the window also gets stuck, leaving no space for the owners to insert some wire and hit the open button present inside.

Bad Adjustment

This error occurs while manufacturing or during the DIY replacement. While putting the handle into its place, the mechanic might miss properly aligning it with the door body. Resultantly, the handle will not present or retract smoothly. It will smack against the body of the door with more than usual friction. This will eventually accelerate the deterioration process.

Read: Why Is My Tesla Sunroof Causing Issues? Problems and Fixes

How to Fix Tesla Door Handle Issues

Wires Breakage

Repair the wire to fix the issue. It is usually a simple job that does not need a professional’s assistance. Just pull out the handle frame and look for the broken wire. Once found, either replace it or solder the cut area. However, note that if the damage is near the microswitches, any attempt to change the broken piece might not succeed. In that case, you will need to replace the microswitches and the wires.


Gear Cog Breakage

Find the defective part and replace it. Note that if you can get the replacement of the defective part or if you have any makeshift solution, it will be better than getting Tesla’s help. At Tesla’s service, the company will opt to change the whole handle frame and system rather than replace the defective part.

If you go for the former solution, remove the handle frame from the door. Turn it around and connect the motor to the battery to rotate it. When it does, you should be able to notice which part is bad. Also, remove the c-clip over the main shaft before disassembling.


Tesla recommends preheating to eliminate the door handle freezing issue in cold climates. Moreover, the company has also suggested that drivers hit the door “with the same force used to knock” to dislodge the snow stuck inside and let the handle move freely.

Tesla has come up with a software update to tackle the issue when it came to the limelight back in 2018. But some users living in the polar regions still face the issue. Moreover, various sources state that the problem has not been fully fixed despite the updates.

Bad Adjustment

You can try to adjust the door handle or contact a professional to do the job. Open the door, remove the panels inside, and access the door assembly. You will see minute misalignments in it. Adjust it to the standards, and the handle should function normally again.

How Much Does a New Tesla Door Handle Cost?


New door handles for Tesla cars cost around $1,000, but you will pay nothing if your car has a valid warranty. Similarly, if you can reach some DIY methods, you can dramatically reduce the cost. Up to $900 in some cases. Technically, the reasons behind the door handle malfunctioning are not gigantic and require only a few tweaks and replacements instead of changing the whole assembly. Hence, by and large, opting for the DIY solution seems to be the best choice.

Concluding Remarks: Why Is My Tesla Door Handle Causing Issues?

Tesla door handles malfunction when the wires or the mechanism inside break, the temperature is freezing, or the handle is not aligned properly. In such cases, the handle gets stuck—it either does not come out in the first place or might not return after using it. Though the company has not yet fully addressed the problem, permanent solutions must be underway. After all, Tesla also has a lot of competitors. It cannot afford to compromise on the quality of the cars.

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