Testa door handles get too hot to touch

Testa door handles get too hot to touch

Hello folks, I just bought my car, I live in Arizona and I find a couple of things very difficult:

1. The metal door handles get so very hot when the car is parked outside for a while (like my office parking lot - which is uncovered) that it almost burns my hand. I have now heard this complaint from a couple of my colleagues who also own Teslas. Is there a way around to mitigate this ?

2. My car is a lovely dark green. However, I find that it is attracting a lot of dust and the paint loses it's shine very quickly.

Thoughts? Comments ?

Sarbari in Arizona.

dirk.saenen | October 18, 2013

1. move to Belgium. ;-)

2. detailer, coating.

brian4591 | October 18, 2013

I was gonna say move to Canada but dirk beat me to it. LOL

Sorry about the joke.

Wear gloves?

Sorry again....

Jken3 | October 19, 2013

Haven't tried this but perhaps extending the handles as soon as you get close enough to the car (double click "roof" of fob) will give it some time to air cool?

Roamer@AZ USA | October 19, 2013

I have lived in Arizona for 30 years and have to say when the sun shines whatever it touches gets hot.

The handles do get hot, I just pull it open quickly. Not much different than a sizzling hot seat or steering wheel.

There are UV coatings that help but then you lose the chrome look. Coated my pool deck with a UV system and it made a big difference. We coat wrought iron railing with a UV paint and that works. Just haven't tried it on chrome.

Anyone know if there is a coating for chrome.

Brian H | October 19, 2013

UV? Or IR? UV sunburns skin, but that's biochemical damage.

ddruz | October 19, 2013

Have you tried applying thin felt tape to the inside of the handles? This was a reported solution on TMC. Apparently the handles will still close flush but the felt tape provides insulation for your hand when you open the door.

gasnomo | October 19, 2013

I have the same awesome green color MS. I too found the door handles to be hot, so I had them wrapped in carbon fiber, I love the look and keeps them cool....

GeirT | October 19, 2013

Doen't the whole car get hot? I mean, a silver door handle should reflect sunlight; a black carbon wrap should absorb sunlight thus heat. I don't get the issue here. The car get hot and the door handle get hot and that is an issue?

Guess the solution is to move where it is colder....

mrspaghetti | October 19, 2013


May I ask how much that cost? It's a great look.

kk7p | October 19, 2013

Different materials have varying coefficients of reflectivity, conduction and emissivity, and these properties vary with frequency/wavelength (i.e., visible light versus short infrared versus long infrared). Years ago, cars had chromed bumpers and in the sun the bumpers would get exceedingly hot because of high absorption and low emission of heat.

Most automobile manufacturers figured this out and a decade or more ago began using materials that had a chromed look but stayed cool. The "chrome" door handles on my 2007 Lexus are comfortable to the touch after hours in an uncovered parking area on the hottest of days here in southern Arizona.

Insulating the inside "finger contact" surface of the handles is one approach, and probably the simplest workaround, but the handles will still be hot. I suspect an outside coating (or wrap as gasnomo shared, above) or plating is the better answer, but might be difficult or expensive to apply. I expect to investigate this after my P85 is delivered in mid-November.

In the end, Tesla should have known better than to use the material/finish on the door handles that they used.

gocken1 | October 19, 2013

I have put gaffers tape inside of the handle. It is hardly noticeable. Since I have the Tech package the handles extend when I walk up so all I have to touch is the inside. The gaffers tape works wonders. All you need is a small barrier between the chrome and your hands. Not only does chrome "collect" heat due to high absorption and low emission as kk7p4dsp states but it is also a great at conduction so it will transmit the heat to your hands very quickly.

TeslaLABlue | October 19, 2013

Wear gloves

Also Green is a Boston Celtics color.... not a good thing :)

AmpedRealtor | October 19, 2013

@ Sarbari - Hello from Buckeye! I have the same problem. The first time it happened, I jumped back about two feet. It's not just a very warm feeling, it is actually like touching a hot stove. I only had the issue once when I parked the car outside and in the sun all day on a hot 110º summer day.

I use the bottom of my shirt to grab the handle on a hot day.

gasnomo | October 19, 2013


Given that its a wrap and somewhat reflective, no, I haven't found the doors to get hot at all when in the sun for long periods of time. It's quite effective actually. Not sure of the thermodynamics behind it, but it doesn't get hot at all, a little warm, sure, but nothing whereby i burn my hand like before.

What i had done was basically wrap every piece of chrome on the car. Some of the pieces were wrapped in matte black, some in carbon fiber (accent pieces), and some of the stuff (the two logos, the Model S lettering, and the back chrome piece with "Tesla" on it) were plasti-dipped to ensure 'perfection'...the plasti dip matches the matte black wrap. I also had all four wheels (the original 19") powder coated. Total cost was $1,050.

gasnomo | October 19, 2013

For clarification, the powder coating of all four wheels was $550, the wrapping/dipping was $500.

rsampsonjr | October 19, 2013

I did the carbon fiber wrap on the handles too (green P85). They still get hot, but not as bad as without the wrap. @gasnomo, do you have more picture of yours (maybe on TMC)? I did the carbon wrap on everything low, now looking to do the windows and mirrors similar to how yours looks (carbon on the mirrors, black around the windows). Trying to figure out what I want to do on the front and back chrome. Will probably then powder coat the wheels as I have the 21" silver.

gasnomo | October 19, 2013

@rsampsonjr....i do have pics on TMC. What i did is exactly what you are talking about. Black around the windows and the side view mirror arm, but carbon fiber on the bottom of the mirror piece itself, sets it off nicely. Carbon Fiber on the 'wings' in the lower front on each side next to fog lights. Painted the lower half of the nose cone to match, then blacked out the chrome around the nose and in the nose cone with black, but carbon fiber on the 'inner upper' black piece of the nose cone that surrounds the Tesla "T". carbon fiber on the rear diffuser, and the chrome pieces on the inside of the door and just below it. Blacked out the two Tesla T's and the "Model S" and chrome back piece that spells "Tesla"...I will be posting more pics the power coating, I think it looks pretty hot.

I suspect that the type of wrap used will impact how hot it gets based on some of the things terms of the wrap used on my car, it was a 3M product, and it really doesn't get hot...just mildly warm. We may have different wraps on the car.

gasnomo | October 19, 2013

I also tinted the window as can be seen...

gasnomo | October 19, 2013

Here are some more pics....


Front 'Wings"

Nose Cone (Front T wasn't put back on yet, but will be matte black)

stevenmaifert | October 19, 2013

Push and hold down on the button on the top of the fob until the windows roll down and then open the door from the inside door handle.

AmpedRealtor | October 19, 2013

Forget the handle - why not just jump in through the open window? They did it on Dukes of Hazard.

jat | October 19, 2013

The handles get hot in direct sunlight, but no more or less than other cars I have had (in fact a lot less than body-color handles on a dark car). You aren't holding them for long at all, so I don't see it is a problem.

One other tip - if you turn on the AC remotely (which you probably want to do anyway when parking in the hot sun), there is leakage around the door handles which will cool them somewhat by the time you get to the car.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 19, 2013

@Brian. IR for sure. Don't post when your running on residual caffeine from a long week traveling.

I thought there was a Federal Law that once something had been Chromed you were not allowed to cover it up.

Brian H | October 19, 2013

Black surfaces also emit at high levels (= cooling).

gasnomo | October 19, 2013
Brian H | October 19, 2013
Car t man | October 19, 2013

Looks very nice but I am not sure about the rear tinted windows due to breaking up the design of the car a bit.

gasnomo | October 20, 2013

All four passenger windows are tinted...just the angle of the sun makes it look like only the rear ones are....

PBEndo | October 20, 2013 | October 20, 2013

"For clarification, the powder coating of all four wheels was $550, the wrapping/dipping was $500."

Wow, what a deal on the wheels! I got a quote of $180 per wheel, paint in place, front only. For complete wheel, $250 each not counting tire removal, mounting and balancing, shipping to factory.

Want to get mine painted dark grey, but cost is crazy.

gocken1 | October 20, 2013

pbendo, I tried that felt but I didn't like how it felt. (that sentence just sounds wrong) It seemed way to thick for me and it didn't feel like it belonged.

gasnomo | October 20, 2013


Yep, $550 for all four powder coated...taken off, tires and TPMS removed...very good deal.

PBEndo | October 20, 2013

IMHO Tesla should make an insert that insulates the inside of the door handle. It wouldn't cost much to make in bulk using plastic or some other poor thermal conductor.

KL | October 12, 2015

I drove some of my work folks around and we parked in the sun. The handle was so hot, it really burned one of my employee's hands after parking outside for 3 hours (sunny, 86F, California). We had to get in and out of the car a couple times that day, and it was embarrassing that she had to use her shirt the rest of the time as an intermediary layer to grab a Tesla door handle. That just did not show off well for the car. :(

- K

Ross1 | October 14, 2015

Duct tape.. Multiple layers. $2.50