Safest Way to Close the Frunk?

Safest Way to Close the Frunk?

There's a lot of discussion about risk of damaging the hood by slamming the hood down when closing the frunk.

TM recommends two open palms evenly spaced around the center of the font edge, with a gentle but firm press.

Alternatives are discussed here, but apparently they too are vulnerable, so play it safe - avoid closing the frunk a lot, and if you need to use it, read up on what TM says about doing it right. This thread provides user experiences for additional insights into how and why it can get damaged.

I studied the frunk latch mechanism and experimented, and found what I thought was a better way (but some report problems with this too).

I use firm palm pressure at a single point directly above the latch. It can be one or two palms, but the point is for all the force to be right above the latch hardware (Caution! Latch is set back about 4-6 inches from the front edge of the hood, so don't press at the front edge or you will crease it. Owners have reported creases when doing this.

By not straddling the latch with a wide stance, the idea is to reduce the risk of uneven side forces that might tweak the aluminum hood stamping. Applying cantilevered forces perfectly in balance is hard for a human to do consistently. The single point press may be easier to do right, to prevent any tweaking torsional force (but if you are too close to the front edge, you can cause the same crease problem from front to back - so be careful).

Anybody else looked at this?

Some owners have reported creasing their hood even when carefully applying pressure at a single location directly over the latch. Others have reported creases when using two separate palm pressure points with both hands as Tesla recommends. A consensus among many owners is forming that the current frunk closing procedure is too subtle and too delicate to be consumer-grade.

Hoping that TM updates this latch setup to make it a simple auto-closing operation.

TikiMan | October 1, 2013


When I had my loaner S85 a few months back, it is VERY evident the new MS have a reinforced hood latch (I could not only see the new thicker front part near the latch, I could feel the extra weight (compared to mine).

If a Tesla rep tells you otherwise, they are either misinformed, or new.

hammy16 | October 1, 2013

GeekEV Thank your for your direct comparison on reinforced frunk for at least the loaner 85.
Would be nice to confirm if all models after some date had it added and also if it is something
that could be added later..

Next chance I get I will compare my early sig to a recent delivery...

Mark K | October 2, 2013

4rhansen - something seems amiss with that thesis.

If this were all driven by the seal compression force, and the latch isn't any influence, then why does the back hatch work so easily?

By comparison to the frunk, the back hatch is very sturdy and you can close it with a simple one-hand slam. The back hatch has a full seal too, so this is an existence-proof that it is not the seal.

It is the latch that defines the frunk operation. The front latch has special double engagement safety elements to prevent accidental opening at speed (not an issue with the hatch at the rear of the car).

This compound latch has spring pawls and they take force to actuate. They take more force than the single latch at the back, which is why you have to work it more carefully.

In my view, the current latch config is not consumer-grade, and TM will end up redesigning it.

It already has a servo in it for remote release. It's not a stretch to redesign that servo so that it tugs down the last bit of travel and locks it in place for transit. That way you'd simply lower it and software does the rest.

I think TM will end up with something similar to that. Hopefully we can get a latch upgrade kit at some point.

For now, I simply don't use the frunks in our two Model S's just to play it safe.

ye | October 2, 2013

Could people with a creased hood describe the shape of the crease? Is the part of the hood directly over the latch higher or lower than it should be?

If it's higher, that would tend to support the latch-is-hard-to-close theory. If it's lower, that would tend to support the seal-is-hard-to-compress theory.

thranx | October 2, 2013



I would think a final gap motorized pull-down and lock would not only be a comparatively simple retrofit, but add safety.

GeekEV | October 2, 2013

@SarahsDad - Yeah, I was always careful to put my palm directly over the latch plate too.

@ye - The crease seems to be caused by bending of the aluminum hood against the bottom edge of internal mounting plate for the latch. It's very subtle, most people wouldn't notice unless the light is just right or you point it out to them. Here's a picture, though it's hard to photograph. I've added a note box around the crease if you click through to flickr.
Tesla Model S Hood Crease

AmpedRealtor | October 2, 2013

Everything you need to know about closing the frunk is explained in this video...

SarahsDad | October 2, 2013

Yep my crease is in the same spot.

Crazy how depressed I am now that my car isn't "perfect" any more.

bdukov | October 9, 2013

@GeekEV, SarahsDad & ye
I too, have scrupulously followed the instructions for closing the frunk, and decided to try one hand (other hand holding groceries) at the top of the Tesla logo, and precisely the same thing happened! Really, VERY TEMPERMENTAL!!!!
@GeekEV How did you upload a photo directly to this site? I took one of my own to add.

ir | October 9, 2013

If you really only have 1 free hand and must risk closing the frunk, I've had success with 1 hand + 1 knee. Not recommended, but I must have been lucky.

Brian H | October 9, 2013

Not possible. Host the pic somewhere, then rt-click on the image there. Copy Image Location, then insert in this HTML:
<img src="URL" width="600">

ELECTRICFAN | October 9, 2013

My 3 week old grey MS has exactly the same crease/dent now. I'm not even sure if I did it or someone else (had the car detailed/paint treatment). I agree, its so depressing knowing your car isn't "perfect" anymore! Worse, I notice every time I get in it now, looking to see if it grew overnight I guess. Ah, well, nothings perfect forever...

Mark K | October 9, 2013

Thanks for the photos guys, now I get what's been happening.

The sheet metal under the hood at the latch location is reinforced with a welded second layer aluminum structure. Those creases in the photos are at the edge of the reinforcement zone.

While the palm pressure was centered left to right, what likely caused the crease is a force at the front edge of the hood sheet metal. Since the latch is actually set back about 4-6 inches from the front edge, this puts a cantilevered load on the sheet metal, and it bends at the end of the reinforcement zone. Because you can't see what's below, it's easy to lose the frame of reference while closing it, and not be over the latch (front to back).

I've been careful to apply force several inches back from the edge, (to be squarely over the latch), and that seems to work without issues.

The creases in the photos are pretty subtle, and I had to look carefully to see them. Still, I know well the hit to pride when a shiny new toy gets an imperfection.

If it bothers you enough, there is a remedy. I've had paint-less dent removal on several Mercedes over the years, and it worked quite well - inexpensive and fast, and looked perfect afterward. You can google pointless dent removal in your area for guys that do it.

For those not interested in worrying about latch technical minutiae, I suggest minimizing use of the frunk to avoid the risk of creases.

I do hope TM simplifies and strengthens the frunk latch hardware so that it's more consumer-friendly in the future.

GeekEV | October 9, 2013

I think simply extending the reinforcing plate all the way to the edge of the hood and a few inches further in the other three directions would do the trick - but what do I know? I'm not an automotive engineer. Yes, Mark, they are subtle most of the time, but with the lighting at he right angle they are very obvious. That said, if you didn't know how it was supposed to look, you might almost think it was that way on purpose.

My local SC says they have a good paintless dent guy who they think can take care of it. I'll have him take a stab at it so long as It's reasonably priced and I don't have to pay if he can't get it out or substantially reduced. Unfortunately, Tesla is, so far, steadfastly refusing to cover it under warranty. My take is that since it was damaged while under "normal" usage conditions it should be considered a materials defect, but they disagree. Oh well.

Robert Hodgen | October 10, 2013

I've been doing it the way Tesla recommends and have had no issues. When using two hands, the force per hand is 1/2 the force of using only one hand to close the frunk.

The skin of the hood is supported around it's outer edge--not in the middle. It makes sense to apply pressure away from the middle and at the leading edge.

Aluminum is softer than steel. We have a Volt, which also has an aluminum hood, and there have been the same complaints from some Volt owners. The recommended technique for the Volt is to let the hood fall from 6 or 8 inches. If you press down over the latch the hood will "oil can." This seems to be the nature of aluminum hoods.

J.T. | October 10, 2013


Someone had posted on another thread about how people are constantly doubting the manufacturer's suggestions. I don't get this. I, too, am very careful the way I close the frunk and have had no issues. Funny, though, when I was at the Roosevelt Field showroom I saw one of the staff closing it wrong. Go figure.

Gizmotoy | October 10, 2013

@jtodtman: Part of the issue, at least in my mind, is that there shouldn't be a "wrong" way to close the hood in the first place. It shouldn't require specialized knowledge to close the frunk without damage.

At some point you'll forget, your spouse will forget, or a random passenger will try to help by closing it and damage may be done.

It's pretty ridiculous. Minor, sure, but ridiculous. Silly mistakes like this remind us that despite all they got right we're still dealing with a very young automaker.

J.T. | October 10, 2013

@gizmotoy I don't disagree with you one bit. It's a situation that should not exist. But, it does and it has always been my observation that people who have been shown the correct way to do something but decide not to follow directions are either lazy, foolhearty or future trailblazers. I don't think frunk closing alternatives can lead to anything but disgust and disappointment but you never know.

Gizmotoy | October 10, 2013

My main concern is that I'm not always the one handling the car. Lots of hotels require you give the car to the valet if you want charged. What if they go hunting for the UMC in the frunk? Thank kind of stuff is what worries me... | October 10, 2013

Gizmotoy +1 you are not always in control of the situation and you shouldn't have to go to a training class on hood closure.

J.T. | October 10, 2013

So what we need is an option to lock the frunk from the touchscreen with a PIN.

AmpedRealtor | October 10, 2013

Securing the frunk from prying eyes should definitely be included in a valet mode - as would be disabling access to the glove box.

J.T. | October 10, 2013

I added the request to prioritized software thread.

GeekEV | October 10, 2013

@jtodtman - It's not that I doubted their suggestion, but there's a big difference between a suggestion and a necessity (to avoid damage). Now that I realize it *is* a necessity, I am doing it that was exclusively. But, IMHO, Tesla should make a good faith effort to fix it because they didn't explain the situation clearly enough. OTOH, I'm not going to suddenly start hating the car or the company over it.

@Gizmotoy +1

J.T. | October 10, 2013

@GeekEV One person gets advice and takes it as a suggestion. Another person gets the same advice and takes it as "you better do it this way or else". But I agree Tesla should not only caution more strongly but also make some effort to mitigate the damage.

TikiMan | October 10, 2013


In the video you posted, that is how they told me to close the frunk hood when I got my MS almost a year ago. If you have an older MS (like mine) without the new reinforced latch, and close it that way, you will eventually put a crease in it.

Mark K | October 10, 2013

Tiki - that is the issue - even the recommended way leaves it vulnerable to damage.

Jtodtman - the core issue is that it's too delicate no matter how you baby it.

At the heart of the problem is that the two stage latch requires too much force on the hood to close it. It is not designed to let gravity close it like on the volt or on my MB SL (which has an aluminum hood that never creased)

I think the best solution for the consumer is to redesign the frunk latch servo to do auto pull-in when it gets close. That way no hand force is needed and the current aluminum structure is plenty strong since it would pull down on the latch rather than pressing anywhere on the hood. More convenient for the consumer, and a de minimis cost difference, since there is already a servo motor in that latch.

Hope TM does this.

J.T. | October 11, 2013

@Mark K I heartily agree. Sorry if I ever gave the impression that I didn't.

thranx | October 11, 2013

@Mark K; +1

Shouldn't be that complex a retrofit. I'd pay whatever it costs, as I rarely use the frunk now for fear of creasing the hood.

NKYTA | October 11, 2013

+1 to @Mark K

That said, I've given so many tours/test-drives and probably opened/closed the frunk ~100 times the Tesla recommended way, no crease. Early VIN.

TikiMan | October 11, 2013

Mark K,

I completely agree! It would be a worthwhile retrofit to add a auto-lock feature (like on the rear hatch), to avoid further damage. Long gone are the days of heavy steel car bodies, and we have all seen what happens to an aluminum soda can when you apply light pressure to it.

I am just bummed that there are that many MS's out there with front-end creases ;-(

Robert22 | October 12, 2013

Elon Musk: "Any product that needs a manual to work is broken"......except for the nuances of frunk closure.

SarahsDad | October 12, 2013

More pix of my creased hood. FYI I was never told/instructed on how to close the Frunk - I never met my DS (he was from Philadelphia), never went to the Tesla SC (over 200 mi away), and the guy that delivered my car was an independent contractor and knew very little about the car. If I had known about the instructional video linked above I probably wouldn't have "experimented" with the one-hand closure technique. FWIW I've perfected the two hand "lean and close slowly but firmly" approach and am confident I can avoid damage in the future. Still, not a great design. Spoke w Tesla Service, essentially they said "sorry" and referred me to an approved local body shop.

bdukov | October 12, 2013

I have the identical "crease" on my Pearl White finish. How did you post your picture on this forum?

SarahsDad | October 12, 2013

Finally figured it out using this helpful link:

Roamer@AZ USA | October 12, 2013

Mark, I know you don't want to believe it but the volt and and your MB don't have a sealed water tight storage area designed to keep out 100 mile an hour plus airflow on the front of the car.

The only thing making the the Tesla hood difficult to close is the large rubber compartment seal you are compressing to seal when you close. Pushing over the latch as you propose is a sure fired way to oil can the soft aluminum and make a crease.

Have closed mine many times since delivery in March using the Tesla instructions to gently push down with your palms toward the car and your hands about a foot apart te heal of your palm pushing on the hood edges. Works every time and provides smooth even compression of the large surface Frunk seal.

Want to prove me right. Remove the seal and it will close like every other non sealed hood. There is not another seal on the car that has a single layer of metal closing over a completely flat rubber sealing surface. If they made the hood double wall and four inches thick you could slam it like the doors and the rear hatch. But then that would be a pretty heavy hood. It also doesn't enclose and protect occupants like all other openings on the car. It actually is designed to crumple up to protect you.

Based on the comments here it is obvious that Tesla needs to improve the latching and sealing system for the Frunk. It's way to complicated for the typical consumer and doing it wrong can cause damage. In the mean time I would recommend doing it the way Tesla instructs. Oil canning your hood is a guaranteed way to creat a crease.

Crease free and doing it the way Tesla shows in the instruction video. You are damaging cars telling people to push with two hands over the latch. Guaranteed to create creases as documented over and over in this thread.

TikiMan | October 12, 2013

If anyone gets their crease fixed (or has already do so), please let me know what it cost, and how it was done.

I really want to fix mine, but I don't want to have to replace my 3M clear-bra, or have my MS sitting in a body shop for um-teen weeks (months), etc.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 12, 2013

Tesla, Maybe you could make an inflatable seal that uses the suspension air to inflate and seal tight when the car is moving and deflates at rest to allow less closing pressure on the Frunk lid to make the seal. Would be less costly than a power closer.

I do really likes having a clean water tight front compartment. I bought the case that fits in the cubby hole and put my cords, compressor and normal emergency supplies in it. Seemed funny not to need jumper cables. Perfect place to tuck things I don't use often in a nice out of the way location. The suitcase keeps things secure and quiet. The bag is really nice quality, double layered and fits the front cubby hole perfectly.

As I recall from my youth the front hood on Volkswagen beetles was rubber sealed and single layer construction. You had to push firmly on the front handle to get it to latch. Slamming didn't work on that either. Only other car I have owned with dry storage under the hood.

Mark K | October 13, 2013

4rhansen -

The system is a compound structure consisting of a distributed perimeter spring - (the weather seal), and two local springs (one for each latch). All of these collectively form the pushback that you overcome with hand force.

From my experimentation, the latch springs appear to dominate. The oil can effect that you describe was exactly what prompted me to try alternatives. When I followed TM's instructions, I saw oil-canning on either side of the latch and that concerned me.

The.crease we are seeing is a print-thru of the border of the reinforcement zone. This means any force outside that zone can cause the sheet metal over that edge to yield and form a crease. One clue as to the dominant backpressure source is whether the crease is an "inny" or an "outy". An outy suggests that hand force is loading it at the front edge of the hood. This can be both with one hand in the middle, or two that are straddling it, if the hands happen to be near the front edge of the hood.

An inny would point to excessive force directly over the latch. But i don't believe that's happening. From the photos, it looks like the crease is an outy - i.e. it's a ridge rather than a valley. Maybe some folks can post to confirm what they see, so we can definitively determine the mechanism of failure when it creases.

Regardless of which spring force dominates though, the bottom line is the same - It requires too much skill and care to close the frunk. And again, regardless of the source of the spring force, a self-closing servo latch would solve it.

The intent here is to help people avoid damage to their cars by discussing this issue. There has been a lot of good input by many members. i think the consensus at this point is that you must be very careful closing the frunk. TM's recommended technique, as well as the alternatives we've tried, are no guarantee against creasing the aluminum hood.

Let's hope TM upgrades it so you can just close it without thinking much about it.

In the bigger picture though, this is a very minor nit. The car is a awesome.

J.T. | October 13, 2013

Mark K

Your analysis is sound and compelling. Your final conclusion, that this is a minor nit, is extremely subjective. From your post I can see that even though I carefully follow the procedure outlined by Tesla I've been lucky that a crease hasn't developed anyway.

If I followed instructions every time and a crease developed regardless I'd be very upset that my pampered car, the most pampered car I've ever owned since my 280z, had a blemish. The fact that Tesla doesn't regard this as a design flaw that they must address and repair for those with the damage is disappointing considering their mission to have happy owners.

Walk up to anybody and say you dented your car by closing the hood and they'll think you bought a cheap piece of trash. It just doesn't sit well and I sympathize with those with the problem.

Mark K | October 13, 2013

Jtodtman - I share your concern, (ergo this post). While this may be minor relative to the brilliant performance of the drivetrain, the finicky frunk closing is not OK in the steady state, especially for a premium car.

TM can't improve everything instantly, but I think we all feel this should be on the list of revisions. | October 13, 2013

@jtodtman +100

"Walk up to anybody and say you dented your car by closing the hood and they'll think you bought a cheap piece of trash. It just doesn't sit well and I sympathize with those with the problem."

bdukov | October 13, 2013

@GeekEV Thanks for the upload info.
Here is the picture of my Frunk "crease"

Brian H | October 14, 2013

Shall we call it the Dummy Dent? >;p

GeekEV | October 23, 2013

Good news! The Rocklin service center has a line on a very talented paintless dent removal guy who is able to make these creases disappear. The guy says this is a common problem among many high end cars with aluminum hoods and that he's dealt with it many times. They had him prove it on one of their demo cars first, then set him loose on mine today. I can't even tell where it was! If you're interested in having this done, give the Rocklin service center a call and ask for Garret. He'll hook you up. A word of warning though, it's a labor intensive process and so not cheap. It'll run somewhere around $400...

TikiMan | October 23, 2013


I rather prefer to think of it as the... "Afterthought Frunk Hood Crease".

dvarien | October 24, 2013

Closing the frunk with confidence I think is pretty easy, although not as easy as it could be with a finishing servo motor as in the trunk.

And beyond range anxiety hood damage is probably the one thing I worry about most, a dented frunk hood. Not good!

But I have a two handed five finger-tip closing pressure on the frunk-hood equally spaced right & left adjacent the hood latch mechanism that seems to be very effective. The force required to close the latch delivered by 10 finger tips spaced over a wide area is minimal and is working well for me.

This has been my method of closure since day one. Yes my Tesla Delivery Specialist showed my the TM preferred method but I wasn't comfortable with it.

I frequent just two car washes currently(east bay & so.bay) so far, and I make it a point of educating them on my frunk closure method most every time. So far no harm.

If this is really a serious issue, injecting some high durometer, low density ridged urethane or epoxy foam in the cavity area under the pressure point area of the hood would increase the upper hood strength by 10X with a minimal weight increase of 4-12oz. I really don't want to disassemble my hood liner to do it myself but if Tesla doesn't offer a mitigation procedure sometime soon I'll probably delve into it and will certainly report on the DIY procedure afterwards.

Does Tesla monitor this forum? Hope so!

Brian H | October 24, 2013

Seems like a confusing and wordy way to describe a Dummy Dent.

GeekEV | October 24, 2013

@dvarien - Your technique is the one that Garret demonstrated to me when I picked my car up from service yesterday. Which is different from the one demonstrated during delivery. The only problem I see with the newer technique is that it left some noticeable fingerprints.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 24, 2013

Why is this so hard to comprehend.

Point your fingers at the ground

Turn your palms toward the car

With your hands at body width and your body centered on the car

Press gently with the heal of your palm on the outer her few inches of the Frunk lid.

Easy, painless, gentle and causes no damage.

Future designs will likely be improved in the mean time just follow the steps above.

This is the thread that just won't die. Oops I gave it life.