Tesla wants $900 to fix 3rd failed door handle in two years

Tesla wants $900 to fix 3rd failed door handle in two years

Because I have driven more than 80,000 miles in two years the warranty is expired on door handles. Have had two door handles (different doors) replaced and now looking at my third. Tesla's cost to repair is $900. Has anyone had a repaired door handle fail again? Any alternatives buying new motor? My car was bought in December 2014.

NKYTA | January 26, 2017

Early on I had a first gen handle replaced, then they replaced all four to the next gen handles. Then had some handle seal cleanup done. No issues since. (2 1/2 - 3 years ago).

I have switched to only auto present of the only the drivers handle, unless on trips with my wife to hopefully make the others last longer.

eshadid99 | January 26, 2017

Great idea! How do you make auto present only on the drivers handle?

NKYTA | January 26, 2017

Controls - Settings - Vehicle - Door Unlock Mode, or something similarly named.

eshadid99 | January 26, 2017

NKYTA: thank you

grimusford | January 26, 2017

NKYTA that was my logic also...same settings. Just bondo over the old broken handles.

Haggy | January 26, 2017

When mine failed, I was told it would have been about $1000 had it not been under warranty. The replacement had problems because of alignment, but they fixed that. Around that time, I looked into what it might have cost to fix it myself. There were enough for sale on eBay that I probably would have bought one, kept my original handle, but swapped out the motor and circuit board part. It all depends on what the problem is, but it shouldn't be a big job with a used part.

The only problem is that Tesla is downright reactionary when it comes to repair manuals. I would have expected something progressive such as supplying them to us electronically at no cost. Tesla took the opposite extreme by selling us very expensive cars and outright refusing to show us the manuals. I don't know how anybody at Tesla can say with a straight face that service shouldn't be a profit center when they would profit more from me fixing it myself if I tried to get access to a repair manual from them.

rxlawdude | January 26, 2017

@eshadid, I'd try escalating this up the chain. I'm betting Tesla will fix this as goodwill. They should, at least.

If this were to happen to me, I'd probably bring out my book of magical legal incantations. :-)

mjt.private | January 26, 2017

Chances are the problem is a broken wire into the sensors on the handle. Videos on the web explain how to fix it, if you can get the parts. It's not technically difficult to do, but it does take time and care.

The broken-wire problem is a very amateurism design fault, and not covering it for 4 years irrespective of mileage, is pretty pathetic, frankly. Am waiting for mine to go - I'll probably be out of warrantee too

rxlawdude | January 26, 2017

@Haggy, maybe we should find an owner in that state (Mass?) that REQUIRES manufacturers provide service manuals to owners.

rxlawdude | January 26, 2017

@mjt, that's one legal incantation: design defect leading to failure.

croman | January 26, 2017

You'd better have a friend who can out expert them and that I doubt to get a product liability defective design claim to succeed. It does sound like the handles are defective though. How goes mileage matter for this issue? I think time is the only thing that should matter but Tesla's warranty like all other autos factors irrelevant considerations into applicability. At least the battery and drivetrain are unlimited mileage now.

jordanrichard | January 26, 2017

If the pending handle was replaced less than 1 year or 12,000 miles ago, it should still be under warranty.

SteveOf2 | January 26, 2017

I'm getting more and more concerned of future failures and costs for things that are simply Tesla learnings on building reliable, long term cars.
The limited use, present option is great. On my previous car, automatic AC/Heat meant the AC was always on. Which means it failed early. Acura eventually did a bulletin but my car was 3 months out of warranty.
So, I set the AC off and only had it turned on when needed. I've done the same for my MS.
Door handles and AC should be limited to when I actually need them to reduce wear.

Haggy | January 26, 2017

Yes, if you live in Mass, you can get the manuals for $30. But that's for one hour of access. Other manufacturers often charge at least double. But that's for hard copies you get to keep.

Maybe if somebody in Mass sues Tesla on the grounds that they are trying to get around the law by failing to provide service manuals in a reasonable manner, they would change this.

SteveOf2 | January 26, 2017

Wait, if you live in CarTalk town, I can pay $30 for 1 hour of access? WTH, seriously?

Anthony J. Parisio | January 27, 2017

eshadid99There are video's on Youtube about how to fix the handles.

Steve S | January 27, 2017

I'd bring it up the Tesla chain as it's obviously a problem that keep occurring. Also, try another SC. Lawyer up if need be.

Mathew98 | January 27, 2017

If they are different handles as the OP described, it is not a "recurring" problem. | January 27, 2017

@Haggy - I got the impression the entire industry has gone on-line and paper manuals are long gone? I know Lexus went online at least 8 years ago with a similar model to Tesla - with a fee for access - 1 hour, 1 day, etc. The main difference is Tesla's access is still restricted :(

The somewhat valid concern may be having someone get killed - either electrocuted or crushed (undoing a battery) that they should not work on without the proper tools and training. Still there is plenty of things that could be done outside of these two safety areas. I like the manual to be able to know how to pull apart panels and route wires. Luckily I have enough experience that I've figured things out on my own and occasionally asking helpful Tesla service techs.

Haggy | January 27, 2017

"Wait, if you live in CarTalk town, I can pay $30 for 1 hour of access? WTH, seriously?"

There is a "right to repair" law that says that companies can't withhold information from individuals or independent service centers that they provide to their own facilities. The law also says they can charge by the hour, day, month and year. It also says that prices must be fair and reasonable. Some of the criteria for what constitutes that include whether it's in line with what they charge their own franchisees. Tesla charges authorized repair facilities (i.e. body shops) nothing for access. Another criterion is whether it's affordable. I think Tesla's hourly costs make it too high for an independent facility to even look into whether they want to give you an estimate.

I don't think Tesla is in line with the spirit of the law, but that's up to the state's attorney general.

BigD0g | January 27, 2017

This should help if you want to fix it yourself: www ebay com itm Tesla-S-model-Service-Repair-Workshop-Manual-Wiring-diagram-2012-2016-diagnos- 262818086987hash=item3d312dc04b:g:1F4AAOSwt5hYgY6H&vxp=mtr&afsrc=1&rmvSB=true

BigD0g | January 27, 2017

ugh, can't post links, just go on ebay and search for model s service repair manual | January 27, 2017

@Haggy - "Tesla charges authorized repair facilities (i.e. body shops) nothing for access."

Presumably true, but it can cost a lot to become an authorized repair facility. They have to complete Tesla's training course and buy equipment specific for Tesla repairs. Might be fun to create my own "authorized facility", but I expect they would only allow training for a real shop.

mjt.private | January 27, 2017

For those who are not already aware - the design defect is that electrical wires to the two sensors get pull when the handle comes out. Because of the way they've routed the wires, the shortest wire pulls on the sensor, and after a few hundred or so cycles, the wire snaps at the base of the sensor. Here is one video here: where the TM ranger explains how they've rerouted the wiring to reduce the strain and so failure rate. It's a beginners design fault. There is a new door handle design now too, I believe with 3 sensors. There trouble with the repair is that it does looks like it takes some time to.

karimivahid | August 6, 2019

I had 2 replace while the car was under warranty and last week , (2 months after the warranty) the 3rd one went bad. now Tesla is asking $600+ to repair the 3rd door handle and I honestly have an issue with that because

1) and the most important one. this is a design issue . the 2 tech that replace that front doors handle , both confirmed that this is a design issue , Tesla know about it . new design fix this issue. why should the early customers pay for the design issue flaw

2) My car was at a body shop for 165 days simply because Tesla part shortage. (someone backed into my car) so while my car was not in use due to tesla parts shortage , then I feel like my warranty needs to get extended.

3) Both time I asked the tech , (I Had the feeling this is going to happen) since this is a know issue , what will happen after my warranty expires ? both confirmed that since this is a known issue , Tesla will do a good will on it and replace the old design with a new one. I trust their word and in addition I stopped Auto door present for all 4 door so I can save the life of the part longer

rxlawdude | August 6, 2019

They can rebuild the door handle mechanism for less than half that price.

#2 does not entitle you to special pricing. I tend to agree with you re #1, but they have finally allowed mobile techs to rebuild rather than replace the mechanism.

#3 - Goodwill? Fuggetaboutit. Mostly dead and buried with Tesla in 2019.

ST70 | August 6, 2019

time spent in repair will extend your warranty...look into it

ulrichard | August 7, 2019

It is normal that you have to pay for repair after the warranty expired. But the prices in this thread seem too high. I had a door handle replaced about a year ago. At first I wanted to have it repaired, but then they told me a new handle costs only CHF 200 plus 100 to install. At that price I didn't want to bear the risk of a repaired one failing earlier than a new one.

rxlawdude | August 7, 2019

@ulrichard, the rebuild is replacing the gear that failed. That seems to be the weak spot, although early doors also had a microswitch that tended to fail. I'm guessing the field rebuild does not address that problem, which would mean the $600 USD replacement with the updated version.

jordanrichard | August 7, 2019

In Nov., I had my driver’s door handle replaced and it was about $550.

Bighorn | August 7, 2019

Rebuilds include running new microswitches, in my experience.

Mathew98 | August 7, 2019

The rangers quoted about $300 to repair 2 of my door handles, if they weren't covered by warranty.

Silver2K | August 7, 2019

Just go with a 3rd gen handle. The $600 cost included all parts, labor and modifications to the door.

gsmo51 | February 14, 2020

I just had the driver's side handle replaced on my 2016 S Refresh. The Tech told me that the car already had version 2.1. They said it had leaked moisture due to a gasket leak. He said, probably not installed correctly when built at factory. My warranty is expiring June 2020.
I asked him what it would have cost if it hadn't been under warranty and he said $300. They also had to do a firmware update just for having only this one version 3 door handle replace. I had only 42,000 miles on my car.

Qwiksilver | February 21, 2020

Now reportedly $280 to replace the door handle.

Silver2K | February 21, 2020


The 280 price is to do a 3rd gen retrofit, it should be cheaper to replace just the handle.