Too hot to "handle"?

Too hot to "handle"?

Just had my model S for a month, and I've noticed that when I park my car outdoors at work (so about 8 hours) in the california sun, the door handles facing the sun are really too hot to grab on to and pull. I give 'em a quick yank and let go.

I've never seen this written up anywhere else.
Not sure I can even think of anything to do about it (open the door with a towel?)
So just an observation of something not perfect about the design.

What do the folks in Arizona do?? Not park outside?


pilotSteve | July 16, 2014

@sack, even in the NW (Oregon) today it was 90° sunshine and my wife yelped OUCH when she opened her door on the sunny side.

As a previous thread title went (I believe) "Holy Hot Handles Batman"!

johncrab | July 16, 2014

I live in Arizona. Pardon me if I don't offer appropriate sympathy. :)

Bighorn | July 16, 2014

I remember someone mentioning applying Velcro (loops) to the inside surface of the handle to keep from getting burned.

stevenmaifert | July 17, 2014

You used to be able to lower the windows with the FOB so you could open the door from the inside, but for reasons they've never explained, Tesla took that away. Maybe if enough of us complain about the hot handle problem, which has been commented on extensively here on the forum, Tesla will bring that feature back with a touchscreen option to use it or not.

Rocky_H | July 17, 2014

@stevenmaifert, supposedly the reason for removing the window lowering feature was that people were accidentally having the key fob pressed while in their pocket, but since they also removed the feature from the mobile phone app, that indicates it was apparently for a different reason.

AmpedRealtor | July 17, 2014

I pull on the handle with one finger and do it very quickly...

AndyO | July 17, 2014

On my MS at least, when I precool and walk up to the car, there is cool air blowing out around the handle. I suspect this is by design. It would thaw the handle in winter. I would just start the cooling 5-10 minutes early if it's a hot sunny day. Oh, I guess most of them are in Cali.

PBEndo | July 17, 2014

I tried a different type of tape or coating on each handle (silicone tape, felt furniture pad tape, plasti-dip, and velcro tape). After a year the felt furniture tape is still working well, the others didn't work very well. The velcro tape was good at first but the adhesive didn't last as long.

PBEndo | July 17, 2014

another thread,

I recall a couple more threads were out there at some point.
I also recall somebody reporting (on TMC, I think) that they had the handles vinyl wrapped (for appearance) and that reduced the heat problem as well.

Theresa | July 17, 2014

A possible so-so solution could be to make sure that you park such that the door you want to open is not facing the sun. Then once inside if you need to open both sides of the car the person who gets in on the cool side of the car can open the hot door from inside.

stevenmaifert | July 17, 2014

@Rocky_H - That's the word on the street. I think if they returned it with an option on the settings menu to turn it on or off, everybody would be happy.

Rocky_H | July 17, 2014

@stevenmaifert, I agree. Yes, optional would have been good, instead of just taking away that functionality completely.

minervo.florida | July 17, 2014

Park in the shade and walk a bit further if needed, that way you get some exercise and keep them cool.

PBEndo | July 17, 2014

Suggesting that parking your car in a different position or location is a solution for the hot door handles is merely an indication of kool-aid addiction.

I love my car, but Tesla should have fixed this long ago. This problem has existed for 2 years and there is no evidence of Tesla addressing it, other than giving lip service. A simple insulating insert (as demonstrated by the DIY approaches using velcro or felt tape) would solve the problem.

Cindy I II III | July 17, 2014

Hope it won't take a lawsuit for 2nd degree burn to make the company fixed the issue. People with certain medical conditioners cannot feel and or react as quicly. TM should do domething about it.

gocken1 | July 17, 2014

I carefully put some gaffers tape on the inside of the handles. It has a nice non-slip feel and it's thin unlike velcro or felt tape. It works wonders in the Arizona summer. This is summer number 2 and it's still working great.

Grinnin'.VA | July 18, 2014

@minervo.florida | JULY 17, 2014:

"Park in the shade and walk a bit further if needed"

I often park in unshaded spots to avoid having sap or other debris fall from a tree on my car.

So I think this hot-handles issue remains a design flaw thing.

Ron :)

johncrab | July 18, 2014

Well, Jaguar solved this by putting cheap, hollow plastic door handles on the XJ sedan. One touch creeped me out. It felt cheap and not at all like 96k. I guess as a native Zonie, I'm used to hot surfaces, because this has never bothered me with any car. If this really is an issue, just buy a pair of white cotton gloves and put one in your pocket. OTOH, you could approach your car and just say, "Open the pod bay door, HAL." :)

chrisdl | July 18, 2014

What do you mean? Doesn't your butler open the door for you? (He wears white gloves all time, anyway.)

NKYTA | July 18, 2014

Cindy123 got an upgraded handle, sweet!

Pre-cool via the app is usually sufficient on a hot CA day. I don't linger on opening if I've forgotten that step.

Dr. Bob Reinke | July 18, 2014

Forced to frequently spend business time in Texas the hot door handle has sometimes been a problem. For some time I pulled down the sleeve to my jacket and through the cloth grabbed the hot handle. However, I found a more perminent fix. That is to take a role of electrical tape and line the inside of the crome grip with a couple of layers of tape. Little warm, but no burn.

Bajajoe | July 18, 2014

Carry a pot holder!

Dr. Bob Reinke | July 18, 2014

( chrome )

tezzla.SoCal | July 18, 2014

I've had my Tesla for a year now & I've never thought that the handles get that warm, let alone hot? I park in the sun at work everyday in the San Gabriel Valley (Los Angeles suburbs). Y'all must have sissy hands :)

just an allusion | July 18, 2014


The automotive industry has been manufacturing vehicles for over a century with all manner of metal, polished metal and even chrome door handles, yet there's been nary much of any, if at all, complaint about the handles being too hot from the Sun, so you'll have to excuse me if I question your motives in coming here to question Tesla Motors about theirs.

So have you some ulterior motive to your efforts here? Perhaps more of the same belittlement that some have been visiting upon Tesla Motors since they managed to do what a great many others said could not be done in bringing a market viable EV to the World?

Just trying to decipher your rationale for your effort here.

Burt Court | July 18, 2014

I mentioned this on another thread, had my door handles wrapped in matching pearl white: looks good and no burns. My wrapper charged me 10 minutes labor each door pull
old burt

dlake | July 18, 2014

I live in Phoenix where it's searing hot- everything gets super hot. On my car the door handles present themselves and open so quickly when I touch/pull the handles that I don't get burned. Yes, it' ho

Are your handles functioning properly?

Kondo | July 18, 2014

We went to a meet and greet in Phoenix last Saturday and I was amazed how hot the door handles got on the 25 or so Model S's. I got my Vin today and one of the first things I will do is put some tape inside the door handles, that should do the trick.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | July 18, 2014

@just an allusion, as you know the handles are retracted into the body and do not get air circulation that would help cool the handle. Darker body colors will exacerbate the situation since the handles are in close proximity to the body. This is unique to Tesla and I believe they should consider a plastic insert inside the handles. Have not noticed this issue on our Florida car which is white!

Burt Court | July 18, 2014

Chrome and/or stainless can cause SERIOUS burns, ask any boater

PBEndo | July 19, 2014

@just an allusion

I am tired of posters getting accused of having ulterior motives when they post about a legitimate problem in a non-inflammatory manner. Perhaps if you read the responses from many of the long-time regulars, or if you looked at the other threads that reference this exact issue, you would realize that you are out of line.

J.T. | July 19, 2014

@PBEndo +1

Lessmog | July 19, 2014

I quote:
"johncrab | 18 juli 2014

Well, Jaguar solved this by putting cheap, hollow plastic door handles on the XJ sedan. One touch creeped me out. It felt cheap and not at all like 96k. I guess as a native Zonie, I'm used to hot surfaces, because this has never bothered me with any car. If this really is an issue, just buy a pair of white cotton gloves and put one in your pocket. OTOH, you could approach your car and just say, "Open the pod bay door, HAL." :) " END QUOTE

Googled "jaguar melted by building" for some interesting info ... ;-)

Remnant | July 19, 2014

IMHO, carbon fiber handles would address this difficulty.

jcaspar1 | July 19, 2014

This tread reminded me I was worried about this when I was buying my Model S in Nov. Now, many 100+ degree days later, I have to say I have never noticed this...

Bighorn | July 19, 2014

Even in WY the sun brings the handles to just shy of nuclear. It's not the outdoor temp that does it, just the direct sunlight.

ChasF | July 20, 2014

I have a black MS in Florida and now that we are mid-summer, there have been more than one occasions that my wife and/or daughter have burned their hands on the handles after being in the sun for about an hour. I do believe Tesla must address this. I like the idea of a composite (carbon fiber/chrome) handle.

PBEndo | July 21, 2014

Do any of the protective coatings (i.e. Opti-Coat) reduce the heat?

Craig Daugherty | July 21, 2014

@PBEndo Not on my car. I have a black P85+ with Opti-Coat Pro. Seems as warm as ever.

Dick | July 21, 2014

Dick from Dallas
My handles get so hot, I could brand a steer. I found a solution, every time I get in the car I have my bandana and a cold beer in my hand.

Dick | July 21, 2014

My handles get so hot in Dallas that I could brand a steer. I have a solution, every time I get in my car I have my bandana and a cold beer in my hand. No problem.

dglauz | July 21, 2014

The same issue was raised last year. My handles get pretty hot. I remember that the handles of my blue '67 Pontiac Tempest got too hot to open the door comfortably (I needed to use a bandana (common to have in CA in those days) or other insulator). There you had to hold the handle and press the thumb button then pull the door open. The S handles get hotter, but less contact time is easier to deal with.

I am sure that with all colors except white it is an issue. My car is red, all the other colors, but grey, are nearly black. I agree with Edward's analysis regarding the air circulation.

My guess is that if you have not noticed the hot handles, your car is white or grey OR you never park in the sun on the side you open.

BarryQ | July 21, 2014

Living in Las Vegas, this IS problem. I have a temp fix of Moleskin on the inside of the handle.

jordanrichard | July 21, 2014

This is going to happen to anything that is metal and is sitting in the sun. Should Tesla go the route of Jaguar and many other companies that have plastic chrome handles?

just an allusion | July 21, 2014


Yes, retractable door handles ARE unique to Tesla's Model S, yet hot-to-the-touch door handles have been around the automotive industry for over 125 years so, again, I fail to see this as any real issue, more like someone's idiosyncratic nuance that a great many automobile owners have had, and have dealt with, for over a century.

As such, there is no perceivable need for any reiteration of the Tesla Model S retractable handle system that I can see.

jchangyy | July 21, 2014

@PBEndo ++1.

@Just an allusion...a hot handle is a hot handle. Living in Sunny Cali, and parked in the sun all day, I can't grab the handle without using my sleeve. Never hand to do that with my previous cars. I've had my car for over 1.5 years and been around for more than 2 years. I'm a big fan and if you've been around here that long, you would know that.

If people who bought the vehicle thinks that this is an issue, then IT IS AN ISSUE. Please don't belittle people's complaints on this forum. After all, some of us are looking for home made solutions to this problem.

Rocky_H | July 21, 2014

And yet with them being these unique retractable handles, they have an opportunity to do something about it by attaching a plastic strip just into the back so that it doesn't change the pretty chrome appearance of the outside. So don't just say, "They're metal, so too bad for you." They could have satisfied both looks and practicality.

judimasters | July 21, 2014

I'm having a hard time feeling sympathy, says the girl near Seattle. Hard to believe I don't remember hot cause I moved back here from years in Florida. HaHaHa

PBEndo | July 21, 2014

@just an allusion
Come visit me in South Florida. If you can hold the handle long enough to say "someone's idiosyncratic nuance" without flinching, I will by you a dinner at the nicest restaurant in town. Please excuse me if I don't dine with you.

If after seeing dozens of similar complaints on several threads for more than a year you still "fail to see this as any real issue", then it is you that are failing.

PBEndo | July 21, 2014

Buy you a dinner.