Hot Door Handles

Hot Door Handles

Today, it was in the low 80's here in SoCal. My car had been sitting in the sun for about an hour. I went to open the back door and was startled by how hot the door handle was. Anybody in AZ or NV noticed a problem? I looked at all the other cars around me and all their door handles were painted ...none were chromed. Interesting.

f-tal | 2013年7月16日

I notice that when I turn on my A/C for 10 minutes or so before going to the car, it has the added benefit of cooling down the handles as well. I park in the sun at work, so they have all day to heat up. (Though I'm in New England. The technique may not be as useful in hotter climes)

swhardy | 2013年7月16日

On the Arizona thread over at TMC someone recommended putting the "Shepherd 4-1/2 in. x 6 in. Feltgard Heavy-Duty Self-Adhesive Felt Blankets" on the inside of the handles. Here's the link to the page,

gocken1 | 2013年7月16日

I cut a piece of gaffers tape and placed it on the inside of the handle. I am in Phoenix and it has worked great so far. I tried the felt but it was really thick and I didn't like it.

sgarapat | 2013年7月16日

If you keep your car for a longtime outside, the door handles reach the ambient air temperature. Let's say on a hot 100F day the door handles reached 100F. When a person touches the handles his body temperatures or hand temperature is little less below 100F, some thing around 96-98F. Although the difference is temperature is much less, the thermal conductivity of metal is very high which results in high energy transfer. Due to this large influx of heat we feel it to be hot.

A classic example is, when you often touch metal in a air conditioned room (60F) you feel the metal to be cold but when you touch a wooded object you do not feel the wooden object to be cold. Here both the metal and the wood are at same temperature. But metal has higher thermal conductivity it is actually taking heat energy from your body at a very high rate but wood has very low conductivity and the heat energy is very less; so we do not feel the wood to be cold.

When kept ion a hot day, the same principle is true but the heat transfer is in opposite direction and we feel the high heat energy coming in causing the sensation of burning.

PBEndo | 2013年8月18日


J.T. | 2013年8月18日

@sgarapat According to Wo Fat skin temperature is 94.2 degrees.
(Now, there's an arcane reference.)

sxross | 2013年8月18日

Saw a live concert where a National Steel Guitar gave the performer the same grief.

Seriously, I saw a white MS with wrapped handles and it looked good. But as others have said, this is not a Tesla problem -- it's a car-left-in-sun thing, as many manufacturers have gone to bright polish door pulls for accent.

Getting Amped Again | 2013年8月18日

I did a walk-around-a-parking-lot survey one day and 100% of the metallic looking door handles had a plastic insert where your fingers touched. I believe the totally solid metal approach used on the Model S IS fairly unique.

PBEndo | 2013年8月18日

@GotAmped +1

Dramsey | 2013年8月18日

If the air temp is 100, the chrome handle will be 100 too. Not seeing how the handle is hotter than air temp.

Um, no. The chrome handle is heated by the radiation from the sun as well as the ambient air. It can indeed get much hotter than the ambient air temperature. Using your reasoning, locking your dog in a closed car on a sunny, 80 degree day is no problem since the interior of the car couldn't get hotter than 80 degrees, right?

Also consider that metal transfers heat much faster than air. Think about cooking frozen fish sticks for your kids in an oven. After half an hour, everything in the over is at 425 degrees. You'll stick your hand in the 425 degree air with no problem (well, as long as you don't leave it in too long), but grabbing the 425 degree baking pan would be a big mistake.

AmpedRealtor | 2013年8月18日

Maybe we need a "hot weather package" to cool our door handles...

stevenmaifert | 2013年8月18日

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

Dcp9142 | 2013年8月18日

A 1 inch by 4 inch strip of adhesive Velcro (the soft loop side) stuck on the inner face of the handle mitigates the problem beautifully at a cost of about $5. Velcro Extreme Indoor/Outdoor Rough Surface Fasteners, 1 inch x 4 inches, 10 per pack (90812)

mrspaghetti | 2013年8月18日

They need to include one of these with every Model S:

As seen on TV!

paulwireless | 2013年8月18日

The door handles in Las Vegas can get extremely hot in a short period. I typically park in covered parking spaces so this isn't a daily problem. I think awareness of the situation is the solution and possibly opening the car on the opposite side from the sun for the sunny-side passengers as a courtesy. I've already gotten accustomed to not fully grasping the handle in these situations. I quickly tap the handle outward then grasp the door by its door edge to continue opening the door.

Pricee2 | 2013年8月20日

I also find the handles get unacceptably hot so I parked in the sun for an hour or so then took some temperature readings.

Ambient temp was 71F & wind was variable 5 to 9 mph.

Painted surface near the handle was 152F

Outside surface of handle was 88F

Inside surface of handle was 136F immediately after the handle extended.

Just a 2 second contact with the inside of the handle was very uncomfortable.

We need a fix for this.

My P85 is green and it would be interesting to see a comparison to a white or pearl white MS

hillcountryfun | 2013年8月20日

While I believe it's pretty easy to work around this issue I would like to see Tesla address it in some simple way.

Krinkster | 2013年9月18日

We live in FL and the handles get dangerously, dangerously hot. All these ways to mitigate this issue does not resolve Tesla from coming up with a proper solution. It would be nice to see Tesla join the conversation and provide some feedback on what they plan to do.

AmpedRealtor | 2013年9月18日

Tesla mitts?

bent | 2013年9月18日

Power opening doors.

It's that, or plastic handles.

SunCoulombs | 2013年9月18日

Neoprene mitts would be a chic accessory!

akikiki | 2013年9月18日

No other cars made in the last 100 years have this problem?

Why is it the manufacturer's responsibility to find an solution?

Mitts would require a hidden door/outside cubby to store them when not in use.

Brian H | 2013年9月19日


ELECTRICFAN | 2013年10月23日

I think Tesla should fix this. I just scalded my hand. Somebody is going to sue them one day. Have had the car one month and today is the first time this happened. I bought the felt solution from Home Depot mentioned above (thanks!), but Tesla should do something more professional.

kk7p | 2013年10月23日

Rather than speculate, I just went outside and measured two other cars (my Model S is still 3.5 weeks away from delivery).

I'm located in Tucson, Arizona.

Outside air temp measured 88 degrees F/31 C using a Fluke 80T-150U temperature probe with a Fluke 87 Digital Multimeter.

The vehicles have "chrome" looking door handles and additional "chrome" looking metal trim, and are 5 to 8 years old.

MINI Cooper S Convertible, Gray color

Door handle: 126F / 52C
Body: 140F / 60C
Trim: 152F / 67C

26F / 15C temperature improvement of the door handle versus the other metallic trim. The difference between minor discomfort and potential injury.

Lexus ES350 Sedan, Metallic Ruby (Maroon) color

Door Handle: 120F / 49C
Body: 140F / 60C
Trim: 138F / 59C

It is a well known and widely used automotive-industry technology to have "chrome" door handles that are much, much cooler than "chrome" metal trim.

Finally, it is all well and good to tell people to roll down the windows, use their shirt tail, keep an oven mitt handy, or make other excuses to try and cover up a design flaw, but that won't stop my grandchildren from grabbing the door handle that just "presented" itself to them to get into the car -- like they do on every other car they have ever experienced in their young lives -- and potentially injuring themselves.


Because the premier maker of premium electric cars chose to burn their young hands if they are silly enough to think it should should be safe to open the door on a sunny day using a door handle that just "presented" itself to them.

Electric cars in their future?

Not for me, Grandpa. Your Tesla burns my hand when I try to get in!

This is so simple to take care of at manufacturing -- and it is obvious other automobile manufacturers have recognized this problem and solved it long ago -- I fail to understand why Tesla have not taken care of it.

Or maybe they already have. As I said, mine is due for delivery in 3.5 weeks. I'll measure the body, door handle and trim temperature on a sunny day after I have the car.

Roamer@AZ USA | 2013年10月23日

Bet the kids only burn their hands once. Worked for me on stoves.
Just being funny, sorry. | 2013年10月23日

@kk7p4dsp "This is so simple to take care of at manufacturing"

Not to argue that a fix would be nice, but I don't think you understand what a change like this takes.

You have to figure out a solution, design the part, create a mold (typically taking 3-6 months for the mold alone), test it for a wide range of conditions - heat/cold/wet/ice, etc. It's also smart to test for longevity, and even with accelerated testing, this takes quite a bit of time. If any flaws are found, start over.

Anyway, replacing a part, even if it's the #1 priority, can easily take a year before it can go into production. There may also be some regulations that have to be followed as well, but I'm not aware of any on the door handle.

Now perhaps Tesla started on a solution a year ago, and something may be available soon. On the other hand, it may be a low priority, and no work has even begun. For now, I'd assume no solution will be available for some time, if ever, and we'll have to live with it as-is.

PBEndo | 2013年10月23日

@ TeslaTap
I don't think it would takek that long if it was a priority. If Tesla wanted to fix the hot door handle problem it would have already happened. Remember, Elon wanted a Model S to have supercar handling and they were delivering the P85+ in just a few months. That is a far more complex problem to solve than a hot door handle. All we need is a plastic insert that insulates your hand from the metal.

PBEndo | 2013年10月27日

My door handles got so hot today that when I was trying to show the car to some Tesla fans, nobody could touch the handles. 5 people tried and none of us could touch the handle without pulling our hand away in pain. Even when we new it was hot and just tried to touch it quickly, it was enough to be painful.

Considering how long ago this problem was reported it is inexcusable the Tesla would not address it. This thread is over 11 months old.

PBEndo | 2013年10月28日

I forgot to mention 3 of the people that could not hold the handles work in a welding shop, handling hot metal all day long.

PBEndo | 2013年10月30日

Ownership called me and stated that they are aware of the problem and are working on a solution, which is nice, if true.
In the meantime they suggested I run the air conditioning before touching the handles which is pathetic.

DavidE35 | 2013年11月3日

I live in SoCal and have experienced hot door handles occasionally as well. I thought it was an electrical issue at first because it was cool outside and the sun was beginning to set, so the car itself wasn't nearly as hot as it gets during mid-day. When this happened a second time, I walked around to the side of the car not facing the setting sun, and the handles were cool. So the cause of the problem is the direct sunlight to one side of the car.

I'm not sure how this issue is different from jumping right onto black leather seats that have been baking in the sun with short shorts on. You know it will be hot!

jbsiegelmd | 2013年11月5日

I'd recommend that Tesla implement a software 'fix' sooner rather than later. I live in Texas, and the door handles do get hotter than any car I've ever owned here.

It would seem to be a simple fix to enable remote door opening, in addition to unlocking, on the phone App. If the car is in park and I press 'open', the door could pop open and I wouldn't have to grab the handle at all. I could reach in and pull the door open from the inside lip.

Similarly, a triple click or something on the fob could do the same thing to the driver's door.

Theresa | 2013年11月5日

@pbendo, So what would you suggest they do in the meantime while they are working on a solution? At least they had a suggestion.

@jbsiegelmd, You already have that solution in your pocket (or purse), it is your keyfob. Press and hold the top button on the fob and all the windows go down. Then open the door using the inside latch.

PBEndo | 2013年11月8日


Read a few posts up - I suggested they may a plastic insert that would insulate your hand from the inside of the handle.

PBEndo | 2013年11月8日



Read a few posts up - I suggested they make a plastic insert that would insulate your hand from the inside of the handle. | 2013年11月8日

Great to hear they are working on a solution. It could still take quite a bit of work. I've done projects with injection plastic molding, and even a simple part takes a great deal of time to get the molds made (and they are quite costly).

On top of that, if the handle is very hot, you don't want the plastic to melt or the adhesive to cause the part to slide off. Similar, if in freezing temps, you don't want your part to crack or ice to form on the part from freezing rain and prevent the handle from opening.

Anyway, I'm confident a solution can be had, but it does need good design and significant testing. Cars always have to deal with extreme conditions that any new part has to be designed to deal with.

jbsiegelmd | 2013年11月8日

When it's 105F outside and I've spent energy pre-cooling the car before going outside, I'd prefer not to roll down all the windows to open the door. It wastes much of the cooling. I just want to be able to get the door to pop open so I don't have to grab the handle.

kk7p | 2013年11月8日

Rather than attempting to thermally insulate a part that should not be getting hot, isn't a better solution one that prevents the door handles from retaining heat?

The outside finish on the handles can be changed to a coating (or thin material overlay) that stays cool in sunlight. That will prevent the (presumably aluminum) handles from getting hot in the first place while maintaining the design aesthetics.

No molds. No castings. Low cost.

Still awaiting my Model S delivery. Hopefully, the handles will not get hot here in the desert sun. If they do, I'll look at simple, passive ways to keep them cool.

And, yes, I do understand what is involved in making changes to designs and bringing them to production. I've been doing it for decades...

PBEndo | 2013年11月8日

I agree the molds could take some time (but a year?), but the adhesive and material arguments don't hold water. There are countless existing adhesives and plastics already used in these conditions in the automotive industry. There are probably dozens already in use in other areas of the Model S itself. Tesla doesn't have to invent a new material with novel properties. They merely need to select an appropriate material (plastic, silicone, etc.) and design the shape. Some materials could be shaped in manner that would allow for a snap-in installation with no adhesive at all.

I suspect, if properly motivated, members of this forum could create a solution in a few weeks and have it shipping in a few months. Perhaps, this is a business opportunity for those with the skills and connections.

PBEndo | 2013年11月8日

I agree. There are several relatively easy and low cost ways to minimize this issue. That is why I am convinced they aren't trying very hard. I understand why it may not be a priority for Tesla, but I don't think it is reasonable that it would take this long if they were putting forth a significant effort.

Another owner had his wrapped and claims they now stay cool.

Why couldn't Tesla offer this at their service centers?

rshinar | 2014年5月14日

I just met another Tesla owner who put the fuzzy side of industrial Velcro ($2.99 at Home Depot) on the inside of the door handle (it disappears when the handle retracts). He says it works like a charm. I did it to my Tesla and he is right. Problem solved. No fix needed Tesla---just rebate me the $2.99 on my SUV.

PBEndo | 2014年5月14日

For what it is worth, I tried several different approaches, experimenting with different door handles. The "sticky felt" that is made for putting on the legs of furniture to prevent floor scuffs, has worked well for over 6 months now.

PBEndo | 2014年7月17日

However, the felt tape feels weird. It also holds moisture so it remains wet for a day after any rain, which also feel weird when you open the door. Better than getting burned, but still weird.

blue adept | 2014年7月18日


Perhaps the painted door handles are an iteration specific to your region much the same as some regions scattered around the World provide window tinting as a "stock" option?

The Tesla's come "stock" with the chrome/polished aluminum handles that they do, perhaps it might be good for you to "customize" your car to suit your tastes/needs?

PBEndo | 2016年7月25日

Just came across this old thread....
I recently tried installing the clear handle covers from RPMTesla. Though I found it difficult to achieve an "invisible" appearance, they do reduce the burn from the handles on a hot day.!product/prd1/4506983551/invisible-door-handle-...(set-of-4)

I also noticed that Tesla told me they were working on a fix 2 years ago (see previous comment) but I haven't seen anything yet. The fix must be coming "soon".

miyamky | 2016年7月25日

I went with the Rockler Woodworking (essentially felt strip that I cut into 3" strips) and place them behind the handle (where you would grab) and it works wonders. It doesn't prevent the handles from closing completely (as one person was afraid of) and you can't see them. It's been about 100 here and I only put it on my door for now as a test. I tried handling another day on the same day and nearly burnt my fingers. It's a very inexpensive and simple solution.

Johnn_hardy | 2016年7月26日

I second the previous comment about the Rockler self adhesive felt. I live in AZ, and when it is over 110 degrees the handles almost burn your fingers. I put the felt on the inside of all four handles and it works perfectly.

rdr1rx | 2016年7月26日

Untuck shirt. Place hand under shirt to open door. $0.00

PBEndo | 2016年7月27日

No love for those that drive shirtless?