I have had my Model S for two months now and I have been a bit plagued by a minor problem. On the two Tesla forums on the web there have been several reports of various issues with the retractable door handles. I have experienced a similar but not the same problem. I am hoping it is fixed but am not 100% confident that it is.
About a week after I got the car, I found I simply could not open the passenger door. The door handle appeared but the door was still locked. The door would not open from the outside no matter how much pressure was applied. Although the problem was a bit annoying, it was not a huge problem as the door could be open from the inside.
I emailed Tesla service in Menlo Park to have them look at it.
Time went buy and the problem occurred a total of four times. Three with the passenger door and a fourth time with the rear driver’s side door. The spooky part of this issue is that the doors would self open at a later date! Fortunately, none of these self opening doors occurred in an unsafe location and the car was always parked. Although a door did become stuck at a time when I was showing the Model S to some friends, who are potential future electric car buyers.
Eventually I called Tesla Menlo Park again after having too many incidents of this same issue as they had not gotten back to me. I had it in for service and fixed two other minor issues: a small noise in the pano roof and the spot that was on the car at delivery. They replaced the offending door handles, and the machinery in the door.
Surprisingly, the next morning the door handle presented itself without any LED lights and was again stuck. All other incidents the door handles had the LED lights on as far as I can remember. I opened the door from the inside. I did call Menlo Park and they indicated they wished to talk to headquarters that it was perhaps a problem fixed in the software update, which I had not yet received. And they would get back to me.
I have noticed that the door seal of this door has always been a bit tighter than the others. Two weeks later, the problem has not resurfaced and the seal of the door feels more like the other doors.
I have not yet heard back from the service guys but I did receive my software update. I am hoping this problem is truly fixed now with the combination of the new door mechanism and the software update, but I really do not know.
The individuals in Tesla service have all been very nice. They are simply overburdened with work. I am a bit skeptical on the claims of profitability if they do not have enough individuals in the service departments. I do appreciate that if you do call Menlo Park service and they can’t answer, you end up speaking to helpful folks in Fremont.
I would like to see Tesla expand service outside of their own service departments and have authorized service centers throughout the country. I suggested this to my local garage and they are interested. Perhaps this type of program would help everyone?