Door Handles, Again

My car went in for service again.  I have run into Tesla’s Achilles heel.

Tesla's achilles heel

Tesla’s Achilles’ heel

I have had a series of problems with two of my doors.  The initial problems were two door handles that were stuck.  The door handles would extend but even with a huge amount of pressure, the door simply would not open.  The workaround was to open the door from the inside by either entering the car from another door or rolling down the windows through the fob or the app.

The car went in for service, and they replaced the offending door handles.  A full report is available on this blog post.

After the fix of the door handle, the problem re-occured again with slightly different symptoms.  The door was never stuck, but would open by itself.  This occurred twice in two months and more details are found on this blog post.

I tried to contact my local service center.  Several times I got busy signals.  I called again another day and got sent to voicemail and left a very detailed description.  After a week, I had not heard back from Tesla as I reported here.  Although my problem was not serious, it did make my car a bit insecure as the door would open when it wanted to, and once in a public location, where I was notified by a friendly person.

I happened to be one block away from the service center for completely unrelated business, and decided to talk to the service personnel.  I think they were a little surprised to see someone stop in to make an appointment, but it worked and my car was scheduled for a week later.  Their backup I think is significantly longer, but my issue could leave the car in an unsafe position.

When the day came for the valet service to pick up my car, I had to call Tesla back to inquire about my appointment.  I am not completely sure if they somehow misplaced my appointment or one of us wrote down the wrong day for the appointment.  Regardless, they sent out their valet service to my house.  The valets now come wearing ties.  Although this touch is nice, I also liked “the old days” when the valet service was often a mechanic or service advisor.

The haunted door was hopefully fixed this time for good.  During the service call, they replaced the handle a 3rd time, only to find the door would not open.  So they replaced the door handle again!  This door is now using its fourth door handle!

As the service center folks pointed out, the door handles are clearly their Achilles’ heel.

I’m always curious about the origins of myths and expressions and decided to look up the Achilles’ heel.  Achilles was a Greek warrior that was dipped into magical waters by his mother.  The only part of his body that was not submerged was his heel.  He was eventually shot by an arrow into his heel and died.  The term Achilles’ heel means weak spot or vulnerability.

I think at this point, both the unreliable door handles and the lack of sufficient service staff are both Tesla’s Achilles’ heels.

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2 thoughts on “Door Handles, Again

  1. These door handles are driving me nuts. My car is well out of warranty and Tesla is using this as an excuse not to cover replacement of broken door handles that has a failed motor, despite their relatively short life. My warning to Tesla owners as a very early owner of this car (23rd reservation holder worldwide), there will be a flood of Tesla door handle breaks happening soon. This is my second door handle to go. At $1,300 a pop, this is totally unacceptable. As compared to 99% of the cars out there, it is unacceptable in any event and at any cost. As a long time car owner of many different cars, a door handle is the last thing I think about in terms of reliability. Tesla’s practices of not replacing these short lived door handles and its’ deceptive statements that because the car has few moving parts, it is more reliable will be a legal issue.

    • I have had my Tesla x for 2 weeks now and am on my 4th visit to the shop. 1. After one day the drivers door opened repeatedly and we had to hold the door shut for 200 miles. 2. After replacing the entire inner workings of the drivers side door with ” updated parts” the next day the passenger side door failed. and did not have the power to shut. 3. A/C failed. The ring holding the hose to the pump failed letting all of the ozone depleting gas into the atmosphere. 4. My drivers side door failed to open. I have to enter from the passenger side. I am going to return the car. This is unacceptable and this car was not ready for market. I just want a gas free car with some range, not this tech nightmare. Nice concept car poorly executed.

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