Posted on March 20 2019
Tesla Model S door handle failures have been an issue for as long as the vehicle has been in production. The door handles fail to present or the latch is not released by the handle and you have to enter through another door and climb over seats to get in the car.
There have been several revisions over the years but ultimately they still fail for several reasons. All of the handles utilize a stiff wire that will crack or break over time. The cracking allows moisture to penetrate the micro switch circuitry causing failure. A broken wire doesn’t allow the electrical current to reach the circuitry and prevents the handle from presenting or the door latch from releasing.
Another cause for failure is that the tabs on the cast metal paddle gear break off. The electronics may still work as expected but the present motor can’t move the handle because this gear is sheared from its mount point. We have also seen the gear on the motor itself crack and break.
Here is a synopsis of the different handle options that have been available on the Tesla Model S since its launch.
Generation 1 used a pressure sensor to "sense" when you pulled on the handle grip and these were the first thing to fail.
Tesla part numbers:
- 1007372-00-A-G RF New Gen 1
- 1007373-00-A-G LF New Gen 1
- 1007374-00-A-G RR New Gen 1
- 1007375-00-A-G LR New Gen 1
Most Gen 1 handles do not have any part number tags/stickers on them. The best way to identify this handle is by the ribbon cable instead of a wire harness coming out of module and lack of a third micro switch.
Generation 2 changed to an additional micro switch instead of pressure sensor. Because the switches are on the moving linkage, the stiff wire and brittle insulation tend to break or crack allowing moisture to penetrate the micro switch and disrupt the circuit. The Paddle Gear is also made of cast metal and the ears of the gear break off of the shaft and the door handle no longer presents.
- 1007372-00-H-L RF New Gen 2
- 1007373-00-H-L LF New Gen 2
- 1007374-00-H-L RR New Gen 2
- 1007375-00-H-L LR New Gen 2
- 1030273-S0-A/B LF Remanufactured Gen 2
- 1030274-S0-A/B RF Remanufactured Gen 2
- 1030275-S0-A/B LR Remanufactured Gen 2
- 1030276-SO-A/B RR Remanufactured Gen 2
Generation 2.5 saw a new handle "chassis" but the same design for the micro switches and paddle gear. The only benefit is the handles "chassis" were no longer specific to front or rear doors just specific to Left or Right however modules were still location specific. The door shells themselves physically changed to accommodate the new style handle. (ex. LF handle couldn't be used as a LR even though it would physically bolt up)
- 1071881-S0-A RF New Gen 2.5
- 1071880-S0-A LF New Gen 2.5
- 1071884-S0-A LR New Gen 2.5
- 1071885-S0-A RR New Gen 2.5
Generation 3 Cars were made after 7/24/17 deleted the micro switches in favor of a hall effect sensor, separate module, plastic vapor barrier and updated paddle gear design (still cast metal). The module seems to be the weakest link with this design but hasn't been out there long enough to say otherwise.
- 1100299-S0-A LF/LR New Gen 3
- 1100300-S0-A RF/RR New Gen 3
The overwhelming majority, at press time, fall in the Gen 2.0-2.5 category. For these door handles we have designed a stainless steel machined paddle gear replacement and a plug and play replacement micro switch harness. The harness uses a combination of OE Panasonic Switches and Connector/Terminals with a softer more flexible braided wire and silicone insulation.
The parts are available as individual pieces or as part of a complete kit including, upgraded gear, upgraded switches, door panel clips, vapor barrier retainers, and e-clip to secure the gear on the shaft.
Provided you have a Version 2 or 2.5 Handle, We also can rebuild your door handle for you if you feel confident enough to remove it from the car but don't want to take it apart any further.
You can also watch a good video on how to repair the door handle switches with Rich Rebuilds.
Here is an additional video that shows first hand some of the different revisions of door handles, what goes wrong, and how we designed things not to fail again.