How to Fix a Tesla’s Unresponsive Back Door

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If your Tesla’s back door can’t open, it may be caused by many different settings and even some physical issues. I’ve been there and know it’s not a good feeling when a doorcan’t open. But I’ve also done the research and am ready to share expert tips so you can get your door working again.

Table of Contents

    Check Child Lock Settings

    If you have the Child Lock setting enabled, the rear doors will not open from the inside with the buttons. This is a safety feature. It stops children from opening the door in a dangerous situation, such as while driving or in traffic. But it will stop anyone from opening the door from the inside.

    Here’s how to check your Tesla Child Lock settings:

    1. On the touchscreen, select Controls then Locks
    2. There is a Child Lock bar next to the Windows Lock 
    3. Select it to turn it on or off

    With Child Lock enabled you should still be able to open the doors from the exterior. If you cannot, then your issue is likely caused by something else.

    Driver Door Unlock Mode by Accident

    Another setting that stops the back doors from opening is Driver Door Unlock Mode. When this feature is on, only the driver’s door can open from the outside when it is first unlocked. The rear doors will not unlock with the driver’s door.

    You can then open the rest of the doors by pressing the key fob again or through the interior touchscreen. This is another safety feature. It is useful for people who are worried about someone else opening other doors as they enter the vehicle.

    To turn the Drive Door Unlock Mode on or off, follow these steps:

    1. On your touchscreen, go to Controls, then Locks
    2. Scroll to find Driver Door Unlock Mode 
    3. Press to toggle the setting on or off

    The Voice Command “Unlock Back Door”

    Another way you can try to get your Tesla back doors open is through the voice command. There are many different Tesla voice commands, and one is the ability to lock and unlock the doors. 

    To use a voice command, press and release the scroll wheel on the right side of your steering wheel. You’ll then hear a chime. You can then say “unlock doors” and it should unlock all the doors. 

    Temporary Pickup

    Since the vehicle locks automatically while driving, it is not possible to open the doors from the outside unless you manually unlock them. This is a safety feature that makes sure your car is secure while you’re driving. 

    When you stop temporarily to pick someone up, remember to unlock the door from the touchscreen so they can get in.

    Hard Reset the Tesla

    Like many electrical devices, sometimes resetting your Tesla’s computer will fix the issue. This simple off-and-on can resolve many software-related issues. This is easy to do and you don’t need any tools.

    Follow this procedure to reset the Tesla’s computer:

    1. Park the vehicle

    2. Press and hold both scrolling buttons on the steering wheel, and keep them pressed in for 10 seconds

    hard reset Tesla

    3. Your screens will turn off, which means the system is rebooting

    4. It should be back up and running in 10 to 30 seconds

    Manual Release for Rear Doors

    In some Tesla vehicles, you can manually release the rear doors from the inside. This is a great procedure to know even if you don’t have issues. This will be helpful in the event of any faults with the electrical door mechanism or if your Tesla battery runs out. 

    To open your rear doors manually, follow the procedure for your Tesla model:

    • Model Y: In the door’s pocket, lift the rubber mat to reveal a small removable cover. Lift the cover by using the red button or a screwdriver (depending on the year), then pull on the foam piece attached to the wire.
    • Model 3: The Tesla Model 3 cannot manually open the rear doors from the inside. This YouTube video reviews the implications of that decision. 
    • Model S: There is a manual release cable behind the carpet below the rear seats. Pull back the carpet then find the cable and pull it toward the center of the vehicle to open the rear door.
    • Model X: Remove the speaker cover on the door. Pull the release cable down and to the front of the vehicle. Manually lift the door, which will require some force.

    Check the Rear Door for Rust and Fix It

    One thing that can cause a Tesla’s back door to not open is a rusty component, especially the striker plate. This is the small metal loop in the door jamb. The door latches onto the striker plate. If it is rusty or corroded, the latch may malfunction.

    To fix this, you will need access to the door jamb so the door must be opened. Try to first open your door from the outside with the handle. If that doesn’t work, you can try the interior manual release which we reviewed above.

    Once you have the door open, inspect the metal striker plate on the door jamb. Does it have corrosion or rust? 

    If so, see if you can clean it off with a vinegar and water solution. A rust removal product or even fine-grit sandpaper may help. But it can harm paint so use caution and tape off the painted areas if you need to do this. 

    Add a lubricant after cleaning it with anything to ensure proper function. A lithium or silicone lubricant is ideal.

    If you still can’t get the rust off, then it’s worth replacing the striker plate. You can order the part and do it yourself. But it might be easier to have a professional do it as getting the alignment correct can be tricky on some Tesla cars.

    Alignment Issues

    In rare cases, the rear doors won’t open because of alignment issues. This may happen due to repairs after an accident or another physical alteration.

    It is possible to fix an alignment issue yourself. The procedure involves loosening the bolts holding the door in place. And then using a pry bar or an extra set of hands to make the necessary adjustment. Once the door is where it needs to be, retighten the bolts and hopefully your door will open and close.

    This process is much easier said than done. And in many cases, if you’ve gone through all the above steps but the rear doors of your Tesla still won’t open, then calling for a professional is a great idea. Make an appointment with a Tesla mobile technician or repair shop to get the help you need.

    Our Verdict

    If your Tesla back door won’t open, it can be a frustrating and concerning situation. To fix it, try to follow the above steps. If you end up not being able to open it, you can have it tested at a repair center. Since this is a critical function, making an appointment with a Tesla repair technician may be needed.

    Do you want to learn more about the way your Tesla works? Check out our article on What Happens if Your Tesla Runs Out of Battery for some vital information.

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