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Teslas offer many advanced and unique features that competing vehicles cannot match, and this includes the way you need to open the doors on each model.

There are four Tesla models and they have a slightly different way to open the doors. They will have an automatic opening or automated sensor with a retracting exterior door handle. The interior either has a pull level or an electronic button that opens the door with an emergency release inside too.

Tesla has some unique features that we don't often see in everyday cars and one of them is their push-button or automatic sensor door handles. This feature makes it easy for Tesla owners to open and close the car with the push of a button and the vehicle acts like its very own fob. This guide has everything you need to know about opening Tesla doors.

If you are new to Teslas, it will be a unique experience the first time you try and open your vehicle. But the design is meant to be elegant and surprising, and they succeed in doing so each time. Keep reading to learn more about how Tesla doors open.

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How Do Tesla Doors Open?

With the release of the Tesla Model S, many things changed including the way you opened the vehicle. It became a primary point of criticism at first because many new owners had no idea how to open their vehicles properly.

As the model continues to expand and grow, the technology becomes even more advanced but opening Tesla doors is pretty easy. Depending on the model you drive, the exact process to open the door could change.

The doors of the Tesla have automatic sensors on the outside that can sense when you walk up to the door. This technology has been implemented to make the car more advanced with a sleek exterior finish.

When the sensor triggers movement, the door handle will appear for you to open. From there, it opens simply like a traditional vehicle. The handle typically illuminates light for better visibility and is easy to pull for a fast opening.

However, because each model is so unique we will look at them individually to discuss how they should be opened. For example, the Tesla Model X comes with doors that open automatically compared to the retracting door handle design on the Model S.

How To Open Tesla Model S Doors

Tesla Model S has mechanical door handles that are flush with the door when not in use. It provides a smooth surface that can be made accessible to all users and the door handles come with automated sensors to detect movement outside of the door when you approach your vehicle.

The flush handles were one of the accessibility features that Tesla built into their first model to cater to this type of customer. They have continued these trends on subsequent models to keep up with their ideal customer base.

The handle will slide out for use as you walk up the door to open it easily. There is also a setting that can be adjusted for vehicle owners to determine with handles that will slide out when you unlock the vehicle.

If you prefer to turn off the automated handles, this can be done too. Instead, you can turn this setting off and simply press the outside of the door handle for it to appear to open the door.

On the inside of the car, you won’t be too surprised. There is a lever along the sides of the doors that can be pulled to open the Model S. This is very similar to other vehicles and does not require any changes or complex settings.

How To Open Tesla Model 3 Doors

The Model 3 tends to be a less advanced and technical Tesla version with less intuitive features. This also means that opening the doors is a bit more complex too, but overall it is similar to the Model S.

When you approach your vehicle from the exterior, you either need to have your phone with the app or the fob to let the door know you are there. There is also a key card that you can carry that works well too.

With any of these items, the vehicle will detect your presence and unlock automatically for you without the touch of a button. You can then touch the door handle and it will appear to allow you to open the vehicle.

From there, you can pull open the handle and get in your vehicle. This automatic unlocking feature is optional and it can be done manually if you prefer, but the feature is a huge convenience to many.

On the inside of the vehicle, there is a small button on the front driver and passenger side doors that can be pressed to open the door electronically. This is not the most preferred option by many, because instincts tell us to look for a handle, not a button.

Because these doors are powered and not mechanical, there is an emergency release lever if your battery dies and you get stuck inside the vehicle too.

How To Open Tesla Model X Doors

The Model X uses entire doors that are mechanical. This is a different design compared to the Model S, where every handle instead of the door itself is mechanical. This makes it very straightforward to open the door on these vehicles.

When you walk up to the outside of your Model X, you can simply press on the door handle and the door will open itself. This is a feature available on the premium packages, but it is the most advanced design among all of the Tesla doors too.

However, if you do not have this premium package the door handle will instead pop out and appear for you to open the vehicle manually. It is the most direct way to enter a Tesla and the handles fit nicely with a smooth look on the exterior.

On the interior, the front doors open by using a manual lever similar to the Tesla Model S design. This lever will manually open the front doors inside on both the driver and passenger sides.

However, the rear doors are a bit more advanced. These are Falcon wing doors and they have a button that must be pressed to open them. The button is available on the screen at the front of the vehicle or there are buttons on each door for the passengers in the rear of the vehicle to use.

How To Open Tesla Model Y Doors

All of the doors on the Tesla Model Y are powered electrically and they do not use the same manual lever design as the Model X used. However, they are convenient because they come with a button on the interior.

It takes one click to open the door from the inside. This works well when the vehicle has power and there are manual levers that can be used as a backup plan if your battery dies in the event of an emergency.

On the exterior of the vehicle, you can push down on the door handle and it pops out in an angled way for you to grab and pull the door open. This is slightly different from the other designs that use an electronic design.

Instead, this door handle is done manually and when you press down the thinner part of the door handle will become available for you to pull. The doors will automatically unlock and lock when you walk within range of the vehicle with the key or fob.

This is an excellent feature that makes sure you never forget to lock your car or if your hands are full your cart unlocks for you.  

Can You Open Tesla Doors Without Power?

Tesla vehicles operate with a primary 400V main battery to power the entire vehicle. This can go dead if you do not charge your vehicle in time. However, there is a secondary 12V battery that is used to power some of the conventional hardware like the doors.

The 12V battery will tend to pull power from the primary battery when needed because it is much smaller and does not require as much of a charge to run. However, it technically is possible to ignore the charge needed warnings and drive until the vehicle dies completely.

If this does happen and the 12V battery dies too, then you will be unable to open the doors to get inside of your vehicle. This would be a difficult situation, but there are ways to still get your vehicle back running again to get the doors open.

At the front of your Tesla, there are jumper posts that allow you to either hook up to tow or remove to directly charge the 12V battery. This charge will not take too long and it can be done to get the doors open for your Tesla.

However, if you are on the inside of the vehicle and the battery dies there is a different way to approach this situation. All Teslas have an emergency release that will get the door open so you can get out. We discuss how to use the release on each model below.

How To Use The Emergency Release To Open Tesla Doors

Tesla cars have special emergency release levers or buttons that allow the driver to open the doors if the battery dies. The car is designed with this feature to give you a backup plan to get out of the vehicle if the primary method is not working.

The exact location and design of the emergency release for the doors on your Tesla will vary based on the model type you own. We have explained how they work in each model below for convenience.

Tesla Model S

The Model S is one of the most basic methods for escaping the vehicle in an emergency. The release is located under the bench and the doors also operate mechanically without power so you will not get stuck in the vehicle.

However, this is only the case for the two front doors. The rear doors do not have the same mechanical design so you would need to roll up the carpet and locate the mechanical release cable. This will open both backseat doors quickly and the release cable can be pulled towards the center to work.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 uses a different design compared to the Model S for emergency release and door power. These doors do require power to open, but there is a backup level in place that opens the doors if the battery on your vehicle does die.

The manual levels are located near the door for the front doors, but getting the back doors open requires a little more work. Instead, you will need to locate the lower mechanical release cables in the rear of the vehicle to open both backseat doors.

Tesla Model X

The Model X uses release mechanical cables in the doors as an emergency release option if you lose power. The design is slightly different because the doors are heavier this way and there are no manual levers.

There are also mechanical cables for the trunk if they do not work the right way in getting the side doors opened. These cables will work on all four doors in the vehicle, but there is also a manual way to get the front doors open if required.

Tesla Model Y

The Model Y uses the same style of design as the Model 3 for door design and emergency release placement. There are buttons that open the door automatically for you with power, but without power, you need to use the manual levers in the front.

For the backseat, you have to lift up the carpet to locate the release cables to get both of these doors open. Some of the earlier versions of this model also had manual levers in the rear, but it has been taken off the newer models.

How Do Tesla Doors Open?

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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