Tesla Model 3 Winter Fixes Video: Frozen Door Handle & Charge Port Latch


Winter can be difficult on any car. Teslas included.

The Tesla Model 3 is not without flaws. In fact, there’s been a lot of complaints about various issues in the winter. This video covers those problems and offers some fixes too.

Ideally, Tesla would work to address these issues, which it tried to in an over-the-air update, but that can only do so much.

The real issue with the Model 3 is in the door handle design. It’s just not suitable for areas where it’s wet and then immediately very cold. The handles freeze with ease and that’s a problem.

As for the charge port latch, this is surprisingly all-too-common on electric cars. It actually affects quite a few EVs and that’s a problem too because connecting and disconnecting the cable is necessary to charge and to drive.

Do these fixes presented in the video work? Watch for yourself to find out.

Video description:

We put some interesting winter weather fixes to the test in this video.

Stay driving with the techniques shared to open frozen door handles and thaw your charge port latch (does a hand warmer actually work?)!

What ways do you fix your winter ailments (and don’t say move somewhere warm)?

Categories: Tesla, Videos

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33 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Winter Fixes Video: Frozen Door Handle & Charge Port Latch"

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Just use the trunk release for the charge port.

The issue he addresses here is that water freezing inside the connectors preventing the pins from seating.

Is the port door also freezing shut?

No actually he clearly says the chargeport latch is not working. I wonder as well if the inside release will not fix that.

What he demonstrated has nothing to do with the door opening but the latch mechanism for the plug.

The solution is painfully simple! Tesla should attach a piece of silicon rubber, shaped to cover the outer perimeter of the charge connector, to the inside of the cover door!

But they build these beautiful cars for California, and Elon did not ask me. 🤗

Another 7 minute video that should take 30 seconds.
1. Pound the door handle with the back of your fist for a while and it might open.
2. Put a chemical hand warmer in the charge port for 8 minutes and it’ll probably charge.

Or just buy a car designed and engineered in a place that experiences winter.

What car meets your requirements then?
Oh and Compliance Cars are not allowed.
Over to you then?

The 3 works great here in Minnesota.

I can’t thank you enough for sparing me watching the video. Both of these were rather obvious to anyone who lives in winter climates. How many times have I bothered to watch a Youtube video, only to discover I lost brain cells sifting through that magic 10-minute length “Youtube marketing sweet spot” rambling.

Text rules!

“Or just buy a car designed and engineered in a place that experiences winter.” You say this about one of the few cars that you don’t have to worry about starting in -30°F.

“You say this about one of the few cars that you don’t have to worry about starting in -30°F.”

Most non-plugin hybrid and PHEV can easily “start” in those conditions and still have the ICE for heating…

there are lots of those cars out there.

Probably use the hand warmer for both the handle and charge port, banging around the door handle always runs the risk of denting around the door handle.

Exactly, I also wonder if some alcohol spray would work, raise the freezing point and melt out the water without damaging anything. What I did on my frozen i3 charge cable lock, couldn’t release from the charger.

You would have to hit it REALLY hard to worry about denting it. I’m not sure why people treat their cars like they are made of tissue paper.

People do really dumb things all the time and door handle areas on a door skin are not re-enforced, they dent very easily, if the door skin was plastic there would be no issue or concern, used to be a bodyman for 25 years, saw a lot of door handle dents.

I would hope as Tesla evolves they take these scenarios more into account. For now I guess Tesla could provide a cold weather option that heats up at minimum the driver side door handle as well as the port latch. It would seem not too hard by using similar tech as for mirror heaters… if that adds complexity, add it as standard built with sw option to enable.

Remember that this is a tempest in a teapot, I haven’t had a problem through ice storms and deep freezes in my 3, most won’t have a problem. All cars have some kind of problem in the cold at times.

If you do or are worried, deicing spray, hot water, heating the car or banging have all been shown to work at times. You can buy a 12v blower heater and use it as long as you can get one door open, or even use another car’s lighter if you can’t.

agreed it’s not a huge deal but a lot of your solutions are only available if you’re at home.

I’ve watched people climb through their trunk and literally kick their door open from the inside, but it wasn’t a Tesla, so no nifty articles on what to do for that car.

The reason it is rare is it requires rain followed by freezing. It is not going to happen in most cold conditions.

Only do that on doors.
Do not use de-icing spray inside your charge port. It will not have been tested to be resistant to these chemicals, electric plugs quite often use rather delicate coatings to enhance contact.
De-icing fluids in most cases are antifrost solutions that are designed to be washed away by water and some parts of it do not evaporate. The remainings might settle as gunk and worsen electrical resistance.

I’d think some water repellant silicone sprayed into the indentation where the handle sits would prevent the ice from sticking to the car and the handle would open. Not sure anyone needed a video to learn that pounding on it might work.

On using the hand warmers, be very careful, those little bags are full of fine sand like chemicals. If the paper breaks stuffing it into the charge port, you’d likely need a ShopVac to clean it out and even then the dust is so fine it may make the port unusable until it was really cleaned out.

And unless you are skier who keeps a few of them in their boot bag, inevitably the hand warmers will be locked in the frozen car.

He did not address the windows freezing to the gaskets.

How about using Lighter to melt the Ice?
Or spraying some Wd-40 in to keep water away?

If you’ve got a lighter AND a can of WD-40 you can get things thawed REALLY quickly…

Frozen door handles is so 1980’s.

My GF’s ’09 Malibu still has freezing problems.

Freezing door handles or freezing doors that stuck because of the seals freeze to the frame?

“Winter can be difficult on any car. Teslas included.”
Never had frozen handles or chargeport on my Leaf. The world is gonna stop spinning when all the legacy car makers are gone, and we all drive Silicon Valley software products…..

My Leaf has much bigger problems with ice than my Model S, especially the charge port. I think you’ve just gotten lucky.

Good for your leaf, but that’s not on big scale. Even my Volvo could have problems in winter when it was around -15°C. Every car can have problems with the freezing winter.

I think Tesla could fix all this on a next car release. It would be a simple matter to put electric headers on those latches.

Just bring out the Tesla flame thrower.

Use it at a “safe distance” and it will quickly “melt” everything… =)

Elon have thought about everything. It is a Tesla eco system!!

“Winter can be difficult on any car. Teslas included.”
As always, the author starts the article deminishing the issue.

“As for the charge port latch, this is surprisingly all-too-common on electric cars.”
Stating this without even listing one other car? A lot of other cars have rubber caps sealing the plug. Short time ago i charged an i3 at -15°C, not a problem at all. The only problem is with heavy snow while charging, then you need to swipe the snow away first, before closing the charge port.

Leaf, Kona, Zoe, i3, a3 etron have additional rubber covers. Bolt, 500e, i Pace have massive rubber seals. It seems to be a problem of Teslas bad charge port design and not be a common problem, maybe a problem, but not common. Teslas seal is not good enough, water/vapour gets in and freezes.