If you have a door handle that won’t present, chances are it has a broken paddle gear. Fortunately, you don’t need a $350 handle assembly; Tesla sells the part for about a dollar.
- All Tesla Model S vehicles
- 1 Tesla Paddle Gear (Part #1042845-00-A) or a custom-machined replacement, as designed by chr20 from TMC.
- Replacement wire ties (not required, but recommended)
- Replacement retainer clip (not required, but recommended due to frequent corrosion; size unknown; buy a multi-pack at Home Depot)
- 10mm socket with extension
- 10mm wrench
- T25 Torx screwdriver
- Small wirecutter or scissors to snip wire ties
- LED headlamp (optional, to see better within door assembly)
- Masking tape
- Cover door handle with masking tape to protect it during removal.
- Remove door handle assembly.
- Peel off the back cover:
- Snip wire ties as needed to free things up.
- Remove the motor (4 T25 Torx screws), as visible in step 3. After motor removal, it will look like this:
- Remove the small C-shaped metal washer that prevents the rod from sliding out.
- Un-spring two springs using needle nose pliers.
- Remove the little clip that holds the main pivot rod in place.
- Slide the rod out.
- Insert the new paddle gear and reassemble the spacers (little metal pieces, kind of like washers, that fit between the parts and the rod).
- Line up all the springs and parts and slide the rod back in.
- Repeat steps 2-6 in reverse, tidying up the wires as you go.
- Lock and unlock the car to ensure your door handle works again. Reverse step 1 after verifying.
Note: for rear door handles, you must reinstall the handle assembly from inside the vehicle with the window fully raised in order to secure the top nut.1
References and Citations
These instructions are based on several accounts from the TMC forum:
TMC user Manzacoty provided an excellent video of the paddle gear swap:
The Boost Brothers also have a very helpful video on fixing paddle gears: