Tesla Charge Port Won’t Open? Here’s What to Do.


Tesla Charge Port Won’t Open? Here’s What to Do...

You finally did it! You got your dream car: a tesla. There’s just one problem: you bought it, and now the charge port won’t open. You obviously don’t want to go back to Tesla and spend another eight million dollars at their company (because we all know Elon Musk has enough money). So… what the heck do you do? You need that thing open if you’re going to charge your car and go anywhere.

What if your Tesla charge port won’t open? Most of the charge port doors are motorized (you can open them from the touchscreen, fob, and the charge door); however, if it freezes and won’t open, you can use your key to open the charge port while simultaneously apply minimal pressure to the hinge side of the port door.

If you do that, you should be able to get back into your charge port, charge your vehicle, and get back to flaunting your hot new ride in the neighborhood. However, in some cases, this problem may not be so easily fixed. 

Pro Tip: The simple fix may be to just manually press and release the middle of the charge port door. This should engage it to open without having to engage it via your smartphone app, touchscreen, or key fob. You may need to press and release a few times to find the right spot on the charge port door.

What Causes the Charge Port to Stick?

While there are many reasons that the charge port door has stuck and won’t open, we will explore some of the more common ailments. 

However, regardless of the situation, you should try the aforementioned process: Use the key to open the charge port while applying slight pressure to the hinge side of the charge port door.

Temperature

While warmer temperatures should not present any problems for a Tesla, cold termpatures can cause some issues, specifically temperatures that are below freeszing, may cause some technological difficulties including a charge port that won’t open or that sticks.

When you attempt to open the port door, the car will sound and look as though everything is functioning correctly. You’ll hear the mechanisms turn and switch as the car prepares to unhinge the charging port door, but nothing happens.

Upon inspection, you may find that the lock pin is stuck, and you may also notice a flashing blue light. 

While temperature is not necessarily the reason that the charge port is stuck, it can often hinder the inner functioning of a technological device, such as a tesla’s charging port. 

Unfortunately, in this case, you’ll probably have to have the vehicle serviced at a Tesla Service Center.

In certain cases, you may receive a red notification that alerts you that the charge port may not open when pressed and that you should find an alternative method to open the charge port. 

Although there is no definitive information on this message, it does seem that for most tesla owners who have received the message have been in temperatures ranging well below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

A Part Has Become Dislodged

If you open the charging port door, you should see a piece in the top corner (usually left-hand if it opens out—if it opens up, then it is still the left-hand top if you are looking up at it). There should be a trapezoidal metal insert that is attached to that area. 

Your charging port door may stick if that metal insert is missing. For a cheap, do-it-yourself fix, you can attach a washer or other metal tool similar in size and construction to the metal insert to the small area at the top left-hand corner.

You can even attach it with a strong, but easily available, adhesive like double-sided tape to get the job done. You should check the area periodically to ensure that the piece is not in danger of losing grip and falling. 

If the piece were to fall, you do run the risk that the charge port door will lock on you again. 

Eventually, you should consider having the actual part replaced, as placing a washer in your charging port with a piece of double-sided tape is not meant to be a longlasting solution. 

Software Issue

One of tesla’s most attractive factors is its high-class, state-of-the-art technology, which it heralds as industry changing. Tesla has almost single-handedly dominated the electric car market. 

Along with its classification as an electric car, with the added benefit of saving money on gas expenditures, tesla also features many other high-end technology gadgets and devices. For example, teslas tout a touch screen console in the car, which also controls many other functions of the car.

These cars are controlled and operated through a software system. Like a cell phone or computer, a tesla’s software can sometimes malfunction. One of the processes that may malfunction is the control to open the charge port. 

Be sure your Tesla’s software is up to date as updates are meant to fix bugs that could cause things like this.

Other Ways to Fix the Problem?

Like anything else, the issue of a tesla’s charge port sticking and not opening is not a single-faceted issue without nuance. 

The best and safest way to fix the problem is to call Tesla’s service and have the vehicle inspected for any technical or software problem, but we do not always find ourselves in optimal circumstances to take the time to call and wait for the car to be fixed.

You could be in a situation where you need to get that charge port open. In fact, it is very likely that you’re standing a superstation and trying to get your car back on the road.

Can You Pry Open the Charge Port? Not Recommended.

If that is the case, and you are in dire need of a charge near a charging station or even at your home, you could always pry open the charging port if necessary. This is not recommended because you could very well break something, and if you know anything about Tesla’s, you know that they are expensive to fix. But, sometimes you got to do what you’ve got to do.

Here’s how to do it:

  • You’d want to take something smaller and flat like a small flat head screwdriver. This will help prevent damaging the car.
  • Then you can place the screwdriver on the opposite side of the hinge, meaning where the port would then open up. 
  • You’ll then need to shimmy the screwdriver into position there in the tight space left between the car and the charging port. 
  • Once you have the leverage, you can use the handle to place down enough pressure to pry open the charging port. 

If you encounter shrill popping noises sounding the port’s resistance to your prying efforts, you should probably stop what you’re doing, and get your car serviced by a professional as you don’t want to damage the vehicle. If you were to damage the charging port, you would likely run up a pricey bill, as in several hundred dollars.

Last Resort, What Should You Do?

Well, here you are, you’ve exhausted almost all your effort, time, and energy and this charge door when all you really want to do is charge your freaking car and go to work!

So, what’s left? What could you possibly do that you haven’t already tried? 

Well, as a last resort, you could always try the manual release cable found in the trunk (or front trunk depending on the vehicle model). 

You can pull this cable to see if the charge port will open. Make sure to consult your owner’s manual before you try this, as it may be fruitless. However, if all else fails, you won’t harm anything by trying it. 

If even that fails, you’ll have to accept the fact that you’re going to need to take your vehicle and service it. 

Hopefully, you won’t have to service it, though, and you can fix the problem yourself!

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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