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Those door handles

So you have been at work all day and the weather has turned nasty. A combination of freezing rain, snow and sleet has been falling since lunch time. You walk out to your Model S and see it is thoroughly encased in ice and snow.

Will the door handles still come out? Are you screwed if you left your snow brush, scraper and de-icer in the car? Do the door handles remain extended when the car is off?

Usually I would expect the wind to keep at least one handle free of ice, but that is by no means a certainty. There might be a separate question of sturdiness for the handles if a bit of water gets into the seals around the door and ice glues them shut (about 20 years ago I damaged a handle on my mother's car trying to overcome this kind of ice seal).

It is probably too early to test this, but hopefully Tesla gets a chance to consider it.

I had that happen to a Toyota I used to drive years ago. It had real handles, but all the doors were completely glued shut by the ice, as was the trunk. And my scraper was in the trunk.

Eventually a coworker and I managed to open the trunk through sheer force. If we pulled any harder I swear we would have picked up the wheels. Anyway we got my scraper out and chipped our way into both cars.

The point is, if it's that bad the handle is only going to be a small part of the problem.

I spoke with a Tesla rep at the Chicago location and this is especially a concern for our area. The door handles will have a small heating element to them so that they will not become frozen over. How exactly it will work I do not have those answers, but it just needs to be a simple solution so that you can get into the car.

Pour vodka over the handles.

no luck here - my bottle of vodka is in the glove compartment :-)

It wouldn't help anyway, it just freezes to the door. You would need raw distilled alcohol to prevent it from freezing (and even then remaining water freezes, I think you can actually use cold metal to distill alcohol, water freezes to it, remaining liquid is alcohol. Haven't tested that though). Warm water in plastic bag or hair dryer works fine.

OTOH I think you could command your car to start warming up using your phone. That would be nice feature if it isn't already in Tesla list. Call to your car and tell it to be ready at the time you want it to be.

Timo, I do not advise pouring hot water on your car, that is a great way to crack a window glass. Since I haven't had a discussion with the dealer about all these minutia, I will offer this solution: cover the handle when you park the car.

That's it! I'll carry a roll of duck tape with me. When I park outside on a winter's day I will simply peel about 20cm of duct tape off the roll and paste it on over the handle. Uncle Red would be so proud! If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy :D

Of course I am kidding. If someone taped over my handles of my new Model S I might pop a vein or two. Now putting that ugly piece of tape on someone else's beautiful Model S...

If you are confused by this post look up the Red Green Show.

@Vexar, plastic bag of warm water. You press it against the door handle/lock. Heat transfers thru plastic and water has very good heat capacity, so it takes quite a while before it gets cold enough that it no longer works.

I can think of another way to melt the ice off the door handles, but it would only work for the guys and you probably wouldn't want to touch the handle afterwards anyways.

Yeah, we all thought of that.

Well, at 40 below, with a wind ... {Shudder}

Awww, somebody deleted the post about warming the iced over door handle on the Tesla with body temp water.

Someone has a prissy sense of primness and properness, 'pparently! P on 'em!

@Timo:
Thank you for that tip. Most of the time, when I see a car that has
"iced over" it is the entire door frame that has been covered, not the mere handle. Usually, the ice sticking to the rubber seal on the door is what gets stuck. With the design of the Tesla S, the best option is probably through the trunk (the rear one, not the bonnet) because the water doesn't stick where the rubber seal is, that's too far inward.

Are you serious? Who carries a plastic bag with warm water? Not to mention, if it was cold enough to freeze the door handles, you wouldn't be walking with it in the first place.

N your thanking him for that? Lol...

I guess ill carry a plastic bag anywhere I go, JUST incase I need to fill it with warm water... Cause you know.. Your gonna know exactly when your handles will freeze.

You might as well carry a few other things.

Serious freezing takes time. You usually find car frozen like that parked in open, like in courtyard of a friend after spending day there. Then both bags and water is just matter of getting in, grabbing a bag and filling it with water. Warm car doesn't freeze over in matter of few hours at the office. Not even in temperatures over -30C cold (actually at that cold air tends to be very dry, all the air moisture just freezes immediately).

Well, *if* the door handles (and not the entire rubber seal) are frozen, then a plastic bag with warm water is by far the most sensible suggestion that has been made here. Fortunately, the discussion is pointless b/c the Model S will heat the door handles from the inside, which is more effective and more convenient. Isn't technology great? ;-)

If Tesla doesn't heat the door handles, how about those little chemical hand warmers that people put in their shoes, gloves, etc to keep their fingers and toes toasty at football games and other outdoor activities? Keep them in your coat, briefcase, satchel, waltzing Matilda, or whatever else you drag around with you. Or, take it up a notch. Carry a burns-o-matic propane torch. Maybe a little butane version like restaurants use to melt the brown sugar on creme brulee. Careful, don't want to blister that nice powder coat finish, or set the car ablaze. I take no responsibility for my irresponsible ideas. Proceed at your own risk.

Apparently the Tesla moderator didn't appreciate my suggestion about the alternative ice melting method ;). No fun!

How ironic.... You probably suggested the most effective (gets the job done instantly), most practical (don't need to carry anything with you), and gets 2 things taken care of :P

Here's an alternative idea to the plastic bag of water. What if the shell of the handle was of a different density than that of the car. Rubber that matches the color of the car. That way you can hit it with the bottom of your fist or elbow to break the ice. Sort of like when bending an ice cube tray, you change the shape of the mold to pop out the ice.

This hidden handle idea is pretty fancy, but I see problems. Ice being one. Another being that if you're in and out of your car often (Lets just imagine a courier business) waiting for your handles to come out every time is going to drive you mental. Maybe not, time will tell.

As for the 17" touch screen console. Great if you're parked or on a smooth road.

@Vexar:
While it's true that it's usually the door edges that ice over, the ice can usually be shattered by pulling hard enough on the door handles. If the door handles aren't available, though...
Climbing through the rear hatch presumes that the hatch is less icy than the side doors. The opposite is usually true, given that the rear hatch faces upwards. :-) Still, it is one more way into the vehicle, and one I've had to use on my Audi A3.

They will be having a way of heating the handles FYI. That way there is no worry about ice.

How do you open the doors with gloves on if it freezes?

Touch tongue, pull.

Brian H: ok, how do I get the tongue off, once the door is open?

Firetorch?

I live in the Northwest, and I've had doors and door handles get iced over. I thought of a solution while reading these posts. Keep one of those chemical hand warmers in the pocket of your jacket. I'm thinking of the type that is a liquid-filled pouch with a small metal disc in it. When you 'click' the disc, the pouch heats up, and can warm hands or door handles. These are re-usable, as they 'reset' when you boil them in water for a few minutes. Not the most 'organic' solution, but handy.

william26

you are kidding, right?
$100k car and use handwarmers to be able to drive it???

Two ideas. First, don't park it outside in a snow storm. Second, if you have to park it outside in a snowstorm, use a car cover.

Do any of you come from cold country? Those of us who live here understand that if you are out in it there are issues that happen. Freezing door handles is not a common occurrence but it is far from uncommon as well. Putting a car cover on in freezing/stormy weather? Are you kidding? Most frozen door handles come from a freezing rain. Great now I have a car cover frozen on my car. As for not driving my car because it is freezing out, I bought it to drive it.

I personally think William's idea is a simple solution to an occasional problem. Not hard to carry around, can be used as hand warmers in a accident, and many other uses could be found.


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