Tesla Charge Port Won’t Open: 7 Most Common Reasons Why!

Now that you have purchased your Tesla, you can’t wait to get it out on the road. But before doing so, it needs to be charged up!

While this is usually a simple procedure, you may experience a situation where your Tesla’s charge port won’t open as expected, meaning you won’t be able to give your car the energy it needs.  

If you’re curious as to why this is happening and how you can fix the problem, here are seven common reasons and what to do to get charged up and on the road again!

1. Cold Temperatures

Should you live in an area where the temperature never dips below freezing, chances are you may never experience a time when your Tesla’s charge port won’t open. However, if you live in a location where extremely cold winters are the norm, the freezing temperatures could prevent you from getting your charge port open.

This problem has been reported by multiple owners of Tesla Model 3, who have experienced a combination of charge ports not opening, windows jamming, and door handles freezing shut!

In some cases, owners reported that the charge port’s latch froze shut in below-freezing temperatures, making it almost impossible for them to remove the car’s charging cable. 

To solve this problem, Tesla has released a software update for Model 3 owners like you to use when preheating your car via the mobile app. 

According to Tesla, once mobile preconditioning is set on HI, the car’s climate system will be better able to thaw the charge port in colder climates.  

However, this may be easier said than done. As some owners have noted, since the charge port is located on the outside of the vehicle and at trunk level, this area of the car may be harder to heat than anticipated.

If you have experienced such a problem with the charge port freezing when the temperatures dip below freezing, time will tell as to whether or not this solves the problem.

2. The Lock Pin is Stuck

In some instances where your Tesla’s charge port won’t open properly, the issue may be a lock pin that is stuck. However, you won’t notice this initially, since your Tesla will sound fine and seem as if everything is working properly.

When you are trying to open the charge port door, you’ll hear various things switching and turning, making you think all is well. Yet when nothing happens and the charge port is still closed, you’ll know it’s time to do some investigating. 

Upon doing so, you’ll find the lock pin is stuck and a flashing blue light indicating the port is not able to open. As for how to fix this problem, the safest way to do so is to take your Tesla to a service center.

If you’re in a jam and really need to get your Tesla charged up at that moment, a small flathead screwdriver may save the day!

Using the screwdriver, you can place it on the opposite side of the port’s hinge.  Next, position the screwdriver in the small, tight space between the car and the charge port. If you’re successful, we think you’ll have enough leverage to pry open the charge port without damaging your car.  

However, should you not be in a hurry to get your Tesla charged up, be smart and take it to a service center.

3. Metal Insert is Dislodged

While we suspect you likely haven’t paid much attention to this, your charge port has a metal piece in its top corner that is quite important to ensure your charge port opens without difficulty each and every time. 

Referred to as the trapezoidal metal insert, it can now and then become dislodged from its corner. Should this occur, don’t expect to get your charge port open right away!

Fortunately, should you find your charge port’s trapezoidal metal insert has gone missing in action, there is a do-it-yourself fix you can try that may solve your problem temporarily. 

Should you have a washer or other metal part that closely resembles your charge port’s metal insert, you can use double-sided adhesive tape to place it in the top corner of your charge port.  

However, going this route brings with it a certain risk. For example, the tape may not hold, causing the washer to fall from the top corner. 

If this happens, not only will the charge port door once again lock up on you, but the washer may get stuck elsewhere within your Tesla’s charging area, which could potentially cause severe damage to your car’s electrical system.  

In our opinion, unless you are absolutely desperate to get your Tesla charged up right then and there, don’t take what will be an easy repair for a Tesla technician and turn it into one that may cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Instead, take your car to a service center.

4. Software Issues

Though Tesla cars feature state-of-the-art technology, they are in essence computers on wheels. As we all know, computers love to malfunction now and then, and your Tesla may be no exception!

Since virtually all functions of your vehicle are controlled by sophisticated software, a malfunction in this area could result in your charge port failing to open.

While this does happen occasionally, the good news is that this problem is actually much easier to correct than some of the previous ones mentioned.

Should you suspect a software malfunction, you can simply check your Tesla’s dashboard to see if your vehicle’s software is up-to-date. 

If it is not, you should have a message informing you of this and asking if you wish to get the latest updates. By doing so, your charge port issues should be solved much quicker than you anticipated.

5. Motor Issues

Though the charge port on your Tesla is controlled by software, it also is a motorized part of the car, meaning it does still rely on a motor to actually open. If your charge port is not opening, this could mean you have motor issues with your Tesla’s charging port.  

If this happens, there are a few things you can try that have proven to be successful with other owners in the past. First, you may be able to apply minimal pressure to the middle of your charge port’s door. 

By pressing and releasing several times in a row, you should be able to find the right spot that opens the port door.

Should this not work, you may be able to use your key fob to open the port door.  To be successful at this, you will need to apply a small amount of pressure not to the middle of the port door, but instead to the hinge side of the door.

By trying this a few times, you should get the port door open, get your vehicle charged up, and be on your way.

6. You Broke It!

In some instances where you may have had problems in the past getting your Tesla charge port door open, you may have used a screwdriver or other tools or parts to get it open.

However, while you thought all was well, you may have inadvertently broken the charge port door…

Thus, now that it’s time for your Tesla to get a recharge boost, you find your door won’t open. If you think this is what has happened, don’t try to be a DIY mechanic any longer.  

Instead, head to a nearby Tesla service center and put your car in the capable hands of an experienced service technician.

7. Manufacturer Defect

Though your Tesla was expertly designed and manufactured, this does not mean that a manufacturing mistake cannot take place now and then. If you are having difficulty opening your Tesla’s charge port door far too often, it could be due to a manufacturing defect that would need to be corrected at a service center.

However, before making this conclusion, it is a good idea for you to first exhaust all other options.  For example, make sure your car has all recommended software updates from Tesla!

Also, think about if you have tried to perform any DIY repairs on the door recently or in the past that could be causing this problem.  

Should you go over these options in your mind and feel confident the charge port door problems are not your fault, then we suggest you go to a service center and have your Tesla undergo a thorough evaluation by a service technician.

If this problem has been occurring with other Tesla owners, the technician will be aware of the issue and know how to fix it.

A frustrating problem, to say the least, it is good to know that you do have viable solutions available no matter the reason for your charge port door failing to open. 

Whether it’s a software update, a part that needs to be replaced, or other issues, chances are your Tesla’s charge port door problems will soon be a thing of the past.

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