The Tesla Model X and Its Embarrassing Falcon Wing Door Problems Have Only Gotten Worse

The Model X is Tesla’s first crossover SUV, and it’s also one of the most powerful EVs on the market. Like its siblings, it packs a pair of potent electric motors and a slew of innovative features. But its futuristic falcon-wing doors set it apart from the rest of the lineup.

However, HotCars reports that the Model X’s falcon-wing doors are also one of the biggest complaints among owners. Some drivers wish Tesla would get rid of this feature altogether.

What makes the Tesla Model X a great EV?

A white Tesla Model X on display in a showroom on February 13, 2021, in Beijing, China
Tesla Model X | VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The standard Tesla Model X has all-wheel drive and two electric motors producing 670 hp. This version gets an estimated 348 miles of range. The souped-up Plaid trim — with three electric motors making 1,020 hp — gets a bit less, at 333 miles.

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Like other Tesla EVs, the Model X’s interior construction quality leaves something to be desired. Still, the yoke-style steering wheel is a stylish touch, and the large center display screen offers access to fun apps and features. Tesla’s semiautonomous driving mode, Autopilot, is also standard, as is the ability to summon the SUV from a parking space.

But the Tesla Model X’s falcon wing doors are downright annoying

Tesla marketed its rear-passenger falcon-wing doors as an easy way to get family members situated inside the vehicle. The doors open upward instead of outward, providing better access to the rear rows. However, some owners have discovered that the doors can’t even open all the way. 

And sometimes, the doors seem to have minds of their own, closing and opening randomly. One door might close properly, while the other remains open. 

InsideEvs showed a video where one driver found a possible cause of the problem. The rubber on one of the door seals had been damaged, and the door was also slightly misaligned. Sometimes the door would shut too roughly, causing the fender flare on the back wheel to pop out of place.

Unfortunately, misaligned doors are not a new problem for Tesla cars. The owner in the video also said they had been trying to initiate a warranty claim for years, with no response from the automaker.

What has the EV maker done to fix the falcon wing doors?

Most of the issues regarding the Tesla Model X’s falcon-wing doors occurred when the vehicle first debuted. After numerous complaints, Tesla fired and sued the original door manufacturer. But instead of replacing the doors on thousands of cars, Tesla issued an over-the-air software update instead. 

However, according to AutoSafety, this update only made the problem worse. The sensors are seemingly less sensitive when detecting obstacles. A few concerning YouTube videos show that the doors sliced through vegetables in their path without a pause.

Though the doors could probably detect a person in the way, they could chop off a stray limb. Small children have tiny hands and feet, making the doors even more hazardous for families.

DriveTribe argues that safety isn’t the only reason Tesla should discontinue the falcon-wing doors. They make the Model X heavier and prevent the installation of roof racks.

Indeed, the falcon-wing doors can open even in tight parking spaces. However, the driver and front passenger must use regular doors, risking dinging another car. The driver still needs to get the car out of the space — unless they crawl into the driver’s seat through the backseat.

But that’s why the Smart Summon feature exists, which contributes to the Tesla Model X’s starting MSRP of $104,990. Owners could save money (and gain peace of mind) if the Model X just had standard doors.

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