Tesla Frunk Won’t Close – Don’t Force It!


Tesla’s extra frunk space is fantastic. But what if the frunk won’t close? You can’t go anywhere with it open. It’s usually a quick fix! I’ve been a mechanic for 25 years; we’ll have it closed shortly.

Common reasons your Tesla Frunk won’t close include:

  • User error
  • Faulty actuator
  • Faulty latches

In this article, we’ll examine why your frunk won’t close, how to fix it, and the issues preventing it from opening.

Tesla-hood

Tesla Frunk User Error

Many items on your Tesla have been engineered specifically to open or close in a certain way. Your Tesla frunk is no different. If you are trying to close your frunk incorrectly, then the frunk will only partially close.

We all have busy lives and usually have our hands full with bags, groceries, and children! Closing the frunk can be challenging with only one hand (or elbow!) available.

Most hood or trunk closing mechanisms work by grabbing the top and pulling down with force, letting the hood’s weight close the latch.

Tesla is a little different.

Correct Hand Position

We pull downwards, but when the hood is almost closed, it needs to seat fully by placing our hands on either side of the hood logo, thumbs touching, and pressing hard. You will hear the latch engage, and the frunk will shut with a complete seal.

If you only use one hand, the latches won’t fully engage, and the frunk won’t be fully closed.

It can take a bit of getting used to. It means reorganizing your items so you have two hands available. Possibly having to put your items on the ground or in the house before you close the frunk.

Using only one hand can place too much force on one part of the hood and make a dent in the hood. We definitely don’t want that. The hood is made from aluminum and can easily be damaged.

Don’t Overload the Frunk

The other user error we must consider is that your frunk is not as big as you imagine. Trying to overload, the frunk will put pressure on the latches and also damage the hood.

ModelFrunk Capacity
Model 388l (smaller than pre-2020)
Model S89l
Model X117l
Model Y183l (smaller than pre-2020)

In 2020 Tesla reduced the size of the Model 3 frunk. It wasn’t announced exactly why this was done, but it is thought that it is to incorporate a future change that requires more space, possibly an upgraded heat pump that will improve the owners of Teslas in more challenging colder climates or an upgraded light cluster that also will require additional space.

The frunk is a fantastic compartment for any soiled items – kids’ sports kit, gym bag, football, or soccer gear. I know when my kids were smaller, my wife constantly complained about the smell of ponies from equipment put in the car’s trunk. It would waft its way through the whole cabin.

The frunk overcomes this problem as it is a completely separate sealed unit. No matter how strong the smell, it won’t enter the car’s main body.

However, there is only a limited amount of space, and overloading it will put pressure on the latches preventing them from fully closing. You need to be careful not to damage the lid of the frunk. The aluminum can crease very easily. Although it needs two hands of pressure to close, ensure that there is enough clearance to close comfortably.

Faulty Actuator on Primary Latch

There are two latches on the Tesla frunk, the primary and secondary. If you have noticed that your latch is slow to release or it’s getting more difficult to open your drunk, then you should think about booking it in for a service check.

Especially if your Tesla is still within warranty.

If your Tesla is out of warranty and the latch is causing problems, there are two options.

  • Fix it yourself
  • Have Tesla fix it

Fix it Yourself

I would only advise you to fix it yourself if you are mechanically minded. Although not a big job, you don’t want to make the problem worse than it currently is.

The frunk is comprised of two latches, the primary and secondary. They are both actuator mechanisms, meaning a spring, a solenoid, and a pull-back motion to release and grab the latch. Over time the actuator fails due to wear and tear.

The only real difference between the two actuators is the housing they sit in. The secondary housing is longer.

You can order a replacement actuator from Tesla for approximately $80-100. And you’ll need a 10mm socket.

  • Open your frunk
  • Remove the frunk covers at the top
  • Remove the bolts with the 10mm socket that is holding the base of the frunk in place
  • Locate the actuator
  • Unplug the solenoid
  • Remove the complete housing using your ten socket
  • The primary is on the driver’s side
  • The secondary is on the passenger side (longer housing)
  • Replace the mechanism with the new one
  • Hook it back together
  • Tighten down the nuts
  • Connect the cable
  • Connect the solenoid
  • Test that it works (don’t fully close your hood until you’re sure)
  • Reinstall all the covers and tighten them back in with the necessary bolts

The job will take about 30-40 minutes. Not overly complicated, but if you are nervous about doing any jobs on your Tesla, then a service call is the better choice. Be aware, though, that this 30-minute job in Tesla will cost about $250 plus the cost of the part. However, if the hood can’t be opened, then Tesla will have to gain access to the actuator by removing the bumper. The cost skyrockets to over $1000, and it could also be in the shop for several weeks.

Faulty Latches

We’ve looked at the faulty actuator, which is more about wear and time, but what if the latch itself is faulty?

Tesla themselves instigated a recall on the Model S, years 2014 – 2021, to switch out the secondary latch.

It was said to have an alignment issue, and at speed and under pressure, this latch could give way, and the hood could open. No one ever wants to see their frunk opening on the highway.

Although this was an opening issue, it’s actually that the hood didn’t fully close. The hood may sit incorrectly and not seat fully in place to close.

Well, this was a recall, right? So how could this be an issue with your Tesla? You may have bought a used Tesla, and the previous owner never booked it in to have the work done. The previous owner may not have driven their car very often, or they were about to sell and just didn’t think it was important enough. It wasn’t an official NTHSA (National Transport Highway Safety Administration) recall, and they may have disregarded it.

You can check any outstanding recalls on your touchscreen or app.

  • Go to Menu
  • Service
  • Any outstanding recalls will be listed here

If you find it is outstanding, you can contact Tesla Service Center to have it corrected.

Issues that Prevent the Frunk from Opening

Let’s briefly look at reasons why your frunk might not be opening, as it’s just as important as not being able to close it.

  • Faulty actuator
  • 12V battery dead

Faulty Actuator

As I mentioned above, the actuator is a mechanical release. Overuse, general wear, and tear can cause it to stop working or, worse, intermittently work. If you find that the frunk is opening but only half opening, try hitting the ‘Open’ again on your App. This should give it the extra push it needs to release fully.

I’d definitely book it in for a check, especially if you are nearing the end of the warranty.

12V Battery Dead

If, on the other hand, you select open and there’s no reaction at all, your 12V battery may be flat or low on power. There is a way in, though, don’t worry.

On the Model 3, X, and Y:

  • Locate the tow cover at the front of the car
  • Press the top right of the circle
  • Gently pull it towards you
  • On the tow cover are Negative and Positive Cables connectors
  • Hook these up to a booster pack
  • Frunk will pop open

On the Model S, the frunk release pulls are located behind the front wheel arches. One releases the primary latch, and the other releases the secondary.

You will have to prise the cover from the wheel arch to reveal the pull cord. Once your frunk is open on your particular Model, you can then locate your 12V and give it a boost. I have an article about how to do this here.

Other posts you might find useful:

Can I charge a Tesla with jump cables?

Can I drive a Tesla with the trunk open?

Tesla not waking up

Tesla Trunk Won’t Open All the Way

E John Cunningham

Hey, I’m John and I'm a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. I’m a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. I've worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers. Yep, I’ve skint my knuckles on them all!

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