Tesla Trunk Won’t Open All The Way – Simple Fix!

Teslas can sometimes be a bit glitchy. It is a large computer on wheels, after all. One of these glitches is when the trunk won’t open all the way. Read on for the simple solution to this problem.

The top 4 reasons your Tesla trunk won’t open all the way include the following:

  • Recent Software Update
  • Recalibration required
  • Aftersales liftgate attached
  • Ill-fitting Trunk

In this article, we’ll examine why your Tesla trunk won’t open all the way and how to fix it.

Recent Software Update

The most common reason your trunk won’t open is that there has been a recent software update; you can check if your update has been successful; in fact, I wrote a post about problem updates which you may find helpful – Tesla won’t download update.

All Tesla updates happen OTA (Over The Air). Most updates don’t make any difference to the day-to-day driving of your Tesla. But occasionally and unintentionally, software changes can cause glitches in other entirely unconnected items.

Tesla usually quickly catches conflicting software, and the problem is generally sorted with another update. However, this can take some time to filter through to all owners, as updates are processed in order of VIN. So, depending on where you are on the list dictates how quickly the glitch will be corrected.

The update 2022.16 caused the trunk to stop opening all the way, even though the update had nothing to do with the trunk.

You can check for recent software updates onscreen.

  • Select Controls
  • Select Software

Your Tesla will check for updates. It will then notify you of either ‘Up to Date’ or ‘Update Available’.

You can select ‘Advanced’ in the Software Update Preferences, which will update your Tesla as soon as an update becomes available.

If there has been a recent update and you find your trunk is only partially opening, you can either wait for the Software fix or recalibrate your trunk.

Recalibrating Your Tesla Trunk

Recalibrating your Tesla trunk is a simple task. However, only the Model S, Y, and X have the power-lift trunk. It is currently being rolled out in the Model 3 in China (2022), which is usually an indication that it will be rolled out to all markets eventually, but for now, if you want a power lift in the Model 3, you will have to have it retrofitted.

To open the power lift trunk:

  • Car must be in Park
  • Select either:
    • Open Onscreen
    • Double Click the Fob
    • Open Rear on Tesla App
    • Press the Button under the trunk handle (key required on person)

To Recalibrate:

  • Manually raise it further
  • Select the required height
  • Press and hold the trunk button for 3+ seconds
    • Located on the underside of the trunk – Icon of Open Trunk
  • The car will beep to confirm the height
  • Close the trunk and reopen

Each Model has its own opening width. See the table below.

ModelOpening Width
Model 32 Meters / 6.5ft
Model S2.3 Meters / 7.5ft
Model Y2.3 Meters / 7.5ft
Model X2.5 Meters / 8ft

It’s also handy to be able to adjust the height of the trunk even if you’re not having problems. Your garage might have a height restriction, or you might have your own height restriction. Not everyone is 6ft tall! The reason Musk is introducing the power lift to all Models is that wheelchair users are unable to reach the trunk in the open position.

Aftersales Liftgate Installed

As we said, all Models (except the 3 – but in the pipeline) have an electric liftgate. But it is possible to add an aftermarket liftgate to the Model 3. You can organize to install this at a Tesla Service Center (approx $700) or in a specialized auto workshop. There are many available to buy online.

The aftermarket upgrade changes the struts to electric and adds an open/close button on the trunk and the footwell.

But adding aftermarket items can cause problems with the opening and closing of the trunk. The struts must have enough power to open the trunk fully, or you will have to open it to your required height manually.

Also, the software (firmware) in non-Tesla items can be glitchy, and the trunk will open but not close or vice versa. Or the pneumatic is too powerful and has difficulty closing.

Aftermarket items not approved by Tesla can cause problems. If you have an older Model 3, I recommend you go to Tesla to install the retrofit. Anything on your Tesla that Tesla didn’t put there can sometimes void your warranty.

Ill-Fitting Trunk

The last item I’ll mention is an ill-fitting trunk. It’s kind of an accepted quirk that parts of your Tesla don’t quite make the grade. Most of the time, owners don’t mind. They’re so happy to own a Tesla; a few mismatched lines or curves won’t matter.

But the misalignment can worsen on parts that are opening and closing regularly, and the problem worsens. This can be the case with your trunk lid not opening all the way or not closing fully.

It may have been barely noticeable when you took delivery of your Tesla, but as time goes on, parts start to wear, and misalignment becomes more noticeable.

Each strut might not open equally; no matter how you try to calibrate, you can’t get them to align.

This is a Tesla Service Center call. To set this up:

  • Open the App
  • Select Service
  • In ‘Details,’ give as much information as possible about the problem, including any photos of notifications you might have received.
  • Confirm your Tesla location and the date and time that suits you best.
  • A mobile service will be offered if available.
  • Alternatively, you may be requested to bring your car to a local Service Center.

Giving as much detail about the problem as possible will allow the service team to evaluate the situation. The biggest worry is opening your trunk and finding you can’t close it again. This begs the question if you can safely drive with the trunk open; I wrote a post about exactly that, which you may find helpful – Can I drive a Tesla with my trunk open?

I’ve written a ton on common Tesla issues, which hopefully you won’t ever experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

Check out the Tesla troubleshooting page for problem Teslas.

Check out the Tesla charging page for common Tesla charging problems.

Check out the Tesla category page for a list of popular Tesla posts.

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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