Some car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Land Rover, Tesla or Citroën are increasingly relying on retractable door handles for newer car models. In contrast to the well-known folding and bow handles, the new door handles can be fully recessed. The countersinking of the door handles offers visual and aerodynamic advantages. The new door handles create a smooth, streamlined look. At the same time, the air resistance in the door area can be reduced.
Retractable door handles - with security functions
Retractable door handles are also known as door handles embedded in the doors and are, for example, part of the equipment of the new S-Class W223 / V223 from Mercedes-Benz. In addition to Mercedes, as already mentioned, other manufacturers also offer the new door handles. Furthermore, the handle variants are even occasionally available as retrofit kits for certain vehicle models, such as the Porsche Panamera, in the form of TopCar GTR Gen.2 kit available. The handles can therefore also be purchased as a tuning retrofit kit. However, it is important that the retractable door handle variants are equipped with various safety functions. As a rule, the handles have an electric extension mechanism. In an emergency, however, it must also be possible to open the doors if the power supply fails. A so-called emergency release function should therefore be available for the retractable door handles. In the event of an accident, it must be possible to unlock the recessed door handles in order to enable the door to be opened quickly.
Always reliable? One can doubt!
The door handles from Mercedes-Benz that are embedded in the doors can, for example, extend electrically. Electric extension happens when the driver approaches the vehicle with the vehicle key or strokes the outer surface of the door handle. Access to the vehicle is possible without a key using Keyless-Go. If the door handles are not needed to get into the vehicle, they retract again. This improves the look of the vehicle in the door area. When the door handles are required, the embedded car parts are extended parallel to the door.
Why a handle that extends in parallel?
There are various ways in which a recessed car door handle could come into its use position. So the door handle could also turn out. The door handle, which extends parallel to the door, allows a great deal of access and the extended handle can therefore be grasped and operated easily. Incidentally, the Mercedes handle was developed by the mechanical engineering student Patrick Walter at the Ulm University of Applied Sciences. It surpasses the well-known classic models in terms of functionality and appearance. The version from back then is hidden in a recessed grip. When closed, it was covered by a swiveling cap. The special feature of the invention, in the closed and in the open state and during unlocking, no part of the door handle was on the outside. It was not possible to get stuck or tear off. The final unlocking took place with the hand positioned in the recessed grip. And retrofitting in an existing door was also conceivable. The system was revised for the S-Class.
Retrofitting retractable door handles?
If you want retractable door handles for your tuned vehicle, you should pay attention to suitable kits. The kit should be suitable for the respective vehicle model. The conversion must be carried out professionally and by specialists. Furthermore, the legal situation should be checked before buying and installing retractable door handles. It is advisable with one checkpoint (TÜV, Dekra etc.) or to ask in a tuning workshop whether retractable door handles can be retrofitted and which safety requirements must be met. Finally, the handles must always be able to be operated in an emergency, such as an accident, as mentioned before. Furthermore, neither the driver, front passenger nor children should be able to get their fingers trapped when the handles are lowered and perhaps their hand is still on the handle.
Retractable door handles - conclusion
Retractable door handles are available from some vehicle manufacturers in newer vehicles ex works. Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and many others offer door handles embedded in the doors as standard or optional equipment on certain vehicle models. Retrofit kits are also already available in stores. However, the offer can currently still be significantly expanded and, in particular, specific statements on the eligibility for approval are rare. In contrast to the complete Clean the door handle recesses, which is legally forbidden, retractable door handles are apparently registrable with a certain amount of effort and are therefore legal. For more information, as already mentioned, please contact a relevant testing organization.
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