Posted in Our Blog on October 27, 2022
Checking for vehicle recall notices is standard procedure for Tesla owners. The most recent safety recall is caused by a software glitch affecting almost 45% of the Tesla vehicles on the road today. It would seem the more automated vehicles become, the greater the opportunity for electronic malfunctions to occur, as Tesla’s recall history suggests. Tesla’s latest recall does not affect the drivability of the vehicles, but the malfunction could potentially injure individuals in or around any of the recalled models.
On September 19, 2022, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Safety Recall Report for Tesla. The report claims that during production testing in August Tesla technicians discovered a nonconformance in the window reversal systems. Instead of immediately retracting upon detection of an object while closing, the affected windows could continue to exert force while pinching the obstructing object.
Tesla issued a voluntary recall on September 12, identifying 1,096,762 Tesla vehicles as being potentially affected. The problem was remedied in unsold and undelivered vehicles beginning September 13. Recall notification letters will be mailed to owners of affected Tesla models by November 15. The following are the years and models affected:
Tesla’s remedy will be a software update sent ‘over-the-air’ (OTA), modifying the operation of the window systems so that they conform to federal safety standards. As of September 16, Tesla had not received any reports of injuries or other damage caused by the defect.
The window reversal systems recall is just one of many in an ongoing list of defects affecting different Tesla models over varying years. Tesla has averaged slightly more than one recall per month through the first nine months of 2022. Fortunately for Tesla owners, 90% of the recalls can be remedied by OTA updates.
However, one of the recalls involving the 2021-22 Tesla Model X requires the replacement of the front-row side-curtain airbags due to the failure of the airbags to deploy when the windows are lowered.
Over the years, Tesla has issued other recalls for mechanical issues – such as exploding airbags, power steering gear failure, a faulty seat latch, a faulty parking brake, and a faulty seat belt latch.
Recalls are not unusual. According to Consumer Reports (CR), millions of vehicles are recalled each year. Recalls are issued because safety issues are identified that could put drivers, passengers, and others at risk of injury if they are not corrected.
The danger posed by the subject of a recall will usually be described by the recall notice. If a recall issue renders a vehicle unsafe to drive, the notice will warn the vehicle owner. Or if other special precautions are necessary, the notice will explain what should be done.
Compliance with recall notifications is voluntary. Vehicle owners are entitled to evaluate the risk and choose whether or not to get the recommended repairs. Advocates for higher recall completion percentages stress that recalls are about safety, and failing to take the recommended action puts people unnecessarily at risk. Consumer Reports manager of safety policy, William Wallace, advises vehicle owners to take all recalls seriously.
While advances in technology have enabled manufacturers to equip vehicles with more and better features, problems with the performance of some features have sparked a decline in overall vehicle quality. The results of the annual J.D. Power study on the initial quality of U.S. automobiles show that new vehicle quality is at an all-time low in 2022.
Many of the problems reported by owners relate to new vehicle electronic systems. The 2022 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) found that internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles reported an average of 173 problems per 100 vehicles compared to electric vehicles, with 240 problems per 100 vehicles. Tesla models did just slightly better than the overall electric vehicle market, with 226 problems reported per 100 vehicles.
As vehicle systems become more complex, vehicle manufacturers are increasingly relying on outside parts manufacturers and suppliers to produce component parts for their vehicles. Systems-based failures are responsible for the majority of automotive recalls. Vehicle technology systems are often designed to be used in different models produced by different companies. When a system malfunctions, the impact can result in massive recalls affecting multiple companies.
Tesla owners can elect to wait until they receive official notice from Tesla regarding a recall, or they can proactively check from time to time to see if a recall has been issued. Information about current recalls can be found by entering the vehicle identification number (VIN) at sites such as the NHTSA safety issues and recalls page or Tesla’s website by clicking on the tiny ‘vehicle recalls’ at the very bottom of the home page.
If you aren’t experiencing any problems with your car, then dealing with a recall notice may not seem that important. Many recalls are for minor electronic defects and may not seem a priority to get fixed. But recalls are sometimes for failures of equipment posing a serious threat to drivers and passengers. The NHTSA encourages the completion of all recalls for improved traffic safety.
Vehicle manufacturers like Tesla are highly motivated to fix defects that may cause damage to persons or property. Lawsuits and negative publicity are bad for business. There is usually no cost to the vehicle owner to have the recall repairs made. Many recalls can be addressed by OTA updates with very little inconvenience to the vehicle owner.
As more and more electronic features are added to new vehicles, recalls are likely to remain commonplace. Regularly checking for recalls and completing them within a reasonable time promotes safer driving conditions and helps to keep people from getting injured in accidents.
If you are dealing with a Tesla recall, contact the firm today at (504) 500-5000 or at our website to schedule an appointment.