Tesla Recalls 40,000 US Cars Over Power Steering Problem

Tesla's pricier Model S. Image credit: Tesla

Tesla confirms voluntarily recall of 40,000 plus vehicles in the US after firmware update may result in power steering loss

Tesla is facing a fresh safety scare after it was revealed it is voluntarily recalling 40,168 vehicles in the United States.

According to a 1 November filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made public on Tuesday, the impacted models are the Tesla Model S and Model X made between 2017-2021.

The recall is because these vehicles received a 11 October firmware release that reportedly caused some vehicles to lose power steering when driving over bumpy roads and potholes.

Tesla's Model S. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Model S. Image credit: Tesla

Tesla recall

The good news is that this recall only requires a software update that is pushed to the cars over the air.

“Firmware release 2022.36 changed calibration values for the electronic power assist steering (EPAS) system,” noted Tesla in its NHTSA filing. “In rare cases on certain 2017-2021 Model S and Model X vehicles, the updated calibration values may result in reduced or lost power steering assist due to forces from external road dynamics (i.e., pot holes or bumps) being inadvertently classified as unexpected steering assist torque.”

“Reduced or lost power steering assist does not affect steering control, but could require greater steering effort from the driver, particularly at low speeds,” Tesla stated.

“Upon experiencing reduced or lost power steering assist, an audio alert will trigger and a visual alert will appear on the instrument cluster,” said the filing.

An estimated 1 percent of recalled vehicles have the defect, according to the release.

The EV maker said that as of 1 November, 97 percent of the recalled vehicles have installed a new update that addresses the issue, and no further action is necessary from those owners.

Tesla had identified 314 vehicles with the problem as of the first of the month, but the company is not aware of any injuries or deaths, the release said.

News of the latest Tesla recall sent shares of the firm down more than 4 percent early Tuesday.

Other recalls

Tesla has been the subject of numerous recalls over the past couple of years.

In September it recalled nearly 1.1 million vehicles in the US, because the door windows can trap a person’s fingers when being rolled up.

In May this year Tesla issued a recall for some 107,293 China-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in mainland China.

That issue was similar or identical to one that caused a recall of 130,000 US-made vehicles the week before.

In February 2022 Tesla issued a safety recall in the United States associated with its seat belts, with the EV maker recalling more than 817,000 vehicles in America.

In December 2021 Tesla issued a recall for more than 475,000 of its Model 3 and Model S electric cars to address a couple of safety issues associated with the rearview camera and front trunk (frunk) with the Model 3 and Model S.

In November 2021 Tesla recalled 12,000 vehicles in the US over a ‘software communication error’ involving its FSD beta program.

In June last year Tesla issued a recall for nearly 6,000 cars in the United States over concerns about potentially loose brake caliper bolts.

In February 2021 the NHTSA asked Tesla to recall 135,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over faulty touchscreen displays.