Tesla Recalls More Than 2 Million Cars Over Warning Light Size

Image credit: Priscilla Du Preez/Unsplash

Tesla recalls more than 2 million cars after warning light font size found to be too small, following massive Autopilot December recall

Tesla is to recall nearly all the vehicles it has sold in the US after warning lights on the instrument panel were found to be too small.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall of some 2.2 million vehicles on Friday in a sign that it is stepping up scrutiny of the iconic electric vehicle maker.

It is the biggest recall to date, following a recall of 2.03 million cars in December to fix a defective system designed to ensure drivers are paying attention while Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driver-assistance features are in use.

The NHTSA also upgraded a 2023 investigation into a Tesla power-steering issue into an engineering analysis, a step closer to a recall.

Tesla's Cybertruck. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Cybertruck. Image credit: Tesla

Warning lights

The warning light recall is to be carried out via an over-the-air software update and affects the 2012 to 2023 Model S, the 2016 to 2023 Model X, the 2017 to 2023 Model 3, the 2019 to 2024 Model Y and the 2024 Cybertruck, according to NHTSA documents posted on Friday.

While no accidents have been associated with the issue, the agency said the brake, park and antilock brake warning lights have a smaller font size than required by federal safety standards, making critical safety information harder to read and increasing the risk of a crash.

It said the issue was uncovered during a routine compliance audit on 8 January.

Tesla has already started releasing the software update, and is to notify owners by letter starting on 30 March.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla

Steering complaints

The NHTSA said it had thousands of complaints about a loss of steering control involving 2023 Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs and that one accident was tied to the issue.

The investigation covers some 334,000 vehicles.

Some drivers complained of an inability to turn the wheel due to loss of power-steering, while others said it became more difficult.

One driver said they were unable to complete a right turn and collided with another vehicle.

The December recall followed a two-year NHTSA investigation into a series of accidents and crashes, some fatal, that occurred while Autopilot was in use.

Autopilot recall

It said the method for ensuring drivers were paying attention was inadequate and could lead to “foreseeable misuse of the system”.

The update adds controls and alerts to “further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility”, the NHTSA said.