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Federal Safety Officials Upgrade Tesla Power Steering Probe

by | February 2, 2024

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration moved its probe into Tesla’s power steering loss from a probe to an engineering analysis as the company recalled 2.2 million vehicles due to a font size issue.

Tesla Berlin worker

Tesla still continues to deal with problems, including power steering loss.

Tesla’s continuous run of interactions with regulators at NHTSA about a variety of problems keeps on as the agency is upgrading a probe into power steering loss issues with 349,569 vehicles to an engineering analysis.

It’s the final step before mandating a recall. The agency’s Office of Defects Investigation began

The complaints center the loss of power steering while in the midst of operating the vehicle. On Jan. 22, a Model Y owner complained they were nearly hit by an an oncoming vehicle.

“I was making left turn and found my car could only slightly turn left since the power steering was basically lost, almost being hit by a red sedan. There was a yellow sign on my (Tesla) computer: ‘Steering assist reduced. Steering may require increased effort’.”

Similar reports, including one crash, have come in on Model S, Model 3 and Model X vehicles as well as the Model Y.

More Tesla stories

Warning light recall

The warning light recall affects more than 2.1 million vehicles, including even just produced Cybertruck, dating back to the 2012 Model S.

Tesla Model 3 updated pair

Tesla sales rose 38% last year — but were expected to climb 50%.

“Warning lights with a smaller font size can make critical safety information on the instrument panel difficult to read, increasing the risk of a crash,” the NHTSA said. The company’s current font size is smaller than 3.2 millimeters or an eighth of an inch.

Tesla began releasing an over-the-air software update Jan. 23, at no cost, to fix the issue, according to NHTSA. The update will increase the font size of the visual warning indicators for the brake, park and antilock brake system (ABS).

It’s Tesla second large recall in less than two months. In December, the EV maker recalled 2.03 vehicles — nearly every vehicle produced to that point. It did so to install new safeguards in its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system.

“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature,”  the company noted.

Other recalls

Tesla will recall 200,000 EVs to address a problem with their backup cameras it described as “software instability.” In this case, this can cause the rearview camera system to fail on some products equipped with Tesla’s popular — albeit controversial — Full Self-Driving technology.

The recalls along with a weaker than expected full-year earnings report have helped to push the company’s share price down in recent weeks.


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