U.S. government to probe Tesla after receiving 2,400 complaints of drivers LOSING STEERING CONTROL
02/07/2024 // Ava Grace // Views

The Department of Transportation is upgrading an investigation into a possible defect involving electric vehicle (EV) company Tesla's top-selling models after identifying nearly 2,400 complaints about drivers losing steering control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) escalated its preliminary evaluation of the issue, which was opened in July 2023, turning it into an engineering analysis, according to a notice posted on its website. The upgrade means the agency's Office of Defects Investigation determined more testing was warranted, and is a step toward a possible recall. (Related: Tesla recalls more than 2 million cars to fix a defective driving system following DEADLY CRASHES.)

The probe covers over 334,000 Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport utility vehicles from the 2023 model year. In addition to disclosing 2,388 total complaints, NHTSA said it's aware of more than 50 vehicles that had to be towed as a result of steering issues.

The agency's upgraded probe follows a December Reuters investigation that found tens of thousands of Tesla owners have experienced premature failures of suspension or steering parts over at least seven years, citing Tesla documents and interviews with customers and former employees.

Some drivers reported harrowing tales of sudden power steering outages at speeds that nearly caused accidents. The Tesla documents showed that the automaker sought to blame drivers for frequent failures of suspension and steering parts it has long known were defective.

Some of the following complaints described the steering suddenly and randomly locking in place; others discussed power steering failures that required heavy effort to remain in control of the car.

"Upon putting the car into drive for the first time after finishing the software update, the power steering failed with a 'power steering reduced' warning before the car could move. The steering wheel would not move without great effort. A power cycle cleared the issue," wrote a Model Y owner from East Montpelier, Vermont.

"Upon starting the vehicle, the steering wheel frequently locks or becomes exceedingly stiff, requiring significant physical effort to turn. Rebooting the system, [exiting] then re-entering the car can sometimes fix the issue temporarily to make it drivable for the current trip," wrote a Model Y owner from Staten Island, New York.

"Coming out of the shopping center, suddenly steering wheel did not steer. It was hard and saw the alert. Went to very close to (the) opposite side of traffic and somehow made it to across the road inside the shopping center," wrote a Model Y owner from Alpharetta, Georgia.

In some cases restarting the car solved the issue, but other cars had to be towed by Tesla for service.

NHTSA investigation could lead to recall of over 300,000 Teslas

As part of the NHTSA's probe, Tesla supplied certain steering rack part numbers to investigators, suggesting to analysts that the probe could lead to a physical recall of over 300,000 Tesla vehicles, as opposed to an over-the-air software remedy. Such a scenario would be exceptionally costly for the company because of the repairs it would have to pay for.

The probe is one of several that are pending for the carmaker led by billionaire Elon Musk. NHTSA also has been looking into Tesla seat-belt failures and has kept open an investigation into the company’s driver-assistance system Autopilot to monitor the efficacy of a fix deployed late last year.

In one case a driver told NHTSA that they couldn’t complete a right turn and ran into another vehicle. The agency said there have been multiple allegations of Teslas blocking intersections or roadways. Over 50 vehicles had to be towed, according to the consumer complaints.

The agency said it is looking into possible steering rack failures. Tesla is also recalling nearly all of the vehicles it has sold in the U.S. because some warning lights on the instrument panel are too small.

Documents posted by U.S. safety regulators say the recall will be done with an online software update. It covers the 2012 through 2023 Model S; the 2016 through 2023 Model X; the 2017 through 2023 Model 3; the 2019 through 2024 Model Y; and the 2024 Cybertruck.

Visit RoboCars.news for more on electric vehicles and their shortcomings.

Watch this video of Australian social media influencer and car enthusiast Luke Erwin reviewing the Tesla Model 3's performance.

This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Australia refuses to issue safety certification for 2024 Tesla Model 3 due to lack of proper car seats for children.

Tesla drivers in NYC grapple with long waiting times due to lack of fast charging stations for EVs.

Car rental company SIXT drops Tesla EVs from its fleet due to poor resale value, high repair costs.

Chinese-made Teslas bound for Australia SENT BACK after discovery of biosecurity risks.

Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD OVERTAKES Tesla as world's top seller of EVs.

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