Do drivers even use parking brakes these days?
Whether or not the parking brake gets utilized, it still needs to function as intended.
Unfortunately for Tesla and owners of Model S and X vehicles built from February 2016 through October 2016, a manufacturing issue means that the parking brake may not function properly. You may get stuck in park.
The recall affects up to 53,000 vehicles, with approximately 31,000 being in the U.S.
Tesla issued this full statement on the matter to owners directly (via Tech Crunch):
“Tesla recently discovered a potential manufacturing issue with the electric parking brakes installed on certain Model S and Model X vehicles that could prevent the parking brake from releasing. We do not believe this issue could ever lead to a safety concern for our customers, and we have not seen a single accident or injury relating to it. However, in order to be overly cautious, we are going to be proactively replacing these parts to ensure that no issues arise.Specifically, we have determined that the electric parking brakes installed on Model S and Model X vehicles built between February and October 2016 may contain a small gear that could have been manufactured improperly by our third‑party supplier. If this gear were to break, the parking brake would continue to keep the car from moving, but the parking brake would then be stuck in place. There have been no reports of the parking brake system failing to hold a parked vehicle or failing to stop a vehicle in an emergency as a result of this condition, and this part has no impact on the car’s regular braking systems. We have also determined that only a very small percentage of gears in vehicles built during this period were manufactured improperly.Our records show that you own a Tesla vehicle that was built during this period. We will soon be sending you an official recall notice by mail, which will include information on how to have your parking brakes replaced. In the meantime, it is safe to continue regular use of your vehicle.Thank you for being a Tesla customer. For more information, FAQs, and other details related to this recall, please visit the Recall Information page. If you need additional assistance, you can also contact us by phone at 1‑877‑798‑3752 or by email at ServiceHelpNA@tesla.com. We apologize for this inconvenience."
Update (04/20): Full statement (above) via Tech Crunch, an abbreviated/edited version of this statement which appeared here earlier apparently originated at Electrek (as per/hat tip to Fred via email).
Affected vehicles will be fixed free of charge, though the timeline to finish all fixes is rather long with Tesla saying it could be October 2017 before it has the necessary parts to correct the issue on all of the affected Model s & X electric vehicles.
Tesla estimates that only 2 percent of the vehicles recalled contain the improperly manufactured part.
Owners will be contact by e-mail and ol' fashion snail mail.
Full Tesla Q&A via its Safety Update Page:
What would happen if the gear on the brake were to crack? Would a broken gear impact the electric parking brake’s ability to keep the car stationary? There have been no reports of the parking brake system failing to hold a parked vehicle. A broken gear may prevent the car’s parking brake from releasing once parked.
How do customers/drivers know if their car has been affected? Customers who have been affected by this issue have received warnings that their parking brake needs service.
How is Tesla alerting customers? We will be emailing affected customers to inform them of this issue and provide instruction on how to get their electric parking brake replaced.
How many vehicles does Tesla estimate to be affected? While less than 5% of the vehicles being recalled may be affected by this issue, we are recalling 53,000 vehicles total out of an abundance of caution. Because of the design of the gear, it is difficult to tell exactly which vehicles are affected.
Is this a global recall? Yes.
How long will it take to service and replace the part? It takes less than 45 minutes to replace both brakes.
When does Tesla expect all replacements to be complete? We are working closely with our supplier to obtain replacement parts. We are able to begin replacing parts immediately and will have sufficient parts for all affected vehicles by October 2017.