Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated in the past that the notion of what a recall is should be changed, given that so many issues can be fixed via over-the-air updates. But that can’t fix an improperly reassembled seat belt buckle that was incorrectly put together, the problem potentially present in some 24,000 Model 3s manufactured from 2017 through 2022, now subject to a new recall.
Elon Musk does have a point, though, given that the previous major Tesla recall (announced last month, affecting over 1.1-million vehicles) was repaired via update and it fixed a flaw of a physical nature – the automatic windows would go up too quickly and potentially pinch occupants’ fingers when closing. Engineers were able to remotely recalibrate the windows and then roll out the update to all affected vehicles without requiring a service visit.
With this new recall, the manufacturer announced that it proceeded to “proactively recall certain Model 3 vehicles manufactured between 2017–2022 to inspect the assembly of the second-row left-hand seat belt buckle and the center seat belt anchor to ensure components are fastened to specification.”
Interestingly, this isn’t a recall prompted by an improperly manufactured part. It is apparently caused by improper reassembly after the vehicle came in to be serviced. No immediate action is required on the part of affected vehicle owners, but they will need to bring their Model 3 in for inspection and possible repairs at some point.
The manufacturer also announced that "servicing certain components of Model 3 vehicles requires disassembly of the second-row left-hand seat belt buckle and center seat belt anchor, both of which are fastened with the same bolt. One or both components may have been incorrectly reassembled during service."
All Tesla stores have already been notified about this recall and owners will begin to receive notification emails starting on December 20. In the recall notice, the manufacturer notes that if owners have paid to have this issue remedied in the past, they may be eligible for reimbursement. No injuries have been reported as a result of this defect.