Tesla has issued a recall for more than 321,000 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles over taillights that may fail to illuminate.

The company notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it is recalling certain 2023 Model 3 cars built between October 19 and November 5, 2022, and 2020-2023 Model Y crossovers built between May 24, 2020 and November 9, 2022. On affected vehicles, one or both taillights may intermittently fail to illuminate.

In the safety recall report, Tesla noted that the number of potentially involved vehicles is 321,628, with affected vehicles having been identified based on vehicle manufacturing, configuration and firmware records. The company estimates that less than 1 percent of vehicles on the road in the United States have the defect.

"In rare instances, taillamps on one or both sides of affected vehicles may intermittently illuminate due to a firmware anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake up process. Brake lamps, backup lamps and turn signal lamps are not affected by this condition and continue to operate as designed."

Gallery: 2022 Tesla Model 3

It goes without saying that a taillamp that fails to illuminate may result in reduced visibility in dark conditions, increasing the risk of a crash both for affected Tesla vehicles and other vehicles approaching from behind. 

The good news for owners of affected vehicles is that they don't have to bring them in to a workshop for repairs, as Tesla says the remedy is an over-the-air (OTA) software update that corrects the firmware anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake up process. The remedy will ensure that all taillamps operate as designed, Tesla notes in the safety recall report.

Starting November 6, 2022, vehicles in production or in pre-delivery containment received the latest firmware that corrects the problem. Interestingly, Tesla says it received customer complaints primarily from foreign markets that claimed vehicle taillamps were not illuminating.

This is the latest in a long line of Tesla recalls for which the remedy is an over-the-air (OTA) software update. In September, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the NHTSA should evolve with the times and stop calling these OTA software updates "recalls" since they are not actually physical recalls. The NHTSA states that manufacturers are required to initiate recalls for any repair, including software updates.

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