Tesla has issued a voluntary recall of the Model Y electric crossover because the steering wheels may not be properly fastened, potentially causing them to disconnect from the steering column while driving, which may increase the risk of an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) report, 137 Model Y vehicles made between June 23, 2022, and May 1, 2023, are potentially affected, with Tesla estimating that roughly 10 percent of the EVs actually have the defect, so around 14 cars.
It’s worth noting that this recall addresses a different issue to that underlined by the NHTSA’s investigation in March, which has to do with vehicles that are missing the bolt that holds the steering wheel onto the steering column altogether. The investigation was started after the NHTSA analyzed two reports related to the “complete detachment of the steering wheel from the steering column while driving.”
In this most recent recall, the affected vehicles have the retaining bolt, but it may not be torqued to specification, as explained in the official recall report:
The steering wheel on Model Y vehicles is attached to the steering column using a fastener. Manufacturing and service records suggest that there may be a correlation between certain manufacturing record characteristics and the fastener being installed but not torqued to specification. A fastener not torqued to specification could allow the steering wheel to disconnect from the steering column.
Additionally, Tesla says that it is not aware of any instances of the steering wheel completely detaching from the steering column due to this condition.
The issue was first spotted on May 4 by a service technician who was doing a seat trim repair but noticed a loose feel in the steering wheel. The next day, Tesla’s Field Quality and Factory Quality departments started investigating the service and production records of the Model Y, as well as production records for all Tesla Factories.
On May 22, Tesla filed a voluntary recall with the NHTSA and identified four warranty claims and one field report that are related to or may be related to this issue.
Affected vehicles will be inspected by Tesla Service for proper torque of the fastener that secures the steering wheel to the steering column and if an improperly torqued bolt is found during the inspection, service technicians will install a new fastener and torque it to the correct spec.
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