Tesla Begins Sending Out Takata Airbag Recall Notices To Model S Owners


2012 Tesla model S

2012 Tesla model S

Given the widening scope of the industry-wide Takata saftety scandal, Tesla is now sending out recall notices for faulty Takata airbags to owners of 2012 Model Year Model S sedans.   Overall, some 40 million vehicles are being recalled in the US.

It's recall time

It’s recall time for 2012 Tesla Model S EVs to get those airbags swapped out.

The root of the problem shows itself over time, as high temperatures and moisture “contribute to the degradation of the ammonium nitrate propellant in the inflators”, which can cause it too burn too quickly and rupture the inflator module, which can then send shrapnel into occupants.

The recall notice has been reproduced in its entirety below (of note is that only 2012s are being recalled right now, but eventually all Model S EVs produced prior to later 2016 will be recalled in the future – see bolded content below):

As part of a recent expansion of the industry-wide recall of Takata airbag inflators, the passenger airbags in certain 2012 Model S vehicles are now affected by the recall, and Tesla will be replacing them. Although the Takata recall currently only applies to 2012 Model S vehicles located in regions of the United States designated as high humidity, Tesla will replace the passenger airbags in all 2012 Model S vehicles globally. The safety of our customers is paramount and Tesla is taking this action even though there have been no airbag ruptures or other related incidents in any of its vehicles.

If you own a 2012 Model S vehicle, Tesla will contact you to schedule your replacement service. At this time there is no immediate action that you need to take.

As with the tens of millions of other vehicles with Takata airbags, this recall is taking place according to the schedule determined by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tesla intends to follow the same schedule for replacements in other countries as well – even where local regulators have not required a recall. This schedule ensures that customers will have sufficient time to replace recalled airbags before they present a risk to safety, due to the fact that the inflators only become defective based on a number of different factors, including their age.

Although the current recall only applies to 2012 Model S vehicles, the passenger airbags of all Model S vehicles produced through late 2016 are expected to eventually be recalled. If you own a Model S produced between 2013 and 2016, your airbags are safe, and you do not need to take any action until you receive further notice from Tesla. As noted by NHTSA, customers do not need to be concerned about Takata inflators before they receive a recall notice. Nevertheless, for convenience and peace of mind, Tesla will make every effort to proactively replace the airbags of all affected vehicles even before they are recalled. This will be performed as parts supply allows, and at this time you do not need to take any action.

The recalls will not affect any Tesla vehicles currently being produced, Model S vehicles that were produced after late 2016, or any Tesla Roadster or Model X vehicles. These vehicles do not have the type of airbag inflator that is subject to the recall.

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 (877) 798‑3752 or by email at ServiceHelpNA@tesla.com.

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15 Comments on "Tesla Begins Sending Out Takata Airbag Recall Notices To Model S Owners"

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As if the waits at Tesla service centers weren’t long enough already. What happens when 50,000 people need airbags replaced?

This might be something a Tesla Ranger could do at your home…

Hopefully it’s a quick fix. I don’t know what’s involved in replacing an airbag.

(I set up a joke there if someone wants to take it 🙂 )

I expected at least a Trump joke… sigh 🙂

That would require some really jacked up hair.

They only needed my Honda Fit EV for about a half hour once the parts were available.

…not gonna touch the joke, sorry.

It’s possible, but airbags are kind of touchy products, given they have explosives in them. I would be very surprised to hear that they would replace them outside of a service facility.

More likely they will do what Honda did with my Fit EV– when my VIN came up in their system they gave me a rental car and had me deliver the car to the dealer. It was a half-hour repair once the parts were available.

This is complicated by the fact that the replaceable unit is typically custom to the car– the actual inflator hardware is integrated into a service-replaceable unit that is specified by the manufacturer– so they have to actually manufacture new units with different inflators in order to meet demand.

This is why it took up to 3 months for them to replace the one in my Honda, and probably why they are staging the recall in the way they are.

There are only a small handful of stores with any kind of wait time at all.

Thats why they are just doing 2012s right now.

The degradation of the bags from propellant was known for some time. What was unknown, was when the inevitable recalls would be issued.

Replacements will be preemptively staged, as the device ages. Quite reasonable, given the circumstance.

This is one bigass cluster F _ _ K.

Luckily, Tesla has an advantage over every other car maker who is dealing with Takata airbag recalls. Tesla’s first version of Autopilot/collision avoidance cut airbag deployments by 40%. Their rollout of their new system will likely do even better.


Fewer accidents, fewer airbag deployments, fewer chances of having a bad Takata airbag fail. Tesla is way better off than the long, long list of other car makers dealing with this same issue, that have much older cars on the road with older Takata airbags.