Tesla Recalls 53,000 Model S & X For Faulty Parking Brake


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?

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.


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19 Comments on "Tesla Recalls 53,000 Model S & X For Faulty Parking Brake"

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Brembo has been having quality issues in the brakes they supply to sports car and endurance racing too. What is going on with Brembo? Are they transitioning their manufacturing to China and screwing it up or something?

The last set of Brembo brake rotors that I purchased and installed 7 years ago were made in China. I was surprised. My fault for not checking first. I won’t make that mistake again.

Ah – so your true colours are revealed at last.

Have you ever looked at the back of an iPhone, arguably the best smart phone on the market and the market leader for many years (so, undeniably a ‘good product’)? What does it say, right down there at the bottom…?

Parking brake is the only thing which keeps EV not rolling when P engaged. Means the car is not really usable without it. My November 2014 Model S had both faulty parking brakes recently, brakes not releasing.

Maybe for the Tesla. But the Nissan LEAF has a driveline parking lock (pawl/spline) and it feels like the Bolt does too.

“Parking brake is the only thing which keeps EV not rolling when P engaged. Means the car is not really usable without it”.


From what I have read, there is no parking pawl in the Model S or X.

Is the manufacturer of the parking brake responsible for the cost of replacement and installation of new parking brake.

I don’t know, but that is the sort of thing which ought to be specified in the contract between supplier and manufacturer.

I really like the way Tesla does it. Put the car in Park and the parking brake engage. Put it in Drive and the parking brake disengages. Other cars, you put it in park on a slight slop and the car rolls.

I think Brembo has a factory in Michigan that could supply Tesla. My Ford Focus Brembo’s were made in China.

Completely confused. Why wouldn’t you use the hand brake in a ‘normal’ auto car to stop it rolling?

What, no “over the air” fix?

“You might get stuck in park”

On my Model S the electric brake will only work if the car is in neutral.The electric brake can’t be engaged in park—-strange but true.

So you won’t get stuck in park.

I think Tesla’s statement suggests the electric brake gets stuck.

Ahh, I ‘recall’ the times when Elon/Tesla used to argue about the semantics of what “recall” actually meant. How much they’ve grown up before our eyes. 😀


My Volt parking brake will auto disengage when I start driving even with it on.

So, it sounds like the disengaging part isn’t working.


Is it even good to do that?

My new Bolt ev sets the parking brake all the time automatically on what the car thinks is the slightest incline. But, in my old Roadster, I rarely used the parking brake, using the parking pawl instead.

I guess Mr. Musk cannot say any longer, “We don’t do recalls”. So apparently this parking brake issue is not a software correctable problem.

“Do drivers even use parking brakes these days?”

Honestly, unless I am parking on hill, I don’t.