Tesla Expands Warranty to Include Onboard Computers on Some Vehicle Models

Following complaints that the computer units cease to function properly after a certain amount of time on some vehicles, Tesla has expanded the warranties on the Model S and Model X to include the main computer units (MCU).The affected vehicles were manufactured from late 2012 to early 2018, according to a mass email sent out to customers and obtained by some media outlets.

Tesla has offered to reimburse the money that owners of the affected vehicles spent to repair their units. Like most warranties, though, it is limited. Tesla will not reimburse the cost of repairing the MCU on cars that have more than 100,000 miles on them or have been owned for more than eight years. It will also not compensate customers whose warranties are nearing an end or who want to make the fix proactively.

The expanded warranty is likely to be a response to a proposed class action lawsuit filed in the state of California that alleges that Tesla violated state and federal laws regarding fair marketing and sales practices, consumer safety, and vehicle warranties. The full text of the lawsuit can be viewed here.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also currently conducting an investigation into reported issues with the MCU in older Model S vehicles. The investigation reportedly impacts approximately 63,000 vehicles that were manufactured from 2012 to 2015. Tesla does not appear to have issued an official statement on the investigation.

Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured from 2012 to 2018 are likely to contain the MCU-1, which contains Nvidia Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 processors with 4GB or 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory devices that contain a known memory device problem. The MCUs reportedly only functioned properly for a certain number of read/write cycles, after which they began to malfunction with reported blackouts and issues with the touchscreen.

The email denies any allegations that the malfunction impacts the ability to actually drive the impacted vehicle. However, Tesla owners complained on online forums that the units would black out, impacting the users’ ability to use some safety features on the vehicles like the defrost and the backup cameras. The malfunction also seems to impact navigational features and Bluetooth connectivity.

After early 2018, Tesla switched to the MCU-2, which contains an Intel Atom processor with Micron 64Gb storage chips. These units do not yet have any reported issues with the memory.

Tesla plans to send an update with reimbursement details and eligibility by February 2021. Although this is not the first time that there has been a safety issue with Tesla models caused by a manufacturing flaw, the problem with the MCUs has not yet led to an actual recall. This is simply an expansion of the warranty on some Model S and Model X vehicles.