Tesla Recalls 9,500 Vehicles With Possible Roof, Bolt Issues

Tesla has recalled slightly over 9,500 Model X and Model Y electric vehicles with potential manufacturing-related issues. The recall impacts 9,136 Model X cars produced between Sept. 17, 2015 and July 31, 2016, that may have an issue with the roof trim. 401 Model Y with possible issues with improperly tightened bolts have also been recalled.

This news comes almost immediately after a lawsuit filed by owners of Model X and Model Y vehicles alleging that Tesla has been actively trying to cover up issues with the suspension. The suspension issue has triggered a voluntary recall of Model X and Model Y vehicles in China. Tesla has also extended the warranty on some vehicles to cover issues with the onboard computer that could impact owners’ ability to control some features.

The recall of the affected 2020 Model Y vehicles came to light in an available communication to Tesla from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA letter expresses concern that the loose bolt in the front upper control arm and steering knuckle might detach entirely, which can degrade the driver’s ability to control the vehicle.

“A detached upper control arm can cause the wheels to lean in or out, decreasing the driver’s ability to steer and increase the risk of a crash,” the NHTSA said.

Tesla has said that it is unaware of any crashes that have occurred due to the loose bolt. However, the lawsuit over the allegedly faulty suspension claims that the company has been too dismissive of safety concerns, required owners to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to fix the issue, and even attempted to blame the suspension issue on abuse by the owners.

Tesla technicians have discovered separated upper control arms in at least three electric vehicles while conducting routine maintenance. The recall will inspect the affected parts for proper torque and adjust as necessary.

The Model X recall covers front and side cosmetic roof trim that can come off while the owner is driving. According to NHTSA documentation, the administration first became aware of the issue due to a 2016 incident in which a Tesla vehicle’s roof trim came off, potentially causing a safety hazard for other drivers on the road. It opened an investigation into the root cause of the issue.

The issue turned out to be improperly applied primer for the trim. Tesla’s technicians will inspect the recalled Model X vehicles and apply primer as needed to fix the problem.

These safety issues have caused Tesla’s stock to temporarily dip during Wednesday trading before closing up 1%. Investors may worry that the safety issues, which were also a factor in Consumer Reports’ downgrading of some Tesla models in its annual Auto Reliability Survey, might hurt sales figures and profitability.

The good news for Tesla owners is that the recalls in the United States and China won’t necessarily require them to send their electric vehicles back to the factory where they were made. They may simply be able to take their vehicles to their local Tesla technicians to fix the issue. This will make the recalls slightly less expensive for Tesla and less time-consuming for owners.