You know what would really suck? If you’re driving your car on a highway or busy street and all of a sudden you lose power steering or you lose steering control all together. Apparently that’s happened to Tesla Model 3 and Model Y drivers on several occasions according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which as launched a probe into the issue. This is just the latest in a string of other NHTSA probes into Tesla over Autopilot safety.
Originally reported by CNBC, NHTSA recently posted a notice on its website that it has received 12 complaints from Tesla Model 3 and Model Y drivers regarding “loss of steering control.” Of the dozen complaints, five of them reported a complete “inability to steer the vehicle,” while the other seven complaints reported a loss of power steering. One complaint even reported a crash as a result of the malfunction.
The complaint which was originally filed on May 4th, 2023 stated that the Tesla’s steering “felt stuck,” and the car “slid off the road which resulted in crashing into a tree.” The complaint said that Tesla’s safety features did not help the car “stay in the lane or brake in an emergency.” We read through all of the complaints and power cycling the vehicle temporarily solved the problem in some instances, but in other instances the owner had to call Tesla support to get the vehicle towed to a service center. In an handful of cases the vehicle was brand new with less than 1,000 miles on the clock.
According to the complaints, there doesn’t seem to be a common cause for the issue. In one complaint, the problem was fixed after the entire steering rack was replaced. In another complaint, a firmware update fixed the issue. While 12 instances seems like a minuscule amount compared to the amount of Tesla’s on the road, the NHTSA is taking the matter seriously and its Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has opened a “preliminary evaluation” (PE) on 2023 Model 3 and 2023 Model Y vehicles, probably because of the scope of Tesla’s sales.
As the name suggests, this evaluation is just an early stage investigation into the issue to see if it is a widespread problem and if there is something happening within Tesla’s manufacturing process that could be causing it. At this time, there is no indication that a full scale recall is coming, but if you own a 2023 Tesla Model 3 or 2023 Model Y and you experience a similar steering problem, we recommend you contact Tesla support and NHTSA right away.
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