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NHTSA Upgrades Probe Into Tesla Power Steering Loss *Centurion Insurance AFS*

Feb 02, 2024 (0) comment , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. safety regulators have upgraded their probe into Tesla vehicles over power steering loss to an engineering analysis – a required step before the agency could demand a potential recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)said on Friday the investigation covers about 334,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles from the 2023 model year.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NHTSA, which had opened a preliminary evaluation in July into loss of steering control in 280,000 Tesla Model 3 and Y vehicles, said it had identified 2,388 total complaints, with some reporting an inability to turn the steering wheel, while others reported an increase in required effort to turn the steering wheel.

Reuters reported in December that tens of thousands of Tesla owners who have experienced premature failures of suspension or steering parts over at least seven years, citing thousands of Tesla documents.

NHTSA said it is aware of over 50 vehicles allegedly towed as a result of the condition.

“A portion of drivers described their steering begin to feel ‘notchy’ or ‘clicky’ either prior to or just after the incident,” NHTSA said.

The agency said it was associating one crash to the investigation where a driver was unable to complete a right hand turn at an intersection and hit a vehicle. That vehicle was subject to a joint Tesla NHTSA inspection.

The move comes on the same day Tesla said it was recalling 2.2 million electric vehicles – nearly all its US units – due to incorrect font sizes on warning lights that increase the risk of a crash. No crashes or injuries have been reported.

Tesla began releasing an over-the-air software update on Jan. 23, free of charge, to fix the issue, the regulator said. The software update will increase the font size of the visual warning indicators for the brake, park and antilock brake system (ABS).

Just two months ago, Tesla recalled 2.03 million vehicles in the United States to install new safeguards in its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system. Consumer Reports has said the new Tesla safeguards are insufficient.

“We’re in the process of evaluating the remedy,” Acting NHTSA Administrator Sophie Shulman told Reuters last month, noting the review includes NHTSA’s test center in Ohio.

Tesla has been under scrutiny for its autonomous driving aid that is intended to enable cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within their lane.

The latest recall includes vehicles across Tesla’s various models, including the Model S, Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, Model Y, and 2024 Cybertruck vehicles, the NHTSA said.

Tesla’s Cybertruck started receiving a software update to fix the issue for the units in production, the report added.

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