Tesla Recalls Nearly 2.2 Million Vehicles for Software Update

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Feb 05, 2024

Elon Musk’s innovative company Tesla is recalling nearly 2.2 million vehicles sold in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed on Friday a safety issue present in nearly all Tesla vehicles produced by the electric car maker.

If you are a Tesla owner, you should keep reading this and discover why you might be returning your Tesla soon.

Why Are Tesla Vehicles Being Recalled? 

In an updated 2023 investigation into the Tesla steering problems, engineering analysis, and other safety issues, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that some warning lights on the instrument panel are too small.

While Tesla driving down a road

Source: Matt Weissinger/Pexels

These lights include the brake, park, and anti-lock brake warning lights. The font size required by federal safety standards makes critical information hard to read and increases the crash risks.


Which Tesla Vehicles Are Being Recalled? 

The agency released documents on Friday revealing that a recall will encompass Tesla vehicles across several models and years: 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, 2019-2024 Model Y, and even the 2024 Cybertruck.

A red Tesla Model S parked on a sidewalk

Source: (Makara Heng/Pexels

The agency says the warning light recall will be done with an online software update. Tesla has already started releasing the software update, with owners being notified by letter on March 30.

The Size of the Lights Are Not the Only Issue

An NHTSA safety audit on January 8 uncovered problems in several Tesla vehicles, not just the small warning lights. Three warranty claims identified potential problems related to this issue, but there are no reports of crashes or injuries.

The dashboard of a Tesla

Source: Vladimir Srajber/Pexels

However, the problem with Tesla’s Autopilot became more well known after the NHTSA started to uncover more complaints.

Tesla’s Autopilot Is Not Up to Snuff

It seems that the NHTSA has been pressuring Tesla to fix several safety issues with their vehicles since December, recommending that the company recall more than 2 million vehicles. Software updates and a defective system when the agency requests to ensure drivers are paying attention when using Autopilot (via Associated Press).

The steering wheel of a Tesla

Source: Vladimir Srajber/Pexels

The documents said the update would increase warnings and alert drivers, helping to lower the currently high chance of crash risks.

Tesla’s Autopilot Is Becoming a Problem

This recall comes after a two-year investigation by NHTSA after a series of crashes caused by Tesla’s Autopilot feature. The feature, which is not a self-driving system, was designed to enhance safety and convenience behind the wheel, yet some deadly crashes still occurred.

A white Tesla parked on the side of a city road

Source: SCREEN POST/Pexels

The agency found that Autopilot’s method of making sure the driver pays attention can be inadequate and lead to  “foreseeable misuse of the system.”


Drivers Are Losing Control

Drivers, according to revealed documents, reported experiencing a loss of steering control, frequently coinciding with messages indicating a reduction or complete disablement of the power-assisted steering system. Others complained of an inability to turn the steering wheel, while others said it required more effort to turn the wheel.

A man in a black hat driving a Tesla

Source: Stephen Leonardi/Pexels

In one case, a driver told NHTSA that they couldn’t complete a right turn, and ran into another vehicle.


The Recall Won’t Fix One of the Biggest Issues

Safety experts say that the recall is a good step, but they do not believe that the underlying problem is that Autopilot won’t fix driver responsibility. For example, the Autopilot isn’t reacting to stopped vehicles.

A man texting while driving a Tesla

Source: (Borys Zaitsev/Pexels

Tesla’s driver monitoring program relies on detecting hands on the steering wheel but doesn’t stop drivers from spacing out.


Why Did This Investigation Happen? 

These investigations came in July 2023 after the agency received a dozen complaints about loss of steering controls in the 2023 Model Y and 3 vehicles. The agency said it has 115 complaints. Following the start of the investigation, a further 2,176 people have filed complaints after seeking information from the company.

Elon Musk speaks onstage during The New York Times Dealbook Summit 2023 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 29, 2023 in New York City.

Source: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times

The steering investigation upgrade, also announced Friday in documents, covers more than 334,000 Tesla vehicles.


These Accidents Often Occurs When Drivers Do This

Many complaints reported that the steering issue happened between 5 mph and 35 mph. However, the highest reported speed alleged that there was an inability to turn at 75 mph. Over 50 vehicles were towed, according to the consumer complaints.

A Cybertruck driving down a mountain road

Source: Stephen Leonardi/Pexels

The agency is looking into possible steering rack failures. Until then, Tesla is recalling most of their vehicles, which could include the car sitting in your driveway.


Exported Teslas Are Also Problematic 

The U.S. isn’t the only country to get a massive Tesla recall. Tesla is recalling over 1.6 million Model S, X, 3, and Y vehicles in China due to issues with Autopilot and door latch controls. The issue is currently allowing door latches to open during a collision.

A red Tesla Model S driving on a side road through moutains

Source: (Automobile Italia/Flickr

According to Forbes, drivers could misuse the automatic steering function, raising the risk of accidents.


The Unlock Logic Control Isn’t Working

The door’s unlock logic control for imported Model S and Model X EVs affects 7,538 vehicles made between October 2022 and November 2023.

Cars parked in front of the Tesla company building

Source: Craig Adderley/Pexels

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation announced the recall in early January, saying Tesla Motors in Beijing and Shanghai would use remote upgrades to fix the problems.