Tesla Model Y steering wheels fall off, USA launch probe
When Patel wrote that he had lost confidence in Tesla and asked for a refund, the service center removed the charge and wrote that Tesla had no right of return but that he could contact the sales and delivery team.
Patel later had the option of keeping the car or replacing it with a new one, he said, and Patel chose to do it.
Patel said he’s a fan of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and has invested a large portion of his life savings in the stock, which fell 3 percent on Wednesday.
“My kids were a little scared driving a rental Tesla and as parents we can restore their confidence,” Patel said. “My family is fine now and I hope Tesla will investigate and improve their (quality control) so that no other family experiences what we experienced.”
Dismantled steering wheels are rare in the auto industry, but not unprecedented. In February, Nissan recalled about 1,000 Ariya electric vehicles because the wheels could come off the steering column due to a loose bolt.
But the latest NHTSA investigation adds to a long line of problems Tesla has with US Highway Safety Administration. Over the past three years, it has launched investigations into Tesla’s “Autopilot” driver assistance system, which collides with parked emergency vehicles and suspension issues. At least 14 Teslas crashed into emergency vehicles with the autopilot system.
On Wednesday, the same day the report of problematic Tesla steering wheels aired, US safety officials said a Tesla that crashed into a fire truck in California last month killed the driver and injured a passenger and four firefighters , is suspected of operating one of the company’s automated driving systems.
In February, the NHTSA pressured Tesla to recall nearly 363,000 vehicles with “Full Self-Driving” software because the system can violate traffic rules. The system, which cannot drive itself, will be tested on public roads by up to 400,000 Tesla owners. However, NHTSA said in documents it can perform unsafe actions, such as For example, driving straight through an intersection while in a turning lane, driving through a yellow light without due caution, or failing to respond to changes in posted speed limits.
The US Department of Justice has also asked Tesla for documents from Tesla on “Full Self-Driving” and Autopilot.
The agency is also investigating complaints that Teslas can suddenly brake for no reason.
NHTSA has dispatched investigators to 35 Tesla crashes suspected to have used automated systems. Nineteen people have died in these accidents, including two motorcyclists.
Since January 2022, Tesla has issued 20 recalls, including several requested by NHTSA. The recalls include one last January for “full self-driving” vehicles programmed to drive through stop signs at slow speeds.
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