The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating Tesla for potential issues with steering control in 2023 Model 3 and Model Y electric cars.
This investigation, known as a Preliminary Evaluation, is based on 12 complaints that have been received regarding steering problems in these particular vehicles. Out of the 12 complaints, five report difficulties in steering, while seven describe loss of power steering requiring additional effort to steer.
One crash has been associated with the alleged steering issue, but fortunately, no injuries or fatalities have been reported.
In addition to the loss of steering control, the affected vehicles often displayed driver-facing messages indicating reduced or disabled power steering assistance. While no recall has been issued yet, the outcome of this investigation could potentially lead to a recall depending on the findings.
A previous investigation resulted in the recall of over 40,000 Tesla vehicles in 2022. The recall was caused by calibration issues with steering. Tesla resolved the issue through an over-the-air software update, which removed the need for customers to visit service centers.
The new steering probe marks the fourth open NHTSA investigation concerning the 2023 Model Y, as well as the second investigation for the 2023 Model 3.
There’s some overlap in the ongoing investigations, with both the Model Y and the Model 3 being investigated for causing unintended acceleration due to a lack of shift interlocks. The Model Y is also being investigated for complaints of steering wheel detachment.
Earlier this year, federal regulators restricted the capabilities of Tesla’s driver-assist system (known as Full Self Driving Beta) in urban areas. The development was treated as a recall measure.
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