Tesla seat belt chime issue that will be fixed over-the-air triggers NHTSA recall

Tesla will soon be deploying an over-the-air (OTA) software update to correct an issue with the audible seat belt reminder chime.

The issue has triggered a recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), covering a total of 817,143 vehicles including 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, 2021-2022 Tesla Model S, 2021-2022 Tesla Model X, and 2020-2022 Tesla Model Y.

The NHTSA says the issue is that the chime does not always remind occupants to buckle the seatbelts when starting a new drive.

The error only occurs under some very specific circumstances, which is the likely the reason it has gone undiscovered until now.

“This condition is limited to circumstances where the chime was interrupted in the preceding drive cycle and the seat belt was not buckled subsequent to that interruption (e.g., the driver exited the vehicle in the preceding drive cycle while the chime was active and later returned to the vehicle, creating a new drive cycle).”

However, the chime still works in other important scenarios, like when the car is travelling at a speed greater than 22km/h when the seat belt is unbuckled.

“This condition does not affect the audible seat belt reminder chime from activating when the vehicle exceeds 22 km/h and the driver seat belt is not detected as buckled. The condition also does not affect the reliability and accuracy of the accompanying visual seat belt reminder at any point.”

The issue was first discovered on January 6, 2022 by the South Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI), which then notified Tesla.

Tesla confirmed the issue by January 25, 2022 and voluntarily made a recall determination the same day. Software update 2022.4.5 will correct the issue for existing owners, while new owners taking delivery will need 2021.43.101.1 or later.

Tesla also says they are “not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, crashes, injuries or fatalities related to the condition.”

Here is a copy of the full recall notice.

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