NHTSA opens probe into Tesla Model 3/Y steering control issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened another investigation into Tesla, this time for possible steering control issues in recently built Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

According to the NHTSA, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) was launched last month after receiving 12 complaints from owners of 2023 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. The issues include both loss of steering control as well as loss of power steering. One of the complaints alleged the issues caused them to crash their Model 3 into a tree. Another complaint alleges the steering wheel in their two-week old Model Y “did not steer. It was hard and saw the alert. Went to very close to opposite side of traffic and some how made it to across the road inside the shopping center.” (via Reuters)

One complainant reports that Tesla is aware of the issue, and their car has been with Service since early May waiting for backordered parts to possibly replace the entire steering rack.

The investigation covers up to 280,000 vehicles and is currently in a preliminary stage to substantiate the claims. If issues are found it could lead to an engineering analysis, the final step before initiating a recall.

This is the same procedure the NHTSA has followed for other investigations into Tesla. Last year the agency launched a preliminary investigation into reports of Tesla vehicles crashing into parked emergency vehicles while on Autopilot. That investigation was later upgraded into an engineering analysis, which is still ongoing. The NHTSA is also looking into reports of steering wheel detachments in the Model Y.

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