Tesla ‘recalls’ 120,000 cars in the US, but it’s another software update

Tesla has “recalled” another 120,000 electric vehicles in the US, but the fix is just another over-the-air software update.

There’s a lot of debate in the Tesla community about whether it’s fair to call those issues “recalls” since the word generally refers to having to physically recall a vehicle to the manufacturer or service center to fix the issue – in Tesla’s case, it is most often fixed with an over-the-air software update.

The media often focuses on Tesla having to “recall” large numbers of vehicles without highlighting that the recall is already fixed through a software update before they or the owners even find out about it.

This is another example. Today, you are going to see a lot of headlines about Tesla having to “recall 120,000 vehicles.”

Here’s the issue according to the NHTSA defect notice:

Tesla, Inc. (Tesla) is recalling certain 2021-2023 Model S and X vehicles. The cabin doors can be unlocked during a crash. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 214, “Side Impact Protection.”

The problem is somewhat serious as it can result in an unlocked door possibly unlatching and opening during a crash, which Tesla notes can “increase the risk of injury.”

But the fix is done through an over-the-air software update:

Tesla has released an over-the-air (OTA) software update, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed by February 17, 2024.

The “recall” affects 120,423 Model S and Model X built in 2022-2023.

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