Tesla is issuing a recall for select Model S and Model X vehicles, citing a mix-up in the installation of airbags during steering wheel replacements. The electric carmaker revealed that some vehicles with the yoke steering wheel may have been equipped with airbags designed for the round steering wheel, and vice versa. The recall, affecting 159 vehicles, raises concerns about potential safety risks associated with decreased airbag performance.
According to the recall notice, the issue arose during service center visits when certain Model S and Model X vehicles had the yoke steering wheel replaced with the round steering wheel, and vice versa. Tesla points to service operators who may have inadvertently installed the alternative steering wheel with an incorrect driver airbag, leading to the safety concern.
The affected vehicles include select 2021-2023 Model S sedans manufactured between February 3, 2021, and September 21, 2023, as well as 2021-2023 Model X crossovers assembled from July 14, 2021, to September 29, 2023. Tesla emphasizes that the mix-up was discovered after Tesla Service in Europe reported 12 cases of incorrect airbags in retrofitted round steering wheels on October 9. An engineering study extended to the U.S. on October 16 revealed that one vehicle had received the wrong airbag out of the 10 inspected. Fortunately, no injuries or deaths related to the issue have been reported.
Owners of the affected vehicles will receive notifications around January 2, and Tesla will conduct inspections to identify and replace incorrect driver airbags. This recall follows a separate one issued approximately three months ago, involving 15,689 units of the 2021-2023 Model S and Model X vehicles in the U.S., due to potential issues with faulty seatbelt pretensioners.