In response to 12 complaints from owners of 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has commenced a preliminary evaluation into potential issues related to steering control and power steering in these popular electric vehicles. The investigation covers approximately 280,000 newly manufactured Tesla cars and aims to determine whether there is an unreasonable safety risk.
One alarming incident reported by a Model 3 driver involved the steering feeling stuck, leading to a collision with a tree. Similarly, a Tesla Model Y owner from Alpharetta, Georgia, recounted an unnerving experience where the steering wheel suddenly became unresponsive, forcing the car dangerously close to oncoming traffic.
As part of the preliminary evaluation, the NHTSA is examining cases like a Tesla Model Y experiencing a sudden and forceful jerking of the steering wheel upon startup. The car's display also warned of “Steering Assist Reduced,” and the driver reported the loss of power steering, expressing concerns about the safety implications.
Tesla, the manufacturer of these electric vehicles, has yet to issue an official statement in response to the NHTSA's investigation.
This preliminary evaluation marks the initial step in assessing the seriousness of the reported steering issues in the Model 3 and Model Y. If the NHTSA deems it necessary, they may upgrade the investigation to an engineering analysis, which could potentially result in a recall of affected vehicles.
Another concerning report came from a driver in Honolulu, who claimed that the steering wheel locked up randomly only a week after purchasing their Tesla. This recurring issue happened multiple times, necessitating a visit to a Tesla service department and an anticipated wait for replacement parts.
Owners who have experienced these steering-related problems are urged to contact the NHTSA to share their concerns and provide additional information for the ongoing investigation.
The safety and reliability of electric vehicles are under increasing scrutiny as they become more prevalent on the roads. This investigation will undoubtedly be closely monitored by both Tesla owners and industry experts alike, with hopes for a swift resolution to any identified safety risks.