Tesla Recalls Nearly 2 Million Vehicles Over Autopilot Software Defect: Details

Kori Williams - Author

Dec. 13 2023, Updated 11:38 a.m. ET

There are plenty of Tesla fans out there who have been hoping to get behind the wheel of these electric cars for years. Of course, the brand does have its naysayers, but there are plenty of people who love and drive these vehicles with no issue.

However, things aren't going so well with the brand. So far in 2023, Tesla has issued multiple recalls. Here's why and what we know about them.

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How many recalls has Tesla had in 2023?

According to Cars.com, Tesla has had at least 10 recalls in 2023 for various makes and models, including recalls on steering wheels, sensing system cameras, seatbelts, front suspensions, and more.

On Dec. 13, 2023, Tesla is recalling nearly 2 million cars in the U.S. to add Autopilot safeguards and update software, reports CNN. The recall arrives following a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into crashes that occurred while the Autopilot system was at least partially in use.

The NHTSA argues that the Autopilot system gives drivers a "false sense of security" and the recall intends to ensure drivers who have Autopilot on are still paying attention to the road. According to CNN, following the recall, Teslas with Autosteer turned on will check a driver's attention level, even potentially disengaging Autosteer if the driver isn't being attentive enough.

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On Nov. 2, 2023, Tesla recalled 2021-2023 Model S and Model X vehicles for an incorrect air bag installation behind the steering wheel. Previously, in October, 2021-2023 Model X vehicles were recalled due to a lack of warning light for low break fluid. Before that, in July 2023, there were two recalls. First, Tesla recalled only 2023 Model Model S, Model X, and Model Y vehicles due to "misalignment" of the front camera, potentially disabling safety features without alerting the driver.

Then, Tesla recalled 2021-2023 Model S and Model X vehicle with front seat belts that weren't connected properly.

On June 18, 2023, Tesla recalled 2023 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for potentially defective pyrotechnic batteries. On May 29, 2023, certain 2022-2023 Model Y vehicles were recalled for a loose steering wheel fastener.

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On April 4, 2023, the NHTSA issued a recall to Tesla because of an issue with its software. These cars had a full self-driving computer that operated on particular software. This resulted in "weak camera signal strength" that may have prevented the driver from seeing any images from the rearview camera.

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On Feb. 26, 2023, another recall was issued because of loose bolts that were used on certain Model Y cars. More specifically, these bolts were used in the frames of the back seat row. This makes it even more dangerous for people sitting if there were an accident.

On Feb. 14, 2023, the NHTSA issued a recall against Teslas with Full Self-Driving Beta software.

Reportedly, this software made driving unsafe because it "may allow the vehicle to act unsafe around intersections" meaning that a driver could more easily drive into an intersection when it's unsafe to do so.

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Tesla is one of the most recalled car brands.

Autoweek reports that Tesla is the most recalled car brand by far. In 2022, there were more than 400 recalls issued by the NHTSA. iSeeCars took this a step further and estimated how many recalls Tesla may have to look forward to by using the last 10 years' worth of data.

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With this data, iSeeCars made a list of the top five cars with the most recalls and Teslas took four out of five of those spots. The Model Y is at the very top with an estimated 64 recalls over the course of a 30-year lifespan.

In May 2023, Elon responded to a tweet about a recall. Here, Bloomberg tweeted that Tesla will have to make repairs to all the cars it's sold in China. Another user retweeted this with a notice under it titled "Readers added context." Here, it stated that users have said the article was "misleading" because the recall was over software and not a physical part of the car.

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On the same day, Tesla founder Elon Musk responded to this tweet saying: "When will they learn … sigh." Other than this, Elon hasn't said much publicly about his car company having so many recalls.

This article, initially published on June 5, 2023, has been updated.

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