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Tesla given until July to produce details on power steering loss complaints

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has asked Tesla to provide more information regarding complaints of loss of power steering in 2023 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

ODI has requested Tesla provide details on how it identifies potential defects and how it creates solutions for them. The office also wants to know if Tesla has made any changes to its power steering components, or plans to in the next four months.

In July 2023, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation after receiving 12 reports of steering control loss from vehicle owners.

ODI interviewed complainants, sent an information request letter to Tesla, and convened technical meetings with the OEM that included a joint inspection of a crashed vehicle, NHTSA said.

The investigation identified 2,388 complaints regarding the alleged defect. ODI, as of Feb. 1, associates one crash to steering issues in which a driver hit a vehicle because they weren’t able to turn right into an intersection.

Complainants allege the inability to turn the steering wheel or an increase in effort to turn the steering wheel both during the drive cycle and at startup.

One-third of complaints occurred at vehicle startup or speeds less than 5 mph. The majority of steering loss was reported between 5 and 35 mph with 1 in 10 occurring on open roads at speeds of 35 mph and over. The highest reported speed of an alleged inability to turn the steering wheel is 75 mph.

There have been multiple allegations of drivers blocking intersections and/or roadways, and more than 50 vehicles were allegedly towed as a result of steering issues, according to ODI.

Multiple complainants state they were able to temporarily remedy the condition by power cycling the vehicle, but the issue reoccurred until the steering rack was replaced.

NHTSA has given Tesla until July 24 to respond to its information requests.


Featured image credit: Mykola Pokhodzhay/iStock

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