The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into reports that the steering wheels of Tesla’s Model X SUVs can come loose and even detach while the vehicle is in motion.
The agency announced the probe after receiving 43 complaints from owners of Model X SUVs, manufactured between 2016 and 2018. According to the complaints, the steering wheel assembly can suddenly become disconnected from the steering column, causing drivers to lose control of the vehicle.
Some of the complaints allege that the problem occurred while the vehicle was in motion, which could result in a serious accident. Others report that the issue was discovered during routine maintenance, such as tire rotations.
The NHTSA has not yet issued a recall for the Model X SUVs, but it is investigating the issue to determine whether a recall is necessary. The agency has stated that it will work with Tesla to gather information about the issue and to determine the cause.
In response to the investigation, Tesla issued a statement saying that it has not found any defects with the Model X SUVs’ steering wheels and that it believes the incidents reported to the NHTSA were isolated incidents. The company also stated that it will cooperate fully with the NHTSA’s investigation.
This is not the first time that Tesla has faced scrutiny from regulators over safety issues. The company has been under investigation by the NHTSA for several years over reports of sudden acceleration and fires in its vehicles. In 2020, the agency opened an investigation into the touchscreen displays in certain Tesla models, which were reported to be prone to failure.
Tesla has also faced criticism from consumer groups over its Autopilot system, which allows the vehicle to partially drive itself. Critics argue that the system is not safe and can be easily confused by certain road conditions, leading to accidents.
The investigation into the Model X SUVs’ steering wheels is another blow to Tesla’s reputation for safety and reliability. The company has built a loyal fanbase around its electric vehicles and its innovative technology, but incidents like these could erode that trust and lead to decreased sales and profits.
It is important for Tesla to take these issues seriously and to work with regulators to address any safety concerns. The company’s reputation for innovation and forward-thinking technology could be damaged if it does not take steps to ensure the safety and reliability of its vehicles.
In conclusion, the NHTSA’s investigation into the Model X SUVs’ steering wheels is a cause for concern for Tesla and its customers. The safety of Tesla’s vehicles is crucial to maintaining consumer trust and loyalty, and incidents like these can have a significant impact on the company’s reputation and bottom line. Tesla should work closely with regulators to investigate and address any safety concerns and take steps to ensure the safety and reliability of its vehicles.