Tesla recently announced that it would recall 135,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs because the vehicles’ large center screen has been prone to malfunction. Seemingly, this was not a volunteer recall — the electric vehicle manufacturer previously objected to requests to initiate a recall because the malfunction was not a safety issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) disagreed, pointing out that the malfunctioning screen left owners without a display for the vehicles’ backup camera. The screen also operated the vehicles’ window defogger and defroster.
“We note that your report states that Tesla believes that this matter does not have a safety risk,” read the letter, signed by Alex Ansley, chief of NHTSA’s Recall Management Division. “In our view, this statement has no force or effect in terms of Tesla’s obligation to undertake and complete the recall, and NHTSA does not agree with it.”
Tesla has not only resisted the recall, but the manufacturer had also charged customers for repairing or updating the screens brought in before the recall was announced. Owners will now get free repairs of the chip and a discount if the owner upgrades the screen software.
The recall will begin March 30, 2021, at which time the dealers will replace the computer chip that controls the screen. The recall does not apply to all models, but some Model S’s from 2012 to 2018 and Model X’s from 2016 to 2018. The NHTSA also requires Tesla to keep them updated on how the recall progresses.