Mena Massoud, the star of Disney’s live-action film, “Aladdin,” has filed a lawsuit against Tesla alleging that a faulty suspension caused his wheel to come off, sending his Model 3 out of control the day after he bought it and causing a serious car accident. According to Business Insider, Massoud says he was changing lanes on Hollywood Boulevard when the car spun out of control and crashed into a tree. The lawsuit states that his insurance company, Geico, determined that the issue was with the Tesla Model 3 and not Mena. Massoud is suing Tesla, alleging negligence and breach of warranty, among other issues.
Suspension issues are not new to Tesla vehicles. On the Internet, an incident like Mena’s is known as the “whompy wheel,” and it has become part of Tesla lore. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s site has a number of anonymous complaints about broken Tesla suspensions and there are sites dedicated to this issue.
History of Suspension Problems
Tesla has issued multiple technical service bulletins warning mechanics about suspension issues with its Model S and Model X cars. However, the automaker has never issued a recall for this problem, which it knew has existed for several years now. One of the bulletins warned that some Model S and X vehicles may have been manufactured with front suspension fore links that may not meet Tesla strength specifications.
Jason Levine, director of the Center for Auto Safety, tells Business Insider that Tesla is not issuing a recall when it is supposed to. An automaker is supposed to issue a recall under the law when a vehicle violates federal motor safety standards or when there is a significant defect. However, in this case, Tesla is not doing that. Levine says Tesla is not the only automaker that’s trying to avoid a recall. He says: “There is a long, sad tradition of car companies doing this.”
Business Insider also looked at internal documents where Tesla engineers have been tracking suspension issues in the Model S since at least 2013 and later tracked similar problems in the Model X. But, instead of issuing a recall on potentially defective suspensions, Tesla has been releasing technical service bulletins. A former Tesla employee also told Business Insider that Tesla asked customers who experienced suspension failures to sign nondisclosure agreements in exchange for new cars back in 2016.
Tesla has stood by their vehicles and has continued to maintain there is no problem with the suspensions. As auto defect attorneys, we are deeply concerned about Tesla and automakers playing fast and loose with the rules and managing to dodge recalls where they are required to issue them. In Massoud’s case, Tesla blamed the driver saying he caused the crash. We hope this lawsuit exposes the truth about Tesla’s transmission issues. These serious auto defects could result in major injuries or even fatalities.