Tesla is replacing repeater cameras in the front fenders of at least several hundred Model S, X, and 3 vehicles manufactured in Fremont, Calif. even though the company has not issued an official recall. This is according to internal service documents the company distributed in late November, CNBC reports. Internal communications said that the repeater cameras on some Model S, X, and 3 vehicles made by Tesla in the U.S. have faulty PCBs or printed circuit boards inside.
Cameras Could Potentially Fail
A bad PCB could potentially lead to cameras losing “electrical continuity” and failing well before those cameras could be reasonably expected to need a replacement or upgrade. Repeater cameras are typically placed below and in front of the side-view mirrors in the front fenders of some Tesla vehicles, enabling driver-assist features like Autopilot, Navigate on Autopilot, and even Smart Summon.
These cameras also provide drivers with visibility into what is happening around their car’s blind spots. When the repeater cameras fail to work, drivers will see a black box or choppy video feed on their Tesla’s main display. They may also get alerts that their Autopilot function is limited. Drive Tesla, a Canadian blog for Tesla aficionados, reported these repeater camera issues back in December 2020.
Since Tesla has identified an issue with PCBs in the repeater cameras, owners of affected vehicles could be eligible to get a “goodwill” repair, according to Tesla sales managers. This is done at the company’s expense as opposed to a repair where the consumer foots the bill or a warranty agreement that requires Tesla to provide the repair.
CNBC reports that these internal service notices can sometimes precede a voluntary recall. Tesla recently recalled thousands of Model Y crossover utility vehicles manufactured in China and the U.S. because of suspension parts that can break easily increasing the risk of a crash.
The Need for a Recall
As auto defect lawyers, we are extremely concerned that Tesla has not issued a recall yet for these vehicles with defective cameras, but is quietly doing repairs. Recalls serve an important function. They let vehicle owners know that there is a safety issue with their vehicles and that they need to bring them in for a repair right away. This is why federal law requires automakers to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) promptly about auto defects.
A number of automakers delay recalls or even go to great lengths to conceal defects because they don’t want to lose their profits and they definitely don’t want a public relations nightmare. Therefore, many of them end up putting profits over the people who buy their vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured by a safety defect, it is important that you contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.