Tesla Inc. is recalling 15,000 Model X SUVs because of a potential problem that could result in loss of power steering assist. According to a Reuters news report, this could make steering harder and potentially increase the risk of a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada said aluminum bolts that attach the electric power steering gear assist motor to the gear housing might corrode and break causing a reduction or complete loss of power steering assist.
Details of the Recall
This recall affects the 2016 model year X vehicles. Tesla has said the vehicles that are being recalled include most Model X vehicles built before mid-October 2016, but the move does not affect vehicles built after that date. Tesla issued a similar recall in March 2018 for 123,000 Model S vehicles built before April 2016 that called for replacing steering assist motor bolts. NHTSA has said there have been no known car accidents or injuries linked to this Model X recall. Tesla will arrange for the replacement of mounting bolts and will also replace the steering gear if necessary.
The automaker has said it has observed excessive corrosion on the bolts that attach this component to the steering gear in affected Model X vehicles and this is mainly in cold areas that use road salts. Tesla said if the bolts fail, it would require much more force to turn the steering wheel, especially at low speed. The automaker also said drivers could continue to operate their Model X SUVs. Tesla will contact owners to schedule appointments as parts become available.
Dangers of Steering Defects
Each year, tens of thousands of vehicles are recalled for potential issues with the steering or the power steering. When a motorist is not able to steer the vehicle as desired or when there is a problem with a power steering that makes it difficult to turn the wheel, the consequences could be devastating. Loss of steering ability can result in injuries not just to vehicle occupants, but also to pedestrians and others on the roadway.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, it is important that you understand your rights. If you have been involved in a crash where an auto defect or mechanical malfunction is suspected, it is crucial that the vehicle is preserved intact so an expert can examine it thoroughly for evidence of defects, malfunctions and design flaws. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise victims and families about their legal rights and options.