Software failure triggers mass Tesla recall in USA

Tesla is recalling more than 130,000 cars in the US to fix software faults with the potential to cause an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first flagged the fault to Tesla on 13 January, requesting the firm to issue a recall notice after it was found that the affected models could demonstrate problems with their rear-view and reversing camera displays, indicators and windscreen demister.

Affected cars are the Model S produced from 2012 to 2018 and the Model X from 2016 to 2018 – a total of 134,951 cars. The NHTSA said the fault stems from a centre display memory device, which wears over time to the point that it can no longer “maintain the integrity of the file system, causing a failure in some of the centre display functions”.

It has not yet been confirmed whether Tesla cars in other markets are affected.

Symptoms of the component’s failure include extended power-up times, the display freezing or the screen failing to function at all. Tesla cars running software older than the 2020.48.12 version are susceptible to further problems in this instance, including loss of demisting controls, indicators and digital rear camera.

Owners have been contacted to make them aware of the recall, after an over-the-air fix issued by Tesla was deemed “insufficient” by the NHTSA. The affected component will now be replaced free of charge with an enhanced unit, starting from 30 March.

In a letter to US owners seen by the BBC, Tesla said: “There is no need at this time to contact us as we will notify you when the parts become available.

“We kindly ask that you do not schedule a service appointment unless you receive a vehicle alert signalling memory storage device degradation or are actively experiencing a persistent blank centre display that does not recover after restarting the touchscreen.”

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Drivers who have already paid for repairs will be reimbursed, according to the BBC.

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