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Feds Widen Investigation of Tesla Power Steering Loss

» Posted March 22, 2024Resources | Share This Post

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently expanded its ongoing investigation into reports of Tesla vehicles unexpectedly losing power steering.

The probe now covers roughly 334,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles from the 2023 model year, Reuters reports. NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation said in documents made public that it is aware of nearly 2,400 complaints about the problem.

Some drivers who filed complaints said they were unable to turn their vehicles’ steering wheels, while others said turning required more effort. “These conditions were reported to occur during the drive cycle as well as at start-up,” NHTSA said in documents detailing the investigation. 

NHTSA “is associating one crash to this investigation, where a driver was unable to complete a right-hand turn in the intersection and hit a vehicle,” the agency said. “This vehicle was subject to a joint inspection by ODI and Tesla.”

NHTSA, which launched the investigation in late July 2023, has now escalated the inquiry to an “engineering analysis.” That reportedly moves NHTSA one step closer to requiring Tesla to recall the vehicles.

“The agency's upgraded probe follows a Reuters investigation that found tens of thousands of owners had experienced premature failures of suspension or steering parts since 2016, citing Tesla documents and interviews with customers and former employees,” the news outlet reports. “The Tesla documents showed that the automaker sought to blame drivers for frequent failures of suspension and steering parts it has long known were defective.”

The investigation moves forward as Tesla faces a number of other safety concerns. The company, in recent months, has recalled millions of vehicles in the U.S. and China to update its controversial Autopilot system, which has been linked to crashes.

It has also issued a wide range of other recalls to bring vehicles into compliance with safety standards. Last month, for example, Tesla called back some 2.2 million vehicles because the font size on a warning lights panel was too small.

Know Your California Lemon Law Rights

If you own or lease a car in California, here is what you need to know: You do not need to wait for a recall to get a defective or malfunctioning vehicle fixed. The California lemon law provides you with some valuable rights and protections.

Formally known as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the lemon law forces car manufacturers to perform various repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. The law also requires those companies to buy back vehicles that they cannot or will not fix. That includes covering the purchase price, financing fees and other related expenses.

There is no specific number of repair requests or attempts that must happen before the buyback or replace requirement kicks in. An experienced California lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and take action.

Speak with an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney

If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, an Orange County lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.  

Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with an Orange County lemon law attorney.

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Posted By: Sean S