Tesla Frunk Lid Recall in Europe Relates to the American One But With Different Causes

Tesla Model S and Model 3 are involved in frunk lid recall in Europe 14 photos
Photo: Tesla
Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model 3Tesla Model S PlaidTesla Model S PlaidTesla Model S PlaidTesla Model S and Model 3 are involved in frunk lid recall in Europe
After we wrote about a frunk lid recall in Europe affecting not only the Tesla Model S but also the Model 3, some readers rightfully said we were probably in front of two different recalls. After all, they had diverse reasons to happen, even if they involved the same component. Well, the EC (European Commission) told us they are the same thing, both related to the misaligned latch recall.
Tesla informed the EC about the problem on January 4, a few days after it warned the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) about the frunk lid issue in the U.S. In that country, it was necessary because of a latch misalignment.

According to the Part 573 Safety Recall Report 21V-00B, the secondary frunk latch, positioned at the back of the front striker, could be “aligned too far rearward.” If the primary frunk latch were “inadvertently released,” the secondary frunk latch would not be able to hold the frunk lid in place, allowing it to open at highway speeds.

Tesla said it had four warranty claims and three field reports about the issue by December 20, 2021. In other words, seven cases. Considering the problem affects vehicles made from 2014 until 2021, they should have emerged earlier if they were related only to the secondary latch misalignment. The EV maker did not disclose precisely when the first of these situations was reported. The company also did not mention any physical problem with the latches.

In Europe, Tesla told consumer protection authorities that the air inlet between the front grille and frunk lid caused vibrations that led to stress fractures. In other words, the frunk striker could break, letting the lid loose and prone to opening. That’s very different from a latch that is not able to hold a striker because of an assembly mistake: it is either a design or manufacturing error aggravated by insufficient testing. Curiously, the Model 3 would also be subject to that, and it was Tesla itself who told European authorities about the problem.

The defect chronology disclosed in the Part 573 Safety Recall Report 21V-00B may offer us some clues. Everything started in January 2021, when the Field Quality Team started investigating a 2018 Model S “whose frunk opened while in Drive.” This could have been the first case, but Tesla also said that customers complained about the issue, so we have no idea when everything started.

From this case the company reported, we can see that the vehicle was at least three years old. Again, if the misaligned secondary latch was the main problem, it should have emerged months after the purchase, not three years later.

Tesla has investigated the issue from April until December to determine the “root cause.” What if the investigation continued and the company discovered the assembly problem was not what made the frunk lid open?

One thing is for sure: there’s no reason for the issue to be provoked by something in the U.S. and something else entirely in Europe. If that was not enough, things got even more mysterious: the alert A12/00582/22 that revealed the issue is no longer online at Safety Gate or Rappel Conso. We asked the EC why they took it down but got no reply until publishing this article.

Considering the European authorities did not investigate that, and neither has NHTSA, the only explanation we could get for the issue would be from Tesla or a customer that decided to grab the bull by the horns. Officially, this is the same recall, even if it has two different causes and affects the Model 3 in Europe and not in the U.S. We’re sorry we cannot offer you a final explanation at this point, but rest assured we’ll keep asking.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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