Tesla Recalls 826 Model Y Units for Suspension Knuckle Fractures

Tesla Model Y will have recall to replace defective suspension knuckles 9 photos
Photo: Public domain/NHTSA
Broken Tesla SuspensionBroken Tesla SuspensionReddit User Shares Tesla Email With Recall InformationReddit User Shares Tesla Email With Recall InformationReddit User Shares Tesla Email With Recall InformationBroken Tesla SuspensionBroken Tesla SuspensionTesla Model Y Will Have Recall to Replace Defective Suspension Knuckles
Keith Leech coined the expression Whompy Wheels after realizing multiple Tesla vehicles in junkyards presented suspension issues that were not compatible with the crashes that put them there. Other situations made it clear that the suspension is an Achilles’ heel in the American brand. A new recall involving the Model Y gives us an idea about what is wrong and who Tesla’s supplier is: Ningbo Tuopu.
That’s what the company told NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in the Part 573 Safety Recall Report about the new suspension issue. According to the document, 826 units of the Tesla Model Y may present weak suspension knuckles. That condition may lead these knuckles to deform or fracture.

Tesla warns that if the deformation or fracture is enough for the knuckles to separate from the suspension links, “the wheel alignment could shift and cause instability, which may adversely impact vehicle controllability and increase the risk of a collision.” Curiously, front suspension links were the cause for another Tesla recall back in October that involved 2,791 Model 3 and Model Y units.

Tesla said it believes only about 1% of these 826 Model Ys to be affected by the problem. The company will determine that by checking the front and rear knuckles in the potentially affected vehicles. If they present the issue, Tesla will replace the components with properly built ones.

The cause for the deformation and fractures would be an issue with the thermal treatment of the knuckles. According to Tesla, Ningbo Tuopu would not have enough quench tank fluid for the parts to be fully quenched, resulting in weaker components. This may be what caused multiple other cases of suspension failure in Tesla vehicles, such as when a Swiss driver saw that happen at 200 kph (124 mph) in an Autobahn.

Ironically, the suspension supplier may be one of the few cases in which Tesla does not produce the components on its own. At the same time, Tesla has a deep involvement with cast parts that makes us wonder about all this.

When the company revealed its “mega castings” to replace entire body structures on its products, it said it had developed a new alloy that requires no heat treatment and no coating. Could that alloy work for suspension components, or would it lack the necessary resistance? Casting specialists may have an answer for that. Tesla probably does, but it does not talk to the press.
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 Download: Part 573 Safety Recall Report About Tesla Model Y's Defective Suspension Knuckles (PDF)

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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