Tesla Recalls Model 3 and Model Y for Suspension Issues, But What About NHTSA?

Elon Musk tweeted that “the word recall needs to be recalled” on January 14, 2014. Although he erased it years ago, the internet never forgets. Tesla may be trying to recall the word recall by sending its customers a message about one with the Model 3 and Model Y suspensions without putting it on its website or warning NHTSA about it.
Reddit User Shares Tesla Email With Recall Information 6 photos
Photo: Reddit
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 Information
The message emerged on Reddit. The user GrouchyFlamingo2709 posted the email he received from Tesla stating that his car may be affected by loosening fasteners on the front suspension’s lateral link. Tesla Model 3 units made between January 2019 and April 2021 and Model Y cars built from March 2020 until June 2021 are subject to presenting the problem.

In the email message, Tesla did not reveal how many vehicles were involved with this recall. If you check the company’s website, you’ll see nothing about it as well. What is more concerning is that NHTSA’s page also does not present any information on such a recall.

Without a way to check the information with the company – it no longer has a PR department – one could doubt that it was really sent by Tesla. However, the responses to the Reddit thread show many other users have also received the message or had their cars repaired for the same issue a while ago. They report “high-frequency noises,” “squeaks,” “creaking sounds,” etc. Tesla defines that as “abnormal noise from the front suspension” in the email message.

Reddit User Shares Tesla Email With Recall Information
Photo: Reddit
This is not the first time Tesla has had issues with its cars’ suspensions. Keith Leech, also known as Keef Wivaneff, coined the expression Whompy Wheels to talk about the multiple Teslas he found on junkyards and auctions apparently with suspension issues. Accused of being a short seller, he became one to challenge Tesla to prove he was wrong about his allegations. So far, Tesla has done nothing against him.

Leech accuses Tesla’s suspension components of failing prematurely. Popping ball joints, cracked arms, and fore links are among the examples and pictures he publishes on Twitter. In September 2020, a Swiss owner of a Model S saw the suspension in his car break at 200 kph (124 mph) in an autobahn.

Soon after that, the Chinese government forced Tesla to recall 18,182 units of the Model S and Model X due to suspension failures on the rear links of the front suspension and the upper linkages of the rear suspension on both sides of the cars. Tesla denied the parts were defective and blamed the drivers for abusing the EVs.

Broken Tesla Suspension
Photo: Public domain
In the U.S., NHTSA launched an investigation in November 2020 for issues with the front suspension fore links of 115,000 units of these two vehicles. New cases keep literally popping up. autoevolution tried to contact engineers and suppliers to understand what could be wrong with these components and has never received a reply back.

If Tesla is really making a recall related to the suspension of the Model 3 and the Model Y, it should have warned NHTSA about it. The safety agency should then have published the warning about this recall on its website, as well as Tesla. As we already mentioned, none of these pages have any information about such a recall.

The Tesla customers that replied to the Reddit thread are now worried about being able to make an appointment with their Tesla Service Centers to fix the issue. Some that already had the defect repaired before the recall email emerged are concerned that their EVs may be flagged for not having the recall done. They did have them done before it was named a recall.

Broken Tesla Suspension
Photo: Public domain
NHTSA already asked Tesla for information about an OTA (over-the-air) update that would have fixed Autopilot. According to the safety agency, Tesla should have treated it as a recall, especially if it was to fix what caused 11 Teslas to crash against emergency vehicles while using the ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems). One person died in these crashes.

Tesla partially replied to NHTSA’s request for information about the incidents with Autopilot and asked the safety agency to treat all it said as “confidential business information.” If it is doing another recall without following the procedures NHTSA deem as necessary, recalling the word recall may end up being an expensive decision.
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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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