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Tesla Recalls Model Y Over Trailer Brake Light Issue, OTA Update Fixed It

Even though it’s electric, the Model Y can tow up to 3,500 pounds or 1,588 kilograms if you’re prepared to pony up $1,000 for the hitch. Some of these vehicles are under recall, but it’s not that big of a deal considering that Tesla has already fixed the issue.
Tesla Model Y towing 13 photos
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NHTSA recall number 20V-609 states that “Tesla introduced a new global rear lamp into production on August 10th,” and with it, a new channel has been introduced into the vehicle control module. The issue boils down to software, and a firmware update has solved the problem by correcting the lamp mapping to the trailer control module.

Vehicles affected by this condition number 2,567 units produced at the Fremont assembly plant in California from August 10th to September 22nd. Tesla learned of the error on August 22nd from “a customer who reported that their trailer brake lights were inoperative.” Fast-forward to September 23rd, and that’s when Tesla determined a noncompliance related to federal safety standard number FMVSS 108.

At the beginning of October when the Part 573 safety recall report has been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “more than 97 percent of the affected vehicles” downloaded the software update containing the correction. Even though the problem is theoretically and practically solved, Tesla is required by law to notify owners through first-class mail. Curious times we're living in, don’t you think?

Going forward, it’s necessary for the NHTSA and automakers to come up with a more accurate term than “recall” for issues that can be fixed through over-the-air updates. Legacy automakers like BMW and Mercedes are catching up to Tesla in this regard, and the electrified future of the passenger car will certainly be full of software-related issues.

For the time being, most cars recalled over software problems in the U.S. need to be analyzed by a service technician and updated by them with dedicated tools at the dealership. Therefore, don’t expect “recall” to be changed for a different word anytime soon.

 Download: Part 573 Safety Recall Report 20V-609 (PDF)


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