Tesla Seat Belt Chime Defect Affects 817,143 Vehicles Only in the U.S.

Tesla Model S interior with the ICE computer used by the Model 3 and Model Y 12 photos
Photo: Tesla
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Tesla has a second recall to deal with this week. After it announced FSD’s illegal capacity to perform rolling stops would end and confessed it was that way by design, the company will now have to admit the lack of a seat belt chime is a defect regardless of how you see it. Tesla announced 817,143 vehicles are affected by this condition only in the U.S.
The defect appears when “the chime was interrupted in the preceding drive cycle, and the seat belt was not buckled subsequent to that interruption.” Tesla even gives an example about what would be an interruption of the chime: “the driver exited the vehicle in the preceding drive cycle while the chime was active and later returned to the vehicle, creating a new drive cycle,” but not buckling the seat belt.

Tesla tries to create an excuse about that, saying that the chime will eventually be activated when the vehicle exceeds 22 kph (13.7 mph). However, it recognizes that the chime activation failure is noncompliant with “FMVSS 208, S7.3 (a)-(1).” This regulation “requires the audible seat belt reminder chime to activate upon vehicle start if the driver seat belt is not detected as buckled.”

The number of affected vehicles may increase worldwide, though. According to the chronology on Part 573 Safety Recall Report, KATRI (South Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute) reported the problem to Tesla on January 6, 2022. That said, we know that this is an issue in South Korea, but the correction will possibly only be deployed in countries that have similar legal demands.

If you are asking why we are talking about the deployment of a correction, that’s because the fix will come via OTA (over-the-air) update. With the FSD recall, that was enough for some Tesla investors to try to frame it as something else. It isn’t: any repair issued for safety reasons is considered a recall regardless of how it is performed.

In fact, Tesla has already released the 2021.43.101.1 firmware update that contains this software repair. After checking the vehicles affected, it is curious that all Model 3 and Model Y units made in the U.S. are affected. In the Model 3’s case, that means vehicles from 2017 onward.

Model S and Model X are only included if they were made respectively after January 4, 2021, and February 2, 2021. It has to do with the Model S and Model X adopting the ICE computer instead of the MCU they previously had. Tesla announced that precisely in January 2021.
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 Download: Part 573 Safety Recall Report about seat belt chime issue (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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