Tesla Touchscreen Failure Investigated, 63,000 Model S Sedans May Be Recalled

Tesla Touchscreen 11 photos
Photo: Tesla
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Back when it was new to the market (as it’s also the case nowadays), the Model S was full of quirks. Tesla isn’t a byword for quality control, choosing instead to focus on production output to keep the investors happy and on technological advancements to stay ahead of the competition.
This time around, we’re not going to talk about quality control or similar horror stories from unhappy owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 11 complaints in the past 13 months over the vertical touchscreen of the full-size sedan, which is why a “preliminary evaluation” has been opened by the Office of Defects Investigation.

Model year 2013 through 2015 sedans are investigated, and “the reports have been received at service intervals ranging from 3.9 to 6.3 years” according to the ODI resume. The document – attached at the end of this story as a PDF – describes the problem as “failure of the touchscreen results in loss of rear camera image display when reverse gear is selected.”

No crashes, injuries, or fatalities have been associated with this condition, and in all the cases mentioned earlier, the Media Control Unit gave up the ghost for a rather uninteresting reason. “MCU failures resulting from eMMC memory wear-out are likely to occur after periods of progressively degraded performance,” referring to the 8 gigs of flash memory.

The storage media has “a finite lifespan” according to the document in question, which is not exactly an excuse for the touchscreen infotainment system to fail after such a short period of time. Don’t forget we’re talking about sedans as new as 2015, which is five years ago.

If the Office of Defects Investigation deems this condition unsafe – which it is considering that the reversing camera is federally mandated in the U.S. – then Tesla is estimated to recall 63,000 units. All of these vehicles are running a Tegra 3 processor produced by NVIDIA.

Coincidence or not, J.D. Power has bashed Tesla in the 2020 Initial Quality Study as well. Featured at the bottom of the list, the Palo Alto-based automaker is plagued by issues such as paint imperfections, rattles and squeaks, panels that don't align properly, and so forth.
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 Download: Tesla "loss of rear view camera display" ODI investigation (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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