Tesla to Recall 135,000 Model S, Model X Vehicles Over Touchscreen Failures

Earlier this month the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Tesla to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles, related to touchscreen failures posing a safety issue.

Now on Tuesday, Tesla has agreed to the voluntary NHTSA recall, reports Reuters. According to Tesla in its filing with the NHTSA, it said “in the interest of bringing administrative closure to the investigation and to ensure the best ownership experience for our customers” it agreed to a voluntary recall.”

The government agency said 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles pose a safety issue due to touchscreen failures. The NHTSA required Tesla to respond to its letter by January 27, and the automaker agreed on that day, it said.

The NHTSA started looking into the matter last June when Tesla owners complained about faulty media control units, which resulted in touchscreen displays failing. Later in November of 2020, the probe intensified when 12,523 claims and complaints were made about the Model S and X MCU failures.

In December, the NHTSA said, “during our review of the data, Tesla provided confirmation that all units will inevitably fail given the memory device’s finite storage capacity.”

What’s next? Tesla will now replace defective MCUs and refund customers who paid to replaced the failed unit due to lifetime wear and tear. Tesla says some vehicles produced after March 2018 have upgraded processors, so the original 158,000 recall number does not apply, as the issue now only affects 135,000 cars.

According to Tesla’s website on the matter:

Tesla has decided to voluntarily and proactively recall some Model S and Model X vehicles to update software and to replace the 8GB embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) in the media control unit (MCU). This recall applies only to Model S and Model X vehicles built before March 2018 that are equipped with an 8GB embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) in the MCU that may experience a malfunction due to accumulated wear. Model S and Model X vehicles built on or after March 2018 are not equipped with the 8GB eMMC and are not affected by this recall.

The recall for Model S and Model X will start on March 30, 2021.