Tesla Recalls 3,470 Model Y Vehicles to Check Seat Back Frame Bolts

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

Tesla issued a recall of 3,470 Model Y vehicles on Saturday, according to a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The recall is NHTSA Campaign Number 23V130000 which says the issue is “a loose seat frame bolt may reduce the seat belt system’s performance, increasing the risk of injury during a crash.”

The issue only affects certain 2022-2023 Model Y vehicles. “The bolts securing the second-row seat back frames may not have been securely tightened.”

Tesla will fix the issue by inspecting and tightening bolts as necessary for customers, at no cost. Owner notification letters are set to be mailed on April 25, 2023. Owners can also contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752, with recall number SB-23-13-001.

“On Model Y vehicles, the second-row driver-side seat back frame (second-row driver-side and center seating positions) and the second-row passenger-side seat back frame (second-row passenger-side seating position) are secured to the lower seat frame with 4 bolts per seat back,” explains Tesla.

“During the supplier’s production of both seat back frames for certain Model Y vehicles, one or more of the bolts that secure the seat back frames to the lower seat frame may not have been torqued to specifications,” said the automaker.

Tesla gave a chronology of the issue, which was first brought to the automaker’s attention in December 2022. So far no injuries or deaths have been caused by the issue, according to Tesla’s knowledge:

  • On December 10, 2022, an operator in Tesla’s Fremont, CA, manufacturing facility identified a seat back bolt that secured a Model Y second-row driver-side seat back frame to the lower seat frame that was not torqued to specification.
  • On December 10 and 11, 2022, in Tesla’s Austin, TX, and Fremont manufacturing facilities, respectively, second-row seats for Model Y production were contained and manufacturing personnel began an inspection to confirm that the seat back bolts were torqued to specification.
  • From December 11, 2022, through January 27, 2023, in coordination with the supplier, Tesla conducted an investigation to identify a root cause, including which bolts in which seat back frame(s) were impacted. Tesla also began a review of manufacturing records to identify a potentially affected vehicle population.
  • From January 30 through February 13, 2023, Tesla conducted a risk assessment of the condition using CAE analysis.
  • On February 17, 2023, Tesla completed its investigation and review of manufacturing records and confirmed the root cause, risk assessment, and affected vehicle population. A recall determination was made on the same day.
  • As of February 23, 2023, Tesla has identified 5 warranty claims, received between December 9, 2022, and February 14, 2023, that may be related to the conditions described above. Tesla is not aware of any injuries or deaths that may be related to such conditions.

Tesla says the production fix for these seat back frame bolts was started one day after it was identified. “Between December 11 and December 19, 2022, the supplier implemented improved process controls along with improved training and supervision to ensure that bolts are torqued to specifications.”