Tesla under investigation again this year over steering problems
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into steering issues in Tesla vehicles for the second time this year. This comes after they received 12 complaints from owners of 2023 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cars about a loss of steering control. Some drivers also got a message on the screen saying "power steering assist is reduced or disabled."
Out of these complaints, five drivers reported being unable to steer their vehicles, while seven others experienced increased effort to control the car due to loss of power steering.
One of the incidents resulted in an accident, where a Model 3 owner's steering felt stuck, causing the car to crash into a tree. The driver stated that Tesla's features didn't help keep the car in its lane or apply emergency braking.
These issues were not isolated incidents. Multiple reports showed that the steering wheels of Model 3 and Model Y cars would randomly lock up while driving or at a stop. Some owners mentioned having to reboot the car's electronic systems to fix the error temporarily, but the problem would return.
The NHTSA investigation also revealed that some affected vehicles had driven less than 1,000 miles, and it took Tesla dealerships weeks to make the necessary repairs. Tesla didn't respond to inquiries from The Register about the cause of these steering problems.
This steering issue isn't a first for the electric vehicle brand. The NHTSA had been investigating the Model Y since March over reports of steering wheels falling off two low-mileage SUVs. Tesla later recalled the affected Model Y vehicles, blaming the problem on a missing retaining bolt.
Apart from the steering issues, the NHTSA is also investigating Tesla's Autopilot system, which has been linked to accidents involving stopped emergency vehicles. Tesla had to recall its Full Self-Driving beta software in hundreds of thousands of vehicles due to this investigation.