But Tesla says it has a fix.
Recalls are a common phenomenon for almost any automaker. Some recent examples include the automatic Nissan Z possibly rolling away and the wheels falling off on the Toyota bZ4X. Tesla is no stranger to recalls, but this latest one is related to a rather strange issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a recall for 1.1 million Tesla vehicles due to power windows that could pinch a driver or passenger's hand.
The recall impacts certain 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, 2020-2022 Model Y, and 2021-2022 Model S and Model X vehicles. "The window automatic reversal system may not react correctly after detecting an obstruction. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 118, 'Power-Operated Window Systems,'" the agency said. "A closing window may exert excessive force by pinching a driver or passenger before retracting, increasing the risk of injury."
Why is this such an odd recall? It's odd because according to NHTSA data, the last automaker to issue a recall for pinching windows was BMW all the way back in 2003. Tesla may be the only automaker in recent history to have windows that could pinch owners, but the company is also in a unique position to solve the issue without doing a physical recall.
As of September 13, Tesla applied a software update to all production pre-delivery vehicles to bring them up to date with the NHTSA requirements. Tesla will then roll out this same update over-the-air to its customers. As of now, the company is not aware of any warranty claims or injuries related to the windows.
Minor recalls like this are commonplace in the automotive industry, but this being Tesla, of course there is controversy surrounding it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted his concerns about the recall saying the following, "The terminology is outdated and inaccurate. This is a tiny over-the-air software update. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no injuries."
Though Musk is correct by saying his company handles recalls differently from most OEMs, it doesn't change the process by which the NHTSA alerts consumers to potential dangers. Manufacturers must issue a recall for any defect, even if the fix only requires a software change.
Just in 2022 alone, Tesla has issued 14 recalls impacting over 3.3 million vehicles. Some of the recalls include overheating CPUs, the speedometer disappearing in Track Mode, and airbag deployment issues. Not all of these required a trip to a service center, but all required some sort of fix. Musk may not like it when his company makes headlines for a recall, but there is simply no way to avoid this process without building a perfect car.