Even the US government had to get involved.
This all started back in 2012 but only now has Tesla admitted to the problem. Even the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) had to get involved. The California-based automaker has finally acknowledged there were Media Control Unit (MCU) touchscreen failures on the 2012 to 2015 Tesla Model S and Model X. In many cases, owners were left with a useless touchscreen but Tesla claimed it wasn't covered under warranty.
That's been changed now as the company has announced, via Electrek, an extended warranty for its older MSU touchscreen. A new MCU arrived in 2018 and has not experienced the same issues, which included slowed overall response, a longer power-up time, and a systems freeze that required a reboot, and in many cases, a complete failure. The cause, some affected owners believe, can be traced to the embedded Multi-Media Card memory in the MCU.
The processor's flash memory device, which powers the display, has a limited lifespan because of the number of times it's been programmed and then had its memory erased. The MCU failures are probably due to memory wear-out. But did why the NHTSA open an investigation?
Because the vehicle's backup camera projects images to the main screen. If this fails to function, then what's the point of the backup camera? The importance of backup cameras is considered vital; they're now a required standard feature for all new vehicles sold in the US. The Feds' involvement probably forced Tesla to settle the matter once and for all.
"For customer peace of mind, we are providing additional coverage on some Model S and Model X vehicles built before March 2018 that are equipped with an 8GB embedded Multi Media Card ('8GB eMMC') in the media control unit," Tesla wrote to affected owners. "We are aware that this component may malfunction due to accumulated wear. This condition has no impact on basic vehicle driving functionality and controllability, and we are not aware of any injuries or collisions relating to it."
Considering the potential safety issues, it's surprising Tesla didn't act faster. It's also somewhat surprising Tesla didn't include the fix on its recent $2,500 infotainment system upgrade that improved older versions of both vehicles but also eliminated the AM/FM and Sirius XM radio. The radio feature can soon be restored, though it'll cost $500.