Call it a preemptive measure.
Tesla, particularly CEO Elon Musk, has a history of picking fights with federal agencies like the SEC and the NHTSA. Most recently, the government's vehicle safety watchdog wants to know more about the latest over-the-air update enabling drivers to play video games while the vehicle is in motion. An official investigation hasn't been opened but one remains ongoing regarding the Autopilot driver-assist system's safety.
And speaking of Autopilot, it turns out that several hundred examples of the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 - all produced in Fremont, California - are getting their repeater cameras replaced, all of which are located in the front fender. These cameras are a necessary Autopilot component.
This is not a recall, as confirmed by CNBC, which has viewed internal company correspondence regarding the matter. Tesla has instructed its service centers to give so-called "goodwill" repairs to customers who've complained about the cameras not properly working. Tesla is paying for this out of pocket, as it should. These front fender cameras, located below and slightly to the front of the side mirrors, enable systems like Autopilot, Navigate on Autopilot, and Smart Summon to function. They also aid in helping drivers identify blind spots.
When they don't work, as in the current situation, drivers see either a black box or, at best, a fuzzy video feed on the main display. Alerts indicating Autopilot isn't functioning properly have also been reported.
It turns out this issue dates back exactly one year ago. Because Tesla has no PR department, we don't have an investigation timeline. It's too soon to know whether this will be expanded into a voluntary (and far more costly) voluntary recall. A former Tesla parts manager confirmed these "goodwill" notices sometimes arrive before a recall but, for now, Tesla is limiting the repair to only complaining customers.
Not long ago, Tesla issued a recall for the Model Y in both the US and China due to suspension components that could break, potentially resulting in serious and fatal accidents.