The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it is launching an investigation into Tesla’s problem with older MCU (the media unit with a large touchscreen) in older Model S vehicles.

Owners of older Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles have been reporting some issues with their MCUs.

The touchscreen would become less responsive, the power-up time becomes longer, the screen would freeze and would have to be rebooted, or even total failure of the MCU unit.

Some owners believe that it is a problem with the embedded Multi-Media-Card memory (eMMC) in the MCU and that it is being overwritten to the point of failure.

It has been known as the “eMMC failure” problem.

Tesla introduced a new MCU in 2018 that doesn’t have the same problem, but owners of older vehicles are still experiencing the problem in having to replace the unit out of warranty, despite seeing Tesla’s mistake as the source of the problem instead of a normal issue that occurs over time.

Some of them have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) who now have launched an official investigation into the matter.

The agency said that the investigation was especially looking into 63,000 Tesla Model S vehicles. They have received 11 complaints from Tesla owners regarding the issue.

It could take months before we know the results of the investigation.

Electrek’s Take

My understanding is that NHTSA will now investigate whether or not the reports from owners are just due to normal failure over time, or if this is due to a design defect from Tesla.

If the latter is found to be true, Tesla will have to stop forcing owners to replace them out of warranty, which has cost people as much as $1,500.

I think Tesla would also likely have to reimburse people who had their MCU replaced over that issue.

What is a little more complicated is that Tesla now offers MCU2 upgrades for $2,500.

Many MCU1 owners who are starting to see some issues are upgrading in order to avoid them, but I am not sure if those people are going to have a recourse if NHTSA finds the eMMC problem to be a design defect.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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