Skip to main content

Tesla issues rare real ‘physical’ recall of over 24,000 Model 3 vehicles

Tesla has issued a recall of just over 24,000 Model 3 vehicles over a seat belt problem. It’s a rare real “physical” recall for the automaker after many “recalls” that were just software updates.

Earlier this year, NHTSA issued a series of recalls on Tesla vehicles that were highly reported in the media.

What was less reported, though, is that almost all of those recalls were fairly simple software issues that Tesla has been able to fix through over-the-air software updates.

Whenever there’s a safety-related issue, NHTSA has to issue a “safety recall,” even if the automaker doesn’t have to physically recall any vehicle, which leads to some confusion.

Again last month, a Tesla recall of “1 million vehicles” made many headlines when the recall simply consisted of Tesla changing how its software handled window operations.

These instances have led Tesla CEO Elon Musk to complain about the term “recall” and how it is being used against Tesla by the media.

But to be fair, Tesla still sometimes has “real recalls” where the vehicles need to be physically recalled to a service center.

We have a new example today as Tesla started sending emails to Model 3 customers about a new recall:

Tesla has decided to proactively recall certain Model 3 vehicles manufactured between 2017–2022 to inspect the assembly of the second-row left-hand seat belt buckle and the center seat belt anchor to ensure components are fastened to specification. Our records indicate that your vehicle(s), 5YJ3E1EA8JF0XXXXX, may be affected by this recall.

According to NHTSA documents, the recall affects 24,064 Model 3 vehicles built since 2017.

In the defect notice, NHTSA describes the problem, which appears to have been caused by a service issue rather than manufacturing:

Servicing certain components in Model 3 vehicles requires disassembly of the second-row left seat belt buckle and center seat belt anchor, both of which are fastened with the same bolt. Both components may have been incorrectly reassembled after disassembly during a service action.

Tesla described the chronology of the events that led to the voluntary recall:

  • In August 2022, Tesla investigated incidents in which customers or service technicians identified the second-row center seat belt anchor not being secured after service repairs that required disassembly and reassembly of the component.
  • From August 15 through September 30, 2022, Tesla investigated repair orders and correction codes specific to service procedures that required the joint in question to be disassembled and reassembled. Based on this review, 105 occurrences of incorrect reassembly in the United States were confirmed.
  • From October 3 through October 13, 2022, Tesla Service and Engineering jointly analyzed the acquired data set, impacted services centers, and related correction codes.
  • On October 14, 2022, Tesla completed its investigation and confirmed the suspected root cause, risk assessment, and affected vehicle population. A recall determination was made on the same day.
  • As of October 19, 2022, Tesla identified 105 service repairs, including warranty claims, and no field reports for US vehicles that are related to or may be related to this condition.Tesla is not aware of any crashes, injuries, or deaths related to this condition.

The good news is that the fix is fairly simple as described in the notice:

Tesla will inspect the reassembly of second-row left seat belt buckle and center seat belt anchor and, where necessary, fasten the components to correct specifications. The remedy will be provided free of charge.

Also, some customers might have already paid to fix this issue, and now that it has been determined to be a manufacturer defect, those Tesla owners are entitled to a refund.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.