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Tesla issues another ‘recall’ that is fixed with software update

Tesla issued another “safety recall,” a term the company doesn’t like because the recall didn’t require a physical recall of the 30,000 vehicles affected. An over-the-air software update was the fix.

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.

Top comment by Chris Collins

Liked by 5 people

If it's safety related it's a recall even if it can be fixed in software. That's the way it should be. At the very least it lets owners know they need to install an update (or let it install) to get the fix.

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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.

We get another example today of such “recall.” NHTSA released a voluntary recall notice from Tesla for about 30,000 Model X vehicles related to airbag deployment behavior for small children in the front seat:

On certain 2021-2023 Model X vehicles, the restraint control module (RCM) calibration may result in the frontal passenger airbag deploying in an unintended configuration during certain low-speed collision events. This may result in noncompliance with FMVSS 208, Sections 21.4 and 23.4, when a 3- or 6-year-old front passenger, respectively, is unbelted and out of position.

According to the recall notice, Tesla started pushing an over-the-air software update to fix the issue earlier this week:

In a low-speed collision event where a 3- or 6-year-old front passenger is unbelted and out of position, the remedy OTA firmware update ensures that the frontal passenger airbag complies with FMVSS 208, Sections 21.4 and 23.4, whereas a firmware release without the remedy does not ensure compliance.

Here’s the chronology of the recall:

  • On October 18, 2022, Tesla conducted a pre-scheduled Conformity of Production test to confirm compliance with FMVSS 208 on a current production Model X vehicle. In the test, the vehicle restraint system deployment logic did not operate as designed.
  • On October 25, 2022, additional tests were conducted to confirm the results of the test conducted on October 18, 2022.
  • Between November 2 – 7, 2022, based on the results of two prior tests, Tesla conducted out of position confirmatory tests to assess compliance with FMVSS 208, Sections 21, 23, and 25.
  • On November 8, 2022, test results were analyzed, and non-compliance was verified with Sections 21.4 and 23.4. A voluntary recall determination was made on the same day.
  • As of November 8, 2022, Tesla is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, crashes, injuries, or deaths related to this condition.

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