NHTSA Tesla Investigation


Tesla is under investigation after dozen drivers report steering issues on 2023 models

Drivers have noticed unprompted jerking wheels and power steering issues.


Andrea Guzman


Posted on Aug 1, 2023   Updated on Aug 1, 2023, 5:00 pm CDT

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into 280,000 new Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles after a dozen drivers reported problems with steering their vehicles. 

The drivers experienced difficulty operating the vehicle and in some cases, lost the ability to steer at all. For one driver, the malfunction caused them to veer off the road and crash into a tree, according to a complaint with NHTSA.

Another said their Model Y came close to the opposite lane of traffic after the steering ability suddenly disappeared. 

The problems have happened exclusively with 2023 vehicles so far, and Tesla is reportedly aware of the problems. In another instance, a driver of a Model Y turned on their vehicle, witnessed the wheel jerk to the right, and saw a notice on the screen saying “steering assist reduced.” 

The owner then made an appointment for a service visit, saying the power steering was malfunctioning. Tesla told the driver it was a recently known issue and that service might involve replacing the steering rack, Reuters reports.

NHTSA’s investigation will help determine if drivers and others on the road face an unreasonable safety risk, but the probe would need to be upgraded in order for a recall to go into effect. 

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

NHTSA shared the document announcing the investigation, which opened on Friday. Out of 12 reported incidents, NHTSA said five reports involved an inability to steer the vehicle and seven others involved a loss of power steering that required more effort from drivers to control the vehicle. The agency’s next steps are to assess the scope, frequency, manufacturing processes, and severity of the steering glitches.

The opening of the investigation follows a report from Reuters that revealed details about Tesla’s “diversion team” in Las Vegas. According to the report, the workers are tasked with canceling appointments involving driving range complaints and telling drivers that their cars’ battery data did not need fixing. 

The automaker has faced a wave of safety concerns this year, including the forced recall of its Full Self-Driving beta feature on hundreds of thousands of vehicles. In March, NHTSA opened an investigation into a fatal crash of a 2014 Tesla Model S, which was followed by the opening of another investigation in July concerning a fatal crash that involved a 2018 Model 3 Sedan. 

This latest investigation comes shortly after Tesla boasted about delivering a record number of cars in the second quarter.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Share this article
*First Published: Aug 1, 2023, 4:59 pm CDT