US agency upgrades probe into Tesla power steering loss

US agency upgrades probe into Tesla power steering loss

U.S. safety regulators have upgraded their probe into Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) vehicles over power steering loss to an engineering analysis – a required step before a potential recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)said on Friday that an estimated 334,569 2023 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles are subject to the engineering analysis.

The regulator’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation last July into loss of steering control in Tesla Model 3 and Y vehicles, after receiving 2,388 complaints.

The office said it was associating one crash to this investigation where a driver was unable to complete a right hand turn at an intersection and hit a vehicle.

“A portion of drivers described their steering begin to feel ‘notchy’ or ‘clicky’ either prior to or just after the incident,” NTSHA said in a statement.

The move comes on the same day Tesla said it was recalling 2.2 million electric vehicles – nearly all its US units – due to incorrect font sizes on warning lights that increase the risk of a crash.

Tesla began releasing an over-the-air software update on Jan. 23, free of charge, to fix the issue, the regulator said. The software update will increase the font size of the visual warning indicators for the brake, park and antilock brake system (ABS).

Just two months ago, Tesla had recalled 2.03 million vehicles in the United States to install new safeguards in its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system.

Tesla has been under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) radar for its autonomous driving aid that is intended to enable cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within their lane.

The latest recall includes vehicles across Tesla’s various models, including the Model S, Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, Model Y, and 2024 Cybertruck vehicles, the NHTSA said.

“Warning lights with a smaller font size can make critical safety information on the instrument panel difficult to read, increasing the risk of a crash,” the NHTSA added.

Tesla’s Cybertruck started receiving a software update to fix the issue for the units in production, the report added.

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