On 31st March 2023, the US National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a safety recall for a small number of Tesla Model 3 vehicles for a suspension issue. This issue affects the front suspension lateral link fasteners that can become loose or detach over time.
According to the NHTSA record, only 422 Tesla Model 3 cars are affected by this front suspension issue which is around 1% of the total number of Model 3s. These cars are manufactured between Jan 05, 2018 – Mar 30, 2019.
Tesla plans to start sending owner notification letters for the Model 3 front suspension lateral link fastener issue by May 30, 2023 (Recall # 23V-235 / PDF below).
The front suspension lateral link on Model 3 vehicles is attached to the subframe using two fasteners. Manufacturing records and customer complaints suggest that there may be a correlation between certain manufacturing record characteristics and the fastener loosening over time. A loose fastener could cause the lateral link to separate from the sub-frame.NHTSA Tesla Model 3 Suspension Recall # 23V-235 (PDF below)
The NHTSA document says that this suspension issue can be identified by Tesla Model 3 owners on their own as well. “If the fasteners that secure the lateral link to the sub-fame become loose, abnormal noise may occur and be detectable by the customer from the front suspension,” says the NHTSA recall document (PDF below).
Tesla has received 25 claims and 2 field reports for this issue affecting a specific spectrum of Model 3 vehicles. This recall is an extension of the 2021 recall with the same issue affecting Model 3s built from 2019 to 2021 and also Model Y vehicles from 2020 – 2021.
This suspension issue with loosened fasteners can be a safety issue. NHTSA explains the potential safety hazard as:
If a fastener becomes loose enough or separates from the sub-frame such that the lateral link separates from the sub-frame, the wheel alignment could shift and cause instability, which may adversely impact vehicle controllability and increase the risk of a collision.NHTSA Tesla Model 3 Suspension Recall # 23V-235 (PDF below)
Tesla reported to the NHTSA that the automaker is unaware of any accidents or crashes caused by this front suspension lateral link fastener issue.
This is one of those Tesla recalls that actually require the owner to take their vehicles to a Tesla Service Center for repair or replacement. Most of the time, the electric automaker fixes issues using free over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
Interestingly, out of the 19 recalls issued by Tesla last year, 12 were fixed via OTA updates.
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