Tesla Bows to NHTSA Pressure, Recalls 135,000 Cars Over 'Inevitable' Touchscreen Failure
The issue could cause the infotainment screen to go blank while driving, and therefore disable many basic functions and safety systems.
Tesla has been instructed to recall 158,000 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) due to a flash memory failure in the vehicles' media control units that can go haywire while driving. Specifically, it could switch off the rearview camera, disable turning signals, and turn off the ability to defog your windshield, essentially creating a perfect storm of visibility issues. The "inevitable" issue itself is not new, as the NHTSA highlights in this rather lengthy timeline.
The safety administration had already instructed Tesla to recall the cars last year, but a letter dated Feb. 1, as reported by Reuters, acknowledges that only 134,951 cars are being recalled by Tesla itself. The recall involves Model S cars from 2012 to 2018 and Model Xs from 2016 to 2018, which are fitted with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor to handle the distinctive 17-inch infotainment touchscreen, and more importantly, a load of key safety features. When the processor's flash memory wears out (a function of high-performance eMMC NAND, which eventually stops refreshing) the touchscreen can go blank and the car can lose some or all control over the aforementioned systems.