Tesla recalls small batch of Model 3s for suspension separation

Tesla is recalling 422 Model 3 sedans built for the 2018 and 2019 model years to address a potential suspension issue. Some vehicles may exhibit loosening of the fasteners that hold the front suspension lateral links to the subframe. If these work themselves loose to the point where the lateral link can separate from the subframe, it can result in a sudden loss of control of the car. 

“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,” Tesla’s defect report said. 

Tesla’s report indicates that the fasteners are loosening on their own over time, and while the company did not disclose exactly why only certain fasteners exhibit the problem, its report said that it narrowed the recall population to only those vehicles whose build records indicate “certain torque and angle record characteristics” that correlate to customer reports of loosening hardware. The earliest customer complaints date back to 2019, the report said. 

“Tesla Service will inspect affected vehicles for proper torque of the fasteners that secure both front suspension lateral links to the sub-frame. If a loose or missing fastener is found during the inspection, Tesla Service will re-torque the fastener to the correct specification. In the unlikely event that vehicle damage from a loose or missing fastener is found during the inspection, Tesla Service will replace the damaged component.”

This one definitely can’t be remedied by an over-the-air update. Tesla is distributing notices to owners of the affected cars; those should be delivered in May. Customers who paid to have this issue fixed prior to the recall are eligible for reimbursement and should contact their Tesla service representative to make arrangements. 

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