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A report released on February 1 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) summarizes a review opened by the agency back in July 2023. The agency had received 12 consumer complaints regarding sudden loss of steering control in Tesla Model 3 and Model Y cars, spurring an investigation. The review revealed 2,388 complaints from Tesla drivers losing steering control.

Alarmingly, 2,264 of the 2,388 complaints were provided through Tesla’s manufacturer data.

There are common symptoms of the sudden loss of steering. A “Steering assist reduced” message is displayed to the driver either right before, during, or after the loss of steering. Drivers have complained that they either cannot steer or experience difficulty turning.

A Tesla front interior is shown with screen display and steering wheel
Tesla front interior | Bram Van Oost via Unsplash

Most complaints have occurred during in-town driving, between 5 and 35 mph. However, 1 in 10 incidents happened at 35 mph and above. The fastest loss of steering occurrence in the report was at 75 mph.

During the NHTSA’s investigation, one Tesla model could not complete a right-hand turn and crashed into another car. The NHTSA recovered the power steering rack with the owner’s permission.

There have been allegations of 2023 Tesla Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs blocking the road or needing to be towed from roadways, driveways, and parking lots.

The fix for some of these vehicles was cycling off and on the car. Others experienced recurring issues until the power steering rack was replaced.

The report lists two OEM steering rack part numbers, 1044832-00-A and 1188832-00-A. These two part numbers were included in 2,187 of the complaints.

The NHTSA review was released the same day Tesla registered a recall for brake warning light font size. The font size was deemed too small. Tesla committed to a free over-the-air update.

Source: NHTSA