Recall Alert: Your Tesla Model X’s Roof Could Fly Off

Tesla has been going through a rough time as of late. Less than a weak ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Model S had lost its official recommendation due to poor reliability. To add insult to injury, the Model S could potentially be recalled over faulty screens. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that over 9,000 Tesla Model X SUVs are being recalled due to faulty roof pieces. In short, a failure of these components could result in bits of the roof flying off while driving.

Why is the Tesla Model X’s roof failing?

An image of a Tesla Model X parked outdoors.
Tesla Model X | Photo by Marco Destefanis/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

When you shell out at least $79,990 for a Tesla Model X, the last thing you expect is for your roof to fly off. However, the NHTSA reports that some owners have experienced just that. According to the NHTSA, the Model X’s roof features cosmetic elements known as the cosmetic applique and front applique. These are glued to the electric SUV utilizing urethane. If applied without primer, the adhesion may weaken over time, resulting in the separation of the applique from the SUV.

According to the NHTSA, your Tesla Model X’s faulty panels may generate a detectable noise before falling off. Additionally, customers have reportedly visually been able to see the piece coming apart. As you’d expect, having any piece fall off from your car on the road could potentially cause a hazard to other drivers. Thankfully the NHTSA reports that no accidents or injuries have been linked to this issue.

The Model X’s roof issues began in 2016

A white Tesla Model X electric SUV
2020 Tesla Model X | Tesla

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As you can imagine, the decision to recall thousands of Tesla Model X’s wasn’t decided overnight. In fact, the NHTSA reports that it first became aware of this issue back on September 21st, 2020. The incident in question involved a 2016 Model X whose roof came undone. Just over a month later, on October 28th, 2020, the NHTSA moved to conduct a quality inspection of the issue. After reviewing Tesla’s documentation, its conclusion was that at least 9,136 Model X’s could be potentially affected.

Thankfully for Tesla Model X customers, the NHTSA estimates that only 10 percent of these SUVs will carry this defect. The important dates to look out for are Model X’s produced between September 17th, 2015, to July 31st, 2016. As of writing, no data is showing that newer model Model X’s are affected by this issue.

How do you fix a faulty roof?

Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X | Tesla

If you’ve got an affected Tesla Model X, chances are you’ll want to get it fixed immediately. Here is the current repair timeline. According to the NHTSA, Tesla’s service centers were notified of the issue on November 17th. From there, the brand has said it will mail out letters to owners notifying them of the issue and offering to schedule an appointment to conduct the repair.

To fix the Model X’s roof, the brand can’t simply apply new adhesive and call it a day. In fact, the NHTSA reports that Tesla will conduct a retention test on affected models to assess the applique’s overall condition. If the applique fails, then the panel will be removed, and new primer and urethane will be applied. The result is that these new panels should hold steady moving forward.