Don’t be alarmed. This Tesla owner was only reversing into his driveway when the steering wheel gently slipped off of the column. Just like it was supposed to do. Except it wasn’t supposed to. This was a brand-new Tesla Model 3 the owner had just taken delivery of. He had driven about 20 miles when arriving at home he decided to back into his driveway.
So what is the take-away from this episode? It’s hard to say. The problem is that if this car has an issue like this then others likely will too. They’re usually not typically a single incident deal. We can say he was extremely lucky this happened at the end of his galavanting.
This particular owner had other issues with his Tesla
This particular owner had experienced other issues with Tesla. Since taking delivery in March 2020 he has driven it about 300 miles. But it was originally supposed to have been delivered back in October. With residence in the UK, he was not allowed to drive due to the coronavirus lockdown.
After alerting Tesla they took the car, attached the steering wheel, and returned the car the next day. The owner told the NY Post, “Tesla confirmed that the steering wheel was not fixed to the body of the car with a bolt, and they are looking into what happened on production. The Driving and Cecile standards agency here in the UK is also doing a full investigation.”
Tesla’s record for quality assembly has been a bit shoddy
Tesla’s record for quality assembly has been a bit shoddy. Paint issues, panel fit issues, and cars delivered with bolts missing have plagued Tesla. Especially the Model 3 has had issues of all kinds as production ramped up.
We don’t know at this time if Tesla has received other similar complaints or if they’re considering this an isolated incident. If there is a recall issued we’ll run it on Motorbiscuit.com.
As crazy and unique as a steering wheel falling off may seem there have been a number of recalls from other manufacturers in the last couple of years. In April 2019 Fiat Chrysler issued a recall for both Jeep Wranglers and Ram 1500 pickup trucks for steering shafts that could break causing the steering wheels to fall off.
Ford had to recall 1.4 million sedans for bolts falling off of steering wheels
In April 2018, Ford had to recall 1.4 million sedans for steering bolts falling off of steering wheels. Before this Hyundai had a recall for about 45,000 2018 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport SUVs with similar steering wheel attachment problems.
Even race cars were not immune from steering wheels becoming accidentally detached. Momo, a maker of aftermarket steering wheels, made a quick-release adaptor that would release “inadvertently” without warning. The company asked those who purchased these units to return them for a full refund.
So, as alarming as a steering wheel separating from the steering column may seem, it’s just standard fare in the world today. Vehicles will usually track straight so if this does happen it doesn’t mean it would be catastrophic. For all of the recalls mentioned above, no one was injured.