Hybrids & Electrics

Tesla Trouble: Owners Are Filing a Lawsuit Over Vehicle’s Failing Feature

Tesla may be full steam ahead in terms of production, as the automaker recently received approvals to get back to making its electric vehicles again. But as Elon Musk and team forge forward in building EVs, the company is also facing some heat in the form of a class-action lawsuit.

There is one Tesla vehicle feature that has routinely failed for various car owners. It’s a significant enough issue that affects the overall safety of several model years. And now, those Tesla vehicle owners are taking a stand, citing the EV automaker was well aware of the widespread malfunction.

The problem at the heart of the lawsuit

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According to CarComplaints, the class-action lawsuit came about due to a pretty significant feature malfunction. The media control unit (MCU) and touchscreen for some vehicles, either froze, crashed or went black entirely.

A glitchy touchscreen might not seem to be a safety concern, but with Tesla vehicles, these failures present serious safety hazards. The MCU is the hub for those behind the wheel. These units control many of the safety features, communication, and navigation.

In fact, there is a whole roster of features that lose function when the MCU fails, including steering modes, critical gauges, the rearview camera, charging ability, suspension, and even the temperature controls. The lawsuit alleges that the EV automaker knows about these failures.

Which Tesla models does the failure affect?

Not all Tesla models present with these media control unit failures. However, anyone owning a Model S from 2014 through 2016 should beware. Others included in the lawsuit are owners of 2015 and 2016 Model X vehicles as well.

If you have had your eye on buying one of these model year vehicles, you might want to think again. At least inquire about the MCU failures before you sign and make sure the necessary replacements have already been handled, before taking ownership.

Why this issue is particularly frustrating for owners

What makes this Tesla touchscreen malfunction especially frustrating is that the failures began occurring relatively early in vehicle ownership. It’s not uncommon to experience a hiccup or two with a newer model car. But in this case, discovering a glitch this detrimental early within the first year proved to be frustrating for these Tesla owners.

Then finding out the failure isn’t covered under a manufacturer’s warranty really added insult to injury. The MCU failure proved to be more a hassle all around, from the in-car malfunction itself to finding solutions to the touchscreen problems.

The plaintiff’s side of the story

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The California resident at the heart of this class action lawsuit is Entewan Faragalla, who enthusiastically purchased his new Tesla Model S, in 2015. He experienced the touchscreen and MCU failures almost immediately. And in some cases, his touchscreen went black while he was driving.

When Faragalla brought his malfunctioning Model S to a Tesla service center, he was in for another shock. Not only did he have to pay $2,290.50 for the diagnosis and replacement, but none of the failures were apparently covered under Tesla’s warranty. He then had to pay for another replacement, because the replacement unit appeared to be as defective as the original MCU.

For Entewan Faragalla, he said he “would not have purchased the Tesla,” had he been able to predict the significant MCU failures, according to CarComplaints.

Not being able to drive his Tesla safely, due to a defective feature, and then having to pay out-of-pocket for any semblance of a solution, only compounded things. Anyone who may be considering a used Tesla for the next vehicle purchase, inquiring about the MCU history, should be a priority.

The class-action lawsuit is an indication this issue reaches beyond the one instance with Faragalla. And Tesla will have to face the music in court.