The 2020 Tesla Model Y Is Being Recalled Over Its Trailer Brake Lights

Are you the proud owner of a 2020 Tesla Model Y? Did you opt for a Model Y equipped with the $1,000 Tow Hitch Package? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to both of these questions, then we’ve got news for you. Tesla and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have confirmed a recall over the Tesla Model Y’s trailer brake lights.

A picture taken on September 5, 2020 shows a "Tesla Model Y" car, an all-electric compact SUV by US electric car giant Tesla, during its presentation at the Automobile Club
The Tesla Model Y | ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

Why Tesla and the NHTSA are recalling the Tesla Model Y

According to documents published by the NHTSA, Tesla is recalling certain 2020 Model Y vehicles outfitted with a global rear lamp and the available tow package. Per Tesla, a software error currently prevents the illumination of the trailer brake lights.

“As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, ‘Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment,’” reads the remainder of the summary.

How did this problem come about? According to Tesla, “On August 10, 2020, Tesla introduced a new global rear lamp variant into production for Model Y. The new rear lamp variant introduced a new channel into the vehicle control module, which the software did not properly map to the integrated trailer control module.”

The problem was first reported to Tesla on August 22, 2020, when a Model Y owner said their trailer brake lights were inoperative. By September 21, 2020, Tesla’s engineering team had received a service escalation related to the customer’s report. The team immediately launched an investigation, identified the firmware issue, and created a fix. 

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How many vehicles are included in the recall?

There aren’t a massive number of vehicles included in the recall. In fact, according to the Safety Recall Report, 2,567 vehicles are currently being included.

Unfortunately, however, we don’t quite know how many Model Y SUVs Tesla has produced. According to Road Show, if Tesla delivered vehicles outfitted with these trailer brake lights, it could be a more significant recall than the numbers suggest.

Here’s what the next steps for Tesla owners look like

Fortunately for owners of the Model Y, the remedy for this recall is an easy one. Owners won’t even be required to take their cars to a service center to fix their trailer brake lights. 

Instead, Tesla says it has released an over-the-air software update. The software update will ultimately fix the problem for all Model Y owners and is free of charge. According to the NHTSA, the update began rolling out to impacted models last month.

If Model Y owners have questions or concerns about the recall, they are encouraged to call Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

Is the Tesla Model Y a good SUV?

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While it may have been recalled, U.S. News & World Report says that the “Tesla Model Y is a great electric SUV.” Not only does it offer more than 300 miles of driving range on a full charge, but it can also regain an extra hundred miles of range after a 10-minute stop at a Tesla Supercharger station. And, much like all Tesla models, it’s brimming with tech-savvy features, including a 15-inch touch screen display and Tesla’s Autopilot suite of driver assistance features.