EV maker marked wheels breaking, flying off moving cars as ‘minor issue’

The way Tesla handles ‘flaws’ and ‘failures,’ by blaming drivers for defects such as collapsed suspensions and breaking axles has making headlines for years now. A new report now claims that Tesla knew of this constant failure and issue, and called it a minor issue

Recent revelations from internal documents obtained by Reuters shed light on Tesla’s handling of chronic “flaws” and “failures,” blaming drivers for defects such as collapsed suspensions and breaking axles, some leading to wheels flying off electric vehicles at highway speeds, as per a report by Reuters.

Tens of thousands of Tesla owners, even those with practically new vehicles, experienced suspension or steering failures in recent years, as disclosed in the newly obtained documents. Tesla engineers internally labelled these incidents as “flaws” and “failures.”

Despite this, the documents suggest that technicians were instructed to inform consumers that the issues were not due to faulty parts but were the result of drivers “abusing” their vehicles. This approach underscores the controversial stance of Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk in handling customer complaints.

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This news follows a July report by Reuters, revealing Tesla’s creation of a dedicated team to suppress driving range complaints and allegations of providing misleading “rosy” range numbers that do not reflect real-world performance.

Tesla has consistently refused to acknowledge suspension and steering problems when reporting to US regulators, instead placing blame on customers who often had to cover out-of-warranty repair costs.

The company is already under scrutiny after recalling over two million vehicles in the US due to concerns about the Autopilot driver assistance feature being prone to “driver misuse.”

One alarming incident highlighted in the documents involved a 2020 Model 3, where a “front wheel fell off” while driving on Autopilot at 60 mph, with unclear implications for the driver’s responsibility.

Another Tesla owner, whose brand-new Model Y’s suspension collapsed with just 115 miles on the odometer, was informed that he was responsible for the repair, despite the vehicle’s minimal usage.

While Tesla recalled similar suspension failures in China between 2016 and 2020, the same part remains unrecalled in the US and Europe, with the company attributing these failures to “driver abuse” to avoid warranty coverage.

The potential dangers of such failures, including loss of vehicle control and the risk of fire in the battery compartment, raise serious concerns, as highlighted by auto safety advocates.

Unlike Tesla’s recent Autopilot-related recall, which could be addressed with an over-the-air update, the latest report by Reuters suggests that the company faces numerous part failure-related issues that cannot be fixed with a simple software patch.

With the company’s tendency to blame drivers for vehicle failures and mounting repair costs, questions arise about whether these incidents are genuinely user error or if Tesla is attempting to minimize repair expenses amid rising costs.

Regardless, the damage to Tesla’s reputation appears significant, with numerous owners expressing a loss of trust in the brand. One Tesla owner noted, “It defeats the purpose of the high speed if you’re afraid that your front wheels are going to fall off if you accelerate quickly.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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