According to the NHTSA‘s investigation overview, the steering issue is “frequently accompanied by driver-facing messages indicating that power steering assist is reduced or disabled.” One of the complaints dated April 22, 2023, claimed that restarting the car only partially restored the steering capability, but in other cases, it took multiple attempts. In another complaint (ID: 11520831) dated May 5, 2023, the driver wrote “car steering felt stuck and slid off the road which resulted in crashing into a tree.” Notably, Tesla’s lane assistance and emergency features are also said to have malfunctioned in this incident. In other cases, the steering wheel allegedly either became too stiff or locked entirely.
For many of owners, full or partial functionality was restored following a restart or multiple on-off attempts. However, most of the affected Tesla owners have flagged the risk of getting stuck in a sensitive traffic or highway scenario that could not only spell trouble for their own safety, but also for other vehicles around them. This won’t be the first steering-related issue plaguing Tesla’s electric SUV in recent memory. In June 2023, Tesla recalled a batch of Model Y cars over steering wheel problems. Three months prior to that, the NHTSA launched an investigation over an issue where the steering wheel quite literally fell off while driving, a flaw that covered approximately 120,000 Model Y cars of the 2023 cycle.