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Tesla recalls 135,000 cars in US over touchscreen software faults

3 months ago

Tesla is to recall around 135,000 cars in the US to fix major software faults.

Touchscreens on certain models have been failing which can disable rear-view and reversing cameras and indicators, and the windscreen demisters to malfunction.

The electric car maker said that it will recall certain 2012-2018 Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles to fix the problem.


Tesla was first notified of the issue by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on January 13, according to reports.

However, the company initially refused a request to recall the cars from the US safety regulator.

Last month the NHTSA started the process of taking Tesla to court to force the recall. But Tesla agreed last week to the fix the vehicles after getting a letter from the agency.

The recall was detailed in documents posted on the agency’s website.


The NHTSA said the fault comes from a centre display memory device which degrades over time to the point where it can no longer ‘maintain the integrity of the file system, causing a failure in some of the centre display functions’.

Signs of failing systems include longer-than-usual power-up times, and the screen freezing or remaining black.

Teslas running software older than version 2020.48.12 are vulnerable to further problems such as demisting faults and the loss of the indicators and rear camera.

According the the Washington Post, Tesla vice president of legal Al Prescott disputes the NHTSA conclusions and believes the touchscreen, given its average daily use, would be expected to last between five and six years.

Tesla says in documents it does not agree the failures are a safety defect but will replace the screens’ computer processors starting on March 30.

It’s unclear if cars from other markets including the UK are affected.

The announcement of the recall comes just days after the carmaker revealed the updated Model S and X which feature new touchscreens, tweaked styling and a new type of steering wheel for the Model S.



James Batchelor

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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