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Tesla recalls over 120,000 Model S cars due to power steering issues

By William Gayde ยท 20 replies
Mar 30, 2018
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  1. It's been a bad week for Tesla. Their stock is tumbling, Moody's downgraded their credit rating, and they are under investigation by the NTSB. To make matters worse, they have just issued a massive recall for 123,000 Model S vehicles built before April 2016. The issue is with corrosion in the bolts that hold the power steering system together. Tesla issued the following statement:

    We have observed excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates, particularly those that frequently use calcium or magnesium road salts, rather than sodium chloride (table salt). Nonetheless, Tesla plans to replace all early Model S power steering bolts in all climates worldwide to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment.

    If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, but increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist. This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed.

    The company sent out e-mails to all registered owners that are affected by the recall and estimates that replacing the bolts will only take about an hour.

    This is the largest recall to date for Tesla and covers roughly half of all the Model S cars they have ever sold. Although it's unlikely that this bolt will corrode and could cause harm to the driver, Tesla is taking the responsible and legally required steps by issuing the recall.

    A Tesla spokesman was quick to point out that the Model S was previously found to have the lowest probability of injury of any car the US government has ever tested. The spokesman also said Tesla has not received any reports of injuries relating to this bolt issue.

    Tesla issued a recall back in 2016 for just over 50,000 vehicles due to parking brake issues and another in 2015 for 90,000 vehicles due to seat belt problems.

    With investors worried about Model 3 production numbers, Tesla's stock is down more than 25 percent in the past month. It also fell four percent as a result of this recall.

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,169   +2,609

    Musk is coming to you with a wrench and a bolt. Expect a door ring any moment.
  3. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 479   +317

    Garbage in, garbage out.
    senketsu and MoeJoe like this.
  4. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe Banned Posts: 837   +441

  5. Looks like the supplier of the component was at fault and covering the cost.

    25% down is pretty huge, hope they get there production issues figured out.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Musk likely got a big discount on the substandard hardware... Say it ain't so.
  7. Or the supplier of the bolts didn't deliver what they were meant too and they have now been held accountable.... which is why they have to pay.
    dms96960 likes this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Once upon a time, I said they wouldn't get all the Model 3's delivered when promised, and that seems like it will prove to be accurate.

    "We have observed excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates, particularly those that frequently use calcium or magnesium road salts, rather than sodium chloride (table salt)".

    Oddly, with respect to preserving concrete, both magnesium and calcium salts (chlorides), are way easier on concrete than sodium chloride, with magnesium chloride being the least destructive of the three.

    Don't have any idea what that has to do with their effect on ferrous metals, so consider it a "fun factoid".

    The simple fact of the matter is, harsher climates have more residual salt on the roads, and sodium chloride won't work lower than 20 F. Why spread it around, if it won't melt the snow or ice present? That does sort of explain why the sodium compound doesn't seem to cause as much damage, because there simply isn't anywhere near as much of it in the deicing mix.

    Trust me, autos which are parked in oceanside areas, have the chrome peeling off them years before those parked in Arizona.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Dude, you know "the Great and Powerful Musk", won't need the wrench. He'll just run his mouth until the bolts replace themselves, or he leaves, whichever come first.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
    VitalyT likes this.
  10. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,169   +2,609

    I thought that was Chuck Norris.
  11. TheGrayGhost

    TheGrayGhost TS Rookie

    The problem was the design - the engineers stupidly chose mismatched bolt and thread combo. Totally Tesla's fault. If it were a supplier issue, I GUARANTEE that Tesla would have trumpeted that fact. Tesla lies.
  12. TheGrayGhost

    TheGrayGhost TS Rookie

    Tesla is facing a boatload of problems, all of their own making. Lawsuits, poor design (the incredibly stupid dash touchscreen), unlawful labor practices, poor quality, horrendous debt,
    you name it.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Nonsense.. Musk could put out enough serial lies, deceptive claims, fabrications, exaggerations, and flat out bullsh!t, to have Chuck Norris and Tony Robbins sitting in a corner sucking their thumbs while completely speechless

  14. I read it was to do with an issue around aluminium vs steel where they expected the bolts to perform better than they did.

    I know Tesla cop a lot of crap but having been in a model S again recently they are one awesome car.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Right. I think it's called "galvanic corrosion", and here's a treatise about the subject:

    This is far from new issue. The primary example of dissimilar metal corrosion is in motorcycles, due to the fact the engine cases are always aluminum because of weight issues were they steel.

    My 71 Honda 350 was a massive PitA, due to cheap non-hardened steel in the case screws, against the cases which threaded directly into the aluminum. With bikes, you have to reassemble with an anti-seizing compound, or face the same corrosion issues in the future, if it needs to come apart again. Honda used dead soft steel screws, and once they corrode, you have to use an impact screwdriver, (a screwdriver you hit with a hammer to develop high rotational torque), for disassembly, which always used to want to strip out the Phillips head screws. The screws simply couldn't be removed with a standard hand turned screwdriver.

    Although, I kind of disagree with Tesla about sodium salt being less caustic than the others mentioned. Given the climatic issues they mentioned, sodium chloride likely wasn't present in high quantity in the brine, because it simply won't melt ice at much below 20 F.
  16. Yeah 100% galvanic corrosion is the issue, I do remember this being an issue (my mini) as well but seems like a dumb issue in 2018... well 2016.

    In saying that my Euro has been recalled 3 times for power steering pump and air bag issues.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Yeah, there are wide variety of anti-seizing compounds available. Here's the old standby "Loctite's", selections: http://www.loctite.com.au/lubrication-anti-seize-4096.htm
    Recalls are an industry wide concern, and also fairly common.

    Musk's extreme self promotion and extravagant claims about his product's superiority, are bound to generate more blow back than those of say Ford Motors. I'm not making a value judgment here, just stating that an excess of fame can blow up in your face..

    Ford Motors doesn't really have a readily recognizable "face of their product", but Tesla most certainly does.

    I would say, that when dealing with potential galvanic corrosion issues, the extra step of a protective compound is imperative to prevent future issues. But, when the bean counters get a hold of the potential costs of that extra step on the assembly line, caution may be cast aside in favor of cost savings.

    Or maybe, the grunts in the trenches get lazy sometimes.
  18. koblongata

    koblongata TS Booster Posts: 133   +34

    The more I look at the comment section the more I worry about myself, there are amazing amount of losers here.....
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Get out while you still can, or contribute something really worthwhile, as only you apparently think you can. :D

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +695

    Well at least they are being proactive about it... better than GM trying to hide and cover things up (ignition switch failure).
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,159   +3,468

    Now don't be picking on "poor" Chevrolet Motors. You're perhaps not old enough to remember the exploding Ford "Pinto". You ram one in the back, and the gas tank went up in flames. That was hard to ignore, but Ford did so for quite a while.

    Mr. Musk's constant maintenance of high profile would tend to bring the heat down on the company quickly. 120,000 vehicles being recalled, isn't really a big deal, if compared against a maker with say, 7,000,000 vehicles sold per annum.

    In fact, I've "lived in the big city", all my life, and I remember the joy owning and trying to park vehicles not even equipped with power steering. Good times, good times, although probably not an ideal situation for an elderly woman driver trying to wrestle a 6,000 Lb. Tesla into a parking spot.

    Still, you have at least consider, that 25 cents worth of "Never-Seize" at the time of assembly, would have prevented, or at least mitigated the issue somewhat.

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