WASHINGTON DC – The National Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Friday it has opened a formal investigation of about 115,000 Tesla vehicles for a possible safety issue with the front suspension.
The car safety regulator said it was opening a preliminary evaluation of the 2015-2017 Model S and 2016 and 2017 Model X cars, after receiving about 43 complaints alleging front suspension failures.
Tesla had already issued a service bulletin in February 2017 in which it described a factory condition that could result in front suspension failure, the regulatory agency said.
The 2017 bulletin said that some vehicles have parts in the front suspension that may not meet Tesla specifications for strength. In case of failures, the driver must maintain control of the vehicle, but the tire could touch the body of the car.
The NHTSA said 32 complaints involved failures that occurred during slow-speed parking maneuvers, while 11 occurred while driving the cars. Another 8 complaints could involve the same problem, the NHTSA added.
The agency said that “complaints appear to indicate an increasing trend, with … three of the incidents at highway speeds reported in the past three months.”
Class action lawsuit
On November 20, a class action lawsuit was filed against Tesla in federal court in California for suspension problems on the S and X models, alleging defects that could result in premature failure of the front or rear suspension control arms.
In October, Tesla told NHTSA that it was recalling about 30,000 vehicles in China for front suspension problems at the request of Chinese regulators “because the environment in China requires stronger suspensions due to local road conditions.” . Tesla is also making an additional appeal to Model S cars in China for another rear suspension problem.
But Tesla told NHTSA that it did not believe there was any defect in the suspension and said it was not necessary to summon cars sold in the United States, calling the incident “exceedingly rare.” He added that he was not aware of any related accidents, injuries or deaths anywhere in the world.
Last week, the regulatory agency, NHTSA, said it was expanding a separate investigation of some nearly 159,000 Tesla Model S and X models.
The NHTSA had opened a preliminary assessment in June for flaws in the touch screen. The agency said the failure could result in the loss of images from the backup camera and that there was a reduction in visibility in the backup camera. The failure could impact the ability to remove fog and alarms related to the autopilot and turn signals.
That investigation now covers Model S from 2012 to 2018 and Model X from 2016 to 2018. The preliminary investigation covered some 63,000 Model S cars.