Tesla recalls Model X, Model Y for separate issues, both assembly-related

Tesla is issuing recalls for the Model X and Model Y electric crossovers over separate issues—both related to errors during assembly.

The Model X recall, which affects 9,136 cars, addresses improperly-fitted "cosmetic appliqué" pieces at the front of the roof just behind the windshield, and at the center of the roof between the upper Falcon door roof-glass panels. These pieces are attached with urethane, which requires a layer of primer for proper adhesion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety recall report.

A sufficient layer of primer may not have been applied on the affected vehicles, which could cause the appliqué pieces to separate over time, according to the report. No crashes or injuries related to the problem have been reported, but the NHTSA said trim pieces separating while driving could create a "road hazard." Cars shedding parts at speed is generally not a good thing, after all.

2020 Tesla Model X

2020 Tesla Model X

The recall includes Model X crossovers built from September 17, 2015 to July 31,2016—the earliest vehicles built. Tesla Service will perform a retention test on the affected components. If they fail the test, primer will be applied to remedy the issue. These services will be performed free of charge.

The Model Y recall addresses bolts connecting suspension front upper control arm and the steering knuckle, which may not have been torqued to proper specification, according to the accompanying report. This could cause the upper control arm to unseat from the steering knuckle, creating excessive positive or negative camber and affecting steering, the report said.

As with the Model X recall, no crashes or injuries related to this problem have been reported, but the steering issue could affect the driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle, the report said.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

This recall affects 401 Model Y crossovers built between August 28, 2020 and November 6, 2020. Tesla will inspect the bolts, and tighten them if necessary, free of charge.

Tesla will notify owners when it is ready to begin inspections of the affected vehicles. Owners can also call Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752, and reference recall SB-20-31-012 for the Model Y, or SB-20-12-005 for the Model X. Alternatively, owners can visit safercar.gov or call the NHTSA hotline at 1-800-424-9153. The agency's reference numbers are 20V709000 for the Model Y recall, and 20V7010000 for the Model X recall.

These issues sound like they relate to what Consumer Reports data pointed to earlier this month—a host of assembly and cosmetic issues that brought Tesla's reliability ratings down.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range electric car, road test in greater Atlanta area, Feb 2018

2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range electric car, road test in greater Atlanta area, Feb 2018

But Tesla build quality has been a moving target and has fluctuated over time. The first Model 3 we saw had "appalling" build quality, but later cars we've seen have been quite good except for minor panel issues.

Not all Tesla recalls have been due to assembly issues, either.

One of Tesla's largest recalls yet was due to steering-bolt corrosion in the Model S, while another was triggered by power-steering issues in the Model X.

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