The scathing report says Tesla knew about the faulty suspension but blamed customers

Recently, the topic of Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD systems has been the focus of safety regulators. However, the real danger for the owner can be a significantly less technically demanding and important part of the car: the suspension.

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Internal documents reviewed by Reuters show this car company is tracking failures in a number of parts that connect the wheels to its vehicles, leading to a recall in China and so many warranty repairs in Norway that executives said it could have bankrupted the company.

The documents show that Tesla internally labeled the parts as defective. However, Reuters reports that the automaker tried to push the cost of fixing them onto customers to reduce the financial impact, while also trying to convince investors that it could be profitable (and therefore valuable) in the long run.

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Read: Tesla recalls 2 million cars in US to make Autopilot ‘safer’

    The scathing report says Tesla knew about the faulty suspension but blamed customers

The problems have existed since the automaker’s early days, affecting parts such as axles, front links, rear links, half shafts and even steering racks. One repair analysis found that Tesla replaced 66,000 halfshafts between January 2021 and March 2022. During the same time period, it replaced the upper control arms on 120,000 vehicles worldwide.

Parts fail within months and blame customers

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Many parts failed within months of delivery, ensuring they remained within Tesla’s warranty period. However, internal memos reveal that the automaker instructed service technicians to attribute these failures primarily to inappropriate driving style or pre-existing damage in order to minimize repair costs.

Such was the frequency of suspension problems that in the fourth quarter of 2018 it suffered a loss of $263 million in repairs. During the same quarter, it was only able to generate a profit of $139 million. Regulators have noted these issues. There was a Tesla in China forced to recall their vehicles due to rear linkage failures in 2020. However, this did not lead to recalls in the US or Europe, as Tesla claimed that Chinese regulators were wrong. The company cited financial constraints as the reason for not challenging the government. Tesla has consistently attributed these problems to driver abuse and vehicle abuse, even though it knew the root cause was a design flaw.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the US safety regulator, is still looking at the first reference in Model S and X. The organization says it has received complaints from drivers that the component failed at highway speeds, but its investigation is ongoing as of 2020.

Knowingly sell cars with problems?

And this indicates a real problem with these weaknesses. Although Tesla has paid to fix many of the vehicles with these defects, a Reuters report suggests it has sold millions of cars with faulty parts that could lead to suspension failure while the vehicle was in motion, a major security risk for the driver.

While Tesla believes it has resolved these issues by early 2022, consumers are still facing recurring failures. This has led some individuals like Shreyansh Jain to decide to sell their vehicles. British owner Models there was a suspension collapse within just 24 hours and 185 km of taking delivery. Driving with his wife and three-year-old daughter, he unexpectedly lost control while turning into their neighborhood. He told Reuters that the car’s front right suspension had collapsed, resulting in a loud screeching sound as it came to a stop.

“They were absolutely petrified,” Jain said, referring to his wife and daughter. “If we were on a 70 mph freeway and that happened, it would be catastrophic.”

The Tesla required nearly 40 hours of labor to rebuild the suspension, replace the steering column and make other necessary repairs, as detailed in the comprehensive repair estimate. The total cost exceeded $14,000. Tesla refused to pay the bill “blaming the accident on ‘prior’ suspension damage.” A frustrated Jain eventually sold the car at a loss of $10,000 compared to its purchase price.

“I lost complete confidence in the car,” Jain said. His was a 2023 model year.

    The scathing report says Tesla knew about the faulty suspension but blamed customers