Defective Product Attorney: Tesla’s Loose Caliper Bolts Led to Recall of About 6,000 Vehicles

June 25, 2021 - Product Liability

Tesla is recalling nearly 6000 defective cars because brake caliper bolts could be loose, with the potential to cause a loss of tire pressure, documents made public on about Tesla Defects show.

The recall covers certain 2019-2021 Model 3 vehicles and 2020-2021 Model Y vehicles. Tesla’s filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it had no reports of crashes or injuries related to the issue and that the company will inspect and tighten, or replace, the caliper bolts as necessary.

Tesla said that loose caliper bolts could allow the brake caliper to separate and contact the wheel rim, which could cause a loss of tire pressure. The loss of tire pressure could be catastrophic at highway speeds. The filing with NHTSA said Tesla was made aware in December of a field incident involving a 2021 Model Y vehicle with a missing fastener on the driver-side rear brake caliper.

Experienced product liability attorneys routinely handle cases against companies like Tesla who have repeat recalls and product defect claims. In February 2021, Tesla recalled vehicles because of touch-screen defects.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla on Jan. 13 to recall 158,716 of its Model S and X electric vehicles after it concluded that media control unit failures were increasingly common in aging Tesla vehicles, and posed significant safety issues.

“The affected vehicles in the Defect Information Report don’t include vehicles that have already been repaired with a) a service part with the 64GB eMMC; or b) an upgraded touchscreen,” a NHTSA representative said in an e-mail to CNBC Tuesday when asked about the discrepancy between its recall figure and Tesla’s.

“The eMMC controller wear-out condition can cause the loss of the rearview camera display, defrost/defog control settings, and exterior turn signal lighting, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of a crash,” NHTSA said.

In a message to owners of the affected vehicles early Tuesday morning, and obtained by CNBC, Tesla wrote:

“Tesla has decided to voluntarily recall certain Model S and Model X vehicles built before March 2018 that are equipped with an 8GB embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) in the media control unit because the eMMC may malfunction due to accumulated wear… If a malfunction occurs, you may experience a persistent blank center display that does not recover after restarting the touchscreen, loss of certain functionalities, and/or a vehicle alert to contact Service.”

As is common with auto manufacturers who face repeated claims of defect and product liability, Tesla vice president of legal Al Prescott denied the company’s vehicles contained any Tesla Defects.

“Tesla recognizes that even when a component is not designed to last the life of the vehicle, a defect may still be found if it wears prematurely. However, that is not the case here,” Prescott said. “NHTSA’s anachronistic regulations are unfit for situations where there is no safety defect, but nevertheless the manufacturer immediately can improve vehicle performance, including safety performance, without the cumbersome need for physical repair.”

Owners of defective cars said the display on their media-control units would sometimes go blank, in part or entirely. The touchscreen issues interfered with drivers’ ability to use heat, air conditioning, defrost and defogging systems or to use their rearview cameras and Tesla Autopilot features while parking and driving and left some feeling too frightened to use their defective Teslas.


Jonah Flynn has recovered millions for victims of defective products from coast to coast, and has handled cases involving defective cars, defective automobile seats, defective standing electric scooters, defective gas cans, defective gas-fed heaters, defective water heaters, defective industrial valves, other defective consumer and industrial products.

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