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Tesla Issues A Rare Physical Recall For A Model Y Back Seat Issue

Although by now it might seem that Tesla is issuing a recall for its vehicles every other week, most recalls are benign software issues addressed by an over-the-air software update. However, today, Tesla has issued a rare physical recall for improperly torqued bolts fastening the second-row seat back of the Model Y.

Given Tesla’s fast-paced and innovative company culture, the EV maker is known for being a trailblazer in rolling out first-of-their-kind features in the automotive world. A few such examples include the company’s autopilot software and the ability to control various vehicle functions from a phone.

And as a function of being the first one to implement new capabilities, from time to time, Tesla had to roll back new features, be it voluntarily or through a recall mandated by a regulatory organization.

However, lucky for Tesla, given the company’s software prowess and the connected nature of all its vehicles, the EV maker is able to implement most “recalls” through an over-the-air software update.

One such example is a recent Tesla recall over autopilot features which slightly bend the law in an attempt to make driving feel more natural. These include allowing drivers to set the speed limit a few miles higher than the official limit, or that autopilot when, like most drivers do, approaching a stop sign, slows down rather than come to a complete stop.

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The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended that Tesla remove these features. At the time a lot of publications reported that Tesla will be recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles however since it’s simply an over-the-air update, Tesla is able to do it through minimal effort and cost.

And if you have ever read an article titled stating Tesla is recalling a certain number of vehicles what they’re most likely referring to is that the EV maker will be sending out an over-the-air software update.

However, today, Tesla has issued a rare recall for a hardware issue that necessitates owners to bring their vehicles to a service center. The recall affects 3,470 Model Ys built between May 23, 2022, and February 5, 2023, and is due to a second-row seat back issue.

Tesla describes the issue in the official recall notice writing…

On Model Y vehicles, the second-row driver seat back frame (second-row driver-side and center seating positions) and the second-row passenger-side seat back frame (second-row passenger side seating position) are secured to the lower seat frame with 4 bolts per seat back. During the supplier's production of both seat back frames for certain Model Y vehicles, one or more of the bolts that secure the seat back frames to the lower seat frame may not have been torqued to specification.

Continuing Tesla describes the safety issue that can arise due to the improperly torqued bolts that hold the second-row seat backs writing…

The second-row seat belt system loads go through the lower seat frame. If the bolts that secure the frame to the seat back are not torqued to specification, the seat belt system may not perform as designed in a collision, which may increase the risk of an injury for occupants seated in affected second-row seating positions.

In addition to the safety issue, Tesla also says “a second-row seat back frame that has this condition may not fold properly or maybe loose and rattle during normal vehicle operations.”

Currently, Tesla has not identified any death or injury caused by the improperly torqued bolts, however, says it has received 5 warranty claims associated with this issue.

All Tesla stores and service centers have been informed of the issue since February 28 and the EV maker says owners should get a notification starting April 25.

As of now, this is all the information we have regarding the recall, however, we will be sure to keep you posted if further information comes out.

Until then, make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

Image: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

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Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.