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2021 Model 3 Steering Column Side to Side Movement

I’ve had my Model 3 for a couple of months and noticed that the steering column seems to have a slight left-right movement to its. It’s small, but definitely noticeable. No matter how in/out or up/down I set the wheel, it’s still evident.

I had Tesla service look at it but they said they had to work with their Engineering team to determine what the issue could be and when (or if?) they figured out the issue, they would advise on whether or not it can be fixed or if the steering column has to be replaced. They said the car was safe to drive, which it seems to be, but still leaves something to be desired.

The service advisor told me this is the first time he’d seen this issue.

Anyone else have this issue and if so, what was the fix?
 
Had this, presented as a knock while turning on roundabouts, SC replaced steering rack. Much better than before but still has slight left to right play, knock seems to have gone but only driven 50 miles since replacement. Seemed like they knew what it was as they had the part in stock and didn’t question my diagnosis.
 
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Had this, presented as a knock while turning on roundabouts, SC replaced steering rack. Much better than before but still has slight left to right play, knock seems to have gone but only driven 50 miles since replacement. Seemed like they knew what it was as they had the part in stock and didn’t question my diagnosis.

I haven’t had any type of noise or knocking at any part of the turning radius. Glad to hear they’re willing to replace the part(s) as needed. I’ve just never had this type of issue. Not even on really crappy old cars I’ve had. Seems like this shouldn’t be an issue that passes QC.
 
Had this, presented as a knock while turning on roundabouts, SC replaced steering rack. Much better than before but still has slight left to right play, knock seems to have gone but only driven 50 miles since replacement. Seemed like they knew what it was as they had the part in stock and didn’t question my diagnosis.

Forgot to ask.. are you ok with the steering column having any play in at all? I’m going to have a very difficult time accepting it if they end up not fixing it if they declare it “within tolerance.”
 
UPDATE: I ended up having the issue looked at by a mobile ranger who agreed it needed to be looked at in the shop. I took the car into a local Tesla shop, they looked at it and said the issue exists, but they had to get some guidance from their internal Engineering team. A couple of weeks later, they had me bring the car back in and they replaced the steering column. They stated the issue was related to some type of connection point/joint in the steering column. Needless to say, the steering column is rock solid now, no matter what position it is in, as it should be from the factory without excuse. The cheapest cars I’ve ever had never had this issue, so it was disappointing to experience this issue on a $50k car. None the less, my persistence paid off and the issue is resolved.
 

holeydonut

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Jun 27, 2020
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East Bay NorCal
My '18 does the same thing. I brought it up to mobile service in the first month and he said it was within tolerance. It has not gotten worse in 37,000 miles. It sounds like it wiggles left and right just like yours. Not something I feel when driving, only when getting in and out of the car.


Lol "within tolerance" and "within spec" on clearly poorly assembled components is such BS.

I dunno why so many Tesla supporters feel Tesla owners need to tolerate sub-standard stuff coming out of Fremont. The old NUMMI plant wouldn't have tolerated some of this, but it's ok 10 years later. Makes no sense.

Glad Tesla actually repaired ijoe13's car.
 
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I kept pushing them that it wasn’t “normal” for a steering column to move / wiggle AT ALL. Especially on a $50k+ car. I told them our $18k Chevy hatchback didn’t have this type of issue and kept pushing. It’s completely unacceptable for this type of issue to “be within tolerance.” This is a highlight of sub par build quality by Tesla and needs to be remidiated EVERY TIME. Keep pushing the issue and ask to escalate your conversation with the Tesla service team / managers, etc. Also, tweet about it and tag Tesla and Elon. If all else fails, bringing more attention to this type of wider issue is what may be required.
 

holeydonut

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
3,244
2,630
East Bay NorCal
Ask to have him show you the same wiggle on several random cars on their lot, including brand news ones.

That always makes them change their tune.


Lol, but what happens if other new cars are wiggling... they'll use the super-shoddy construction to validate the shoddy construction as "normal".

I haven't seen/felt this steering issue in person before, but is it severe enough to cause any hiccups when turning the wheel while driving? Like does going lock to lock have a hiccup or stop? Or maybe during a lane change it'll jolt in your hands?

For example, here's a GM item involving "sticky steering". not sure if the Tesla issue has a similar symptom, but if you feel it affects your ability to provide reliable steering input, it's worth a consideration to document your observation.


Don't get me wrong, a "crappy" steering wheel feel isn't by itself grounds for a NHTSA recall. It's just poor build/shoddy manufacturing. BMW's and Kias have recently had issues with poor (sticky) steering feel, but the NHTSA rejected those as safety concerns since they didn't result in accidents. So without a crash, NHTSA probably won't care about some jerky Tesla steering wheels. But normal car steering wheels should feel pretty solid. That mechanism is supposed to be one of the most robust parts of the car since it typically has interaction for 100% of all miles travelled.
 
Having the same issue on my M3 2021 (delivered on Dec 27 2021) - excessive side to side movement and a knocking sensation when making sharp turns. It took me multiple attempts and even a service center change for Tesla to acknowledge this as an abnormal issue and now my new SC has ordered the a replacement steering column and will replace it in about a month. Super annoying that it took so long, but glad that my new SC is finally do something about it. I was literally close to sell my car because of this issue since it bothers me when driving spirited quite a lot.

For those of you who got theirs replaced - which exact part did they replace?

My text conversation with them said they ordered a replacement "steering rack", but the actual estimate says they ordered:
1 x AIRBAG HARNESS RETAINING CLIP (1028053-00-A)
1 x ELECTRIC STEERING COLUMN, LEFT HAND DRIVE (1044811-00-H)
 
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See attached
3E367A0C-E33C-4C55-BC23-DC3988F62F4B.jpeg
 

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