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NHTSA Data Shows that Tesla has the Least Amount of Recalls

Based on public data released by NHTSA, Tesla has had the least amount of vehicle recalls compared to other large car manufacturers from early 2020 to 2022. (source: Reuters)

In addition to this, over one-third of their recalls are solved by over-the-air software updates, making Tesla the only car company currently focusing on solving hardware issues through software.


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Good news! It would be nice to see a categorization of the recalls. Many of them are for fairly trivial issues while some are much more significant. Good examples of recalls on cars I’ve owned:
- metal trim on the speaker grille for an Audi that could come loose
- the seatbelt warning chime on the Model Y will sometimes not chime
- an issue with the fuel rail in a VW that could cause it to come loose.
The first two are trivial and annoying. The last one was obviously much more critical; I’m really not too worried about the trivial ones.

Tesla has 2 big advantages over the legacy carmakers in this arena. The design of an EV means fewer critical parts to trigger a recall and at the same time a higher likelihood of being able to remedy the recall with a software patch. Couple that with OTA updates that Tesla leverages and many people get their recalls ’fixed’ without even knowing about it (And without it costing Tesla a significant amount of money)
 
That’s a nice graphic, I’m particularly happy to see a few other cars had OTA fixes.

Still, how many more car models are there compared to Tesla’s #? I guess recalls in that time frame could very well be for VW’s or GM cars from 2010 or even earlier? Maybe not so much cars that old, you’d think they were all sorted out by now.

Keep in mind that Tesla pushes the envelope and sometimes has to re-seal that envelope. Like rolling stops or the boombox thing. I was impressed how quickly that one FSD beta (around 10.6 I think?) went out and was fixed before I got in my car to try it. Impressed AND annoyed :) .
 
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In addition to this, over one-third of their recalls are solved by over-the-air software updates, making Tesla the only car company currently focusing on solving hardware issues through software.

Uhhhh nooooo…

A hardware issue is, plain and simple, something mechanically or physically defective / fails early / etc. Like, the brake cylinder fails due to salt corrosion. Maybe repeated opening and closing of the trunk can break the cable that transmits the camera's image to the center display…

If it’s a hardware issue no amount of software will fix it.
 
Uhhhh nooooo…

A hardware issue is, plain and simple, something mechanically or physically defective / fails early / etc. Like, the brake cylinder fails due to salt corrosion. Maybe repeated opening and closing of the trunk can break the cable that transmits the camera's image to the center display…

If it’s a hardware issue no amount of software will fix it.
I wonder how some of the recalls are classified. Do they call the heat pump recall a HW or SW recall? They fixed it via SW but I wonder if they classify it as a HW failure?

Not arguing with your logic here, just got me curious how they actually designate some of these things when it’s really a HW part but can be fixed via SW.
 
I wonder how some of the recalls are classified. Do they call the heat pump recall a HW or SW recall? They fixed it via SW but I wonder if they classify it as a HW failure?

Not arguing with your logic here, just got me curious how they actually designate some of these things when it’s really a HW part but can be fixed via SW.

I would presume that if it is not functioning as intended due to SOFTWARE instructions (like turning on or off at the wrong time, etc) then it’s a software problem.

If it is mechanically problematic (e.g., suspension bolts not secured properly) it’s hardware.
 
I would presume that if it is not functioning as intended due to SOFTWARE instructions (like turning on or off at the wrong time, etc) then it’s a software problem.

If it is mechanically problematic (e.g., suspension bolts not secured properly) it’s hardware.
Yeah makes sense to me. Just got me thinking when it said Tesla was the only company focusing on solving HW issues via SW. Thanks.
 
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Uhhhh nooooo…

A hardware issue is, plain and simple, something mechanically or physically defective / fails early / etc. Like, the brake cylinder fails due to salt corrosion. Maybe repeated opening and closing of the trunk can break the cable that transmits the camera's image to the center display…

If it’s a hardware issue no amount of software will fix it.
True - you can compensate for a mechanical issue with software, but not fix it. Still, if the other manufacturers could do an OTA update I have no doubt they would. It's significantly cheaper to do that than to pay for time at the dealer. Like I said above, part of it is the fact that Teslas are more software dependent than ICE cars as well as the fact that Tesla pioneered OTA updates. Even now, few other makers are doing them.
 
True - you can compensate for a mechanical issue with software, but not fix it. Still, if the other manufacturers could do an OTA update I have no doubt they would. It's significantly cheaper to do that than to pay for time at the dealer. Like I said above, part of it is the fact that Teslas are more software dependent than ICE cars as well as the fact that Tesla pioneered OTA updates. Even now, few other makers are doing them.

That symbiotic relationship is slowly dying. I have no doubt recalls generate other sales…parts, miscellaneous items, and yes even trade-ins and new cars…etc.
 
That symbiotic relationship is slowly dying. I have no doubt recalls generate other sales…parts, miscellaneous items, and yes even trade-ins and new cars…etc.
One of the ways Tesla has been (trying to) disrupt the industry is by shaking up the dealership model but it's been difficult because there are laws in many states actually protecting it. In another thread about the Mach E, someone said a dealer actually told them they make very little money on car sales and most of their money on service so they were marking up the Mach E's because they don't need as much service.
 
One of the ways Tesla has been (trying to) disrupt the industry is by shaking up the dealership model but it's been difficult because there are laws in many states actually protecting it.

Typical business practice. It’s the cycle.

What was once viewed as an important enough social construct (the dealer model) to be protected by laws is now viewed as a dinosaur.
 
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They’ve had tons. Recalls are not a new way for government to torture companies, but a longstanding way to force them to do right by you (the consumer) and other people on the road.

“The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (originally enacted in 1966 and now recodified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301) gives the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to issue vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards.”
 
My point is give Tesla a break. Most of their 'recalls' are software fixable, and only exist in the first place because they always push the envelope (probably because they know they can just pull back a bit when they go too far.)
At least one of them (the rolling stop) was a conscious decision made after receiving initial government approval, as I understand it. Another recent recall was for the seatbelt warning chime. Both of these are essentially software bugs and pretty trivial, IMO.
 
At least one of them (the rolling stop) was a conscious decision made after receiving initial government approval, as I understand it. Another recent recall was for the seatbelt warning chime. Both of these are essentially software bugs and pretty trivial, IMO.

Also the boombox changed to in Park only. I guess poor unsuspecting pedestrians would hear an ice cream truck instead of a whirring sound. Musk tweeted something about 'fun police' on that one. Its a software update, so its trivial.
 
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…and only exist in the first place because they always push the envelope (probably because they know they can just pull back a bit when they go too far.)

That’s just it, that attitude will undoubtedly result in a software decision that will actually kill someone. It’s a bad attitude to have when approaching many things with severe consequences. It’s one thing if the polytopia game has a bug. It’s another when someone dies. No one ever resurrected a dead person via software.

At least one of them (the rolling stop) was a conscious decision made after receiving initial government approval, as I understand it. Another recent recall was for the seatbelt warning chime. Both of these are essentially software bugs and pretty trivial, IMO.

Approval by whom? For what? Was it solely in that organization’s scope to approve and NO ONE ELSE? Generally every state’s traffic laws are not overridden by DoT…so yeah, maybe they didn’t object but it doesn’t mean they can indemnify Tesla from everyone else either.
 
That’s just it, that attitude will undoubtedly result in a software decision that will actually kill someone. It’s a bad attitude to have when approaching many things with severe consequences. It’s one thing if the polytopia game has a bug. It’s another when someone dies. No one ever resurrected a dead person via software.

I don't look at it that way. If a guy saves 10 people from a burning building then turns and shoots one of them in the head, society benefited from his existence (though he goes to jail for murder because life isn't valued mathematically).

Tesla's attitude is saving more drivers than they are killing, and by a long shot. There's always room for improvement, of course.
 
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Tell that to the family of the person who died because of a “trivial software update”... I do hope if you have a family they will find that excuse to be of little solace.
I doubt anyone died because of the bug in the seatbelt warning chime, and the rolling stop code was still more conservative than every other car on the road. I don't think anyone needs any solace.