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Steering Rack Errors and Replacement [car out of warranty]

Just had a frustrating experience with Tesla service. I really love the car but I was left feeling wronged after the following events. I am wondering if I am alone in this.

I own an October 2018 Model 3. Since the purchase of the car, I would sometimes get a cascade of errors, indicating the various systems in the car were disabled. These were fairly rare — maybe one series of faults every two or three monthx — and would go away after a reset. I thought were linked to software upgrades.

However, in March 2021, things changed; I started getting one repetitive alert, that my “steering assist” was faulting. I brought the car into Tesla and was told the “steering gear control” had “communication issues” and the steering rack needed to be replaced Parts and labor added up to $2,001.

No physical damage was noted...this was purely a computer chip failure. So I am at a loss as to why this is not a quality issue that falls on Tesla? Why should the electronics fail two and a half years in and why should that defect be charged to the consumer? I was told the warranty ends after two years and I was out of luck.

I am wondering if I am alone in this defect or if others are experiencing the same. $2,000 is a heavy hit.
Sorry to hear. I’m sad to hear when this happens as communication is often sacrificed when centers are overloaded...

I see nothing in the warranty docs (https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/tesla-new-vehicle-limited-warranty-en-us.pdf) which would exclude this issue, as you’re describing. I would ask for detailed description of why they believe this is not under 4 year basic warranty, eg excessive wear due to use in Motorsport, rodent damage in wiring, etc.

There are also options in that doc for dispute resolution if you remain unsatisfied.


Active Member
Supporting Member
69,000 miles. That appears to be the basis for not covering the issue. Do I have any other recourse?

All you can do is ask for them to cover it as goodwill, but by all rights and measures, you are indeed out of warranty. Unfortunately, things do break; it's not pleasant when it happens, but it happens with everything ... even the best built of equipment. Not just cars, either - I've seen multi-million dollar mainframes with all kinds of horrific failures.


Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
Riverside Co. CA
69,000 miles. That appears to be the basis for not covering the issue. Do I have any other recourse?

Not that I am aware of. Reading your story, and the way you phrased it "isnt this a quality issue?" instead of "why isnt this covered under warranty?" I was fairly certain that your car was likely out of warranty, because otherwise it would have been covered.

What you are basically asking is " My car is out of warranty and this item failed, why do I have to pay for it?"

Unless you have some sort of extended warranty, you should expect to pay for all service on your vehicle, since its out of warranty, unless its a recall situation.
Yes, I was asking as I suspect that if an electronic part that does not move fails after 2.5 years, Tesla has a quality control issue. And, if that is the case, I would imagine there are others like me out there.

As I wrote, I was asking whether, indeed, others have seen the same issue emerge. If so, that would seem to be important.

I love my Tesla and what the firm has done to driving. It is fun again. But I do not love expensive parts failing when they should not, whether they be in or out of warranty.
The electronic side of the ABS module on my BMW E90 failed a year out of warranty, a new part was £1750 + fitment. I bought a second hand unit and fitted it myself. A month later the steering column produced a fault and BMW said it needed replacing at £1000. Again, I removed it, worked out the issue and repaired it myself. It sucks, especially if you have to pay for the repairs.

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