US investigation of Tesla steering problems is upgraded and now one step closer to a recall

A U.S. government investigation into steering problems with more than 334,000 Tesla electric vehicles is a step closer to a recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted Friday that it upgraded a 2023 investigation to an engineering analysis.

The probe was opened in July of last year after the agency received a dozen complaints about loss of steering control in 2023 Model Y and 3 vehicles. Now the agency says it has 115 complaints, and it received another 2,176 after requesting information from the company.

Agency documents say drivers are reporting loss of steering control, often accompanied by messages showing that power assisted steering has been reduced or disabled. Some complained of an inability to turn the steering wheel, while others said it required more effort.

In one case a driver told NHTSA that they couldn’t complete a right turn and ran into another vehicle.

The agency said there have been multiple allegations of Teslas blocking intersections or roadways. Over 50 vehicles had to be towed, according to the consumer complaints.

The agency said it is looking into possible steering rack failures.

Also emerging on Friday, Tesla is recalling nearly all of the vehicles it has sold in the U.S. because some warning lights on the instrument panel are too small.

Documents posted Friday by U.S. safety regulators say the recall will be done with an online software update. It covers the 2012 through 2023 Model S, the 2016 through 2023 Model X, the 2017 through 2023 Model 3, the 2019 through 2024 Model Y and the 2024 Cybertruck.

A message was left early Friday seeking comment from Tesla.

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