Tesla’s third recall of the month affects an additional 320,000 vehicles

In brief: A software glitch has prompted yet another November safety recall for Tesla, this time for the Model 3 and Model Y lines of vehicles. According to the recall, the vehicles may experience intermittently illuminating taillights due to a firmware anomaly. The announcement follows two previous recalls this same month, affecting the electric vehicle maker’s Model S and Model X lineups.

The recall report was issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for specific 2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y electric vehicles. The report states that affected vehicles may experience randomly illuminating rear taillights on one or both sides of the vehicle, resulting in a potentially increased collision risk.

The random illumination is the result of a firmware anomaly causing false fault detections during the vehicle’s startup sequence. Based on the report’s defect description, these false detections appear isolated to the vehicle’s taillights and do not affect brake lamps, backup lamps, or turn signals.

The recall impacts 321,628 units, all of which were identified using specific manufacturing, configuration, and firmware records. Tesla’s firmware versions 2022.28 through 2022.40.4 were identified as the cause of the anomaly. The most recent version, 2022.40.4.1, appears to be unaffected and is excluded from the recall.

While recalls are not uncommon, this latest news marks another ding in an already busy recall month for Tesla. Earlier this month, the NHTSA released recall information for 2017-2021 Tesla Model S and X vehicles to address power steering assist failures that occurred after driving on rough roads or hitting potholes.

The second recall of the month, announced just prior to the firmware issue above, identified front passenger airbag calibration and deployment issues affecting almost 30,000 units. According to the report’s description, a restraint control module calibration on certain 2021 to 2023 Model X vehicles may result in the airbag deploying in an unintended and non-compliant configuration during a low-speed collision.

The airbag-related safety recall coincided with a 3% drop in Tesla’s share prices, bringing the EV maker’s stock value to its lowest point in two years.

Tesla is addressing the issues related to all three recalls using their over-the-air software updates. The hands-off approach allows the recall issues to be resolved far more quickly than typical physical vehicle recalls that require appointment scheduling and hands-on remediation.

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