The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into Tesla on Wednesday after receiving reports of Model Y steering wheels detaching from their respective columns.
Documents published on Wednesday by NHTSA say that it's aware of two separate incidents involving 2023 Tesla Model Y vehicles where the steering wheel detached completely from the steering column while the cars were being driven.
In both instances, the Model Ys in question were delivered without the retaining bolt necessary for securing the wheel to the column. The documents say that both incidents occurred at low vehicle mileage.
NHTSA says its investigation, formally launched March 4, applies to an estimated 120,000-plus vehicles.
@elonmusk @TeslaOwnersWW @BLKMDL3 Family was excited to receive Tesla Y delivery on 1/24/2023. Was driving on highway and all the sudden steering wheel fall off, was lucky enough there was no car behind and I was able to pull on devider #SafetyFirst #Fixit #TeslaModelY #help pic.twitter.com/4UMokFA2cv
— Prerak & Neha Patel (@preneh24) January 30, 2023
One of the complaints noted in the NHTSA document, according to the Associated Press, can be traced back to a now-viral tweet that shows video of the detached wheel and the vehicle getting towed. The owner was originally charged $103.96 to repair the wheel before Tesla removed the charge. The owner was issued a new Model Y shortly after, The Verge reports.
The investigation comes just a few weeks after Tesla was forced to recall 362,000 cars over its faulty self-driving beta system, which NHTSA determined could increase the risk of a crash when in use. That's just the latest in a long line of Tesla recalls that span all the way back to the 2012 model year.
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