Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

Earlier in December 2023, Tesla recalled more than 2 million of its vehicles in the United States. This decision comes in response to safety concerns raised by a federal regulator regarding Tesla’s Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system.

This 2023 recall on Tesla Autopilot, the largest in Tesla’s history, seems to encompass nearly all Tesla vehicles currently on U.S. roads. According to Tesla’s recall filing, the current controls of the Autopilot software system may not be adequate to prevent misuse by drivers, potentially escalating the risk of accidents or serious injuries.

The specific Tesla models affected by this recall are:

  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model X
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Tesla Model Y

These models span almost every Tesla vehicle delivered since 2015, making this recall one of the most extensive in the company’s history. If you are a Tesla owner and unsure if your vehicle is affected, you can check if your Tesla has been recalled by running your VIN through Tesla’s recall search.

The recall comes as the outcome of a two-year probe by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which discovered flaws in Tesla’s driver monitoring system, necessitating a remedy. The system in question is designed to issue warnings to drivers if it is unable to sense any hand torque on the steering wheel. For years, experts have criticized this system as being ineffective.

auto pilot recall tesla

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    Tesla Autopilot Investigation

    The NHTSA initiated a probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system in August 2021, following the identification of over a dozen crashes involving Tesla vehicles and stationary emergency vehicles.

    The investigation was escalated in June 2022. The NHTSA found that the Autopilot system could potentially lead to foreseeable misuse due to inadequate driver engagement and usage controls. The NHTSA scrutinized 956 crashes where Autopilot was initially suspected to have been in use, focusing specifically on 322 crashes involving Autopilot.

    Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina, expressed that the software-only solution would be somewhat restricted. He pointed out that the recall seems to place an excessive amount of responsibility on human drivers, rather than addressing the system that enables such misuse.

    Since 2016, the NHTSA has launched over three dozen special crash investigations involving Tesla, in instances where driver systems like Autopilot were suspected of being in use. To date, 23 crash fatalities have been reported. Furthermore, the NHTSA’s investigation revealed that among the 43 crashes it scrutinized with comprehensive data at its disposal, 37 drivers were found to have their hands on the steering wheel just a second prior to the collision.

    tesla autopilot problems

    Tesla’s Solution to the Recall

    In response to the recall, Tesla plans to roll out an update to over 2 million of its vehicles in the U.S. This recall affects Model S, X, 3, and Y vehicles, including those manufactured as far back as 2012.The forthcoming update is dependent on the vehicle’s hardware and is designed to enhance the safety features of the Autopilot system. One of the key improvements will be the increased visibility of visual alerts.

    In addition to enhancing the visibility of visual alerts, the update will also simplify the process of engaging and disengaging the Autosteer function. This is a crucial feature of the Autopilot system that allows the vehicle to steer itself under certain conditions. By making this process more intuitive, Tesla aims to reduce the likelihood of misuse and potential accidents.

    If you own or lease a Tesla vehicle, here are some of the latest recalls that you should familiarize yourself with:

    Recall Date Details
    Autopilot Recall December 2023 Over 2 million vehicles were recalled due to safety concerns with the Autopilot system
    Rearview Camera Recall 2021 356,309 Model 3 vehicles from 2017-2020 were recalled to address issues with the rearview camera
    Front Hood Recall 2021 119,009 Model S vehicles were recalled due to problems with the front hood

    Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and there may be other recalls not mentioned here. If you’re a Tesla owner and unsure if your vehicle is affected, you can check if your Tesla has been recalled by running your VIN through Tesla’s recall search or through the VIN recall search tool provided by the NHTSA.

    tesla autopilot recall

    Have more questions about your case? Contact the California Tesla Lemon Law Experts

    In October 2023, Tesla revealed that it had received subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department in connection with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) and Autopilot systems. It was previously reported by Reuters in October 2022 that Tesla was the subject of a criminal investigation. These developments underscore the challenges Tesla faces in ensuring the quality and safety of its vehicles.

    As the California Lemon Law Experts of Consumer Law Experts PC, we specialize in dealing with cases related to vehicle recalls and defects. Our team of experienced attorneys is well-versed in the nuances of the California Lemon Law and has a proven track record of helping consumers get the justice they deserve.

    If you are a Tesla owner affected by this recall, you might have questions about your rights and potential remedies. The California Lemon Law provides protection to consumers who’ve purchased or leased a vehicle that turns out to be a “lemon.” If your Tesla vehicle is found to be defective, you could be entitled to a refund, replacement, or cash compensation.

    Have more questions about your case? Do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are committed to providing you with the highest level of service and will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Remember, our team does NOT get paid unless we win your case. Contact the Lemon Law Experts for a free, no-obligation consultation today.