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Tesla Model X Recalled; Owners Should Install Software Update

Consumer Reports 11/18/2022 Keith Barry

The front passenger airbag does not comply with a safety standard, and will get a software-based fix

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Tesla Model X

Research

By Keith Barry

Tesla issued a recall for the 2021 to 2023 Model X SUV because its front passenger airbags might not meet a specific federal vehicle safety standard. The problem is fixable through an over-the-air software update that Tesla says it has already released, free of charge. Owners should accept this software update.

According to documents provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in certain low-speed crashes the airbag might not deploy in a way that complies with safety standards regarding children who are not wearing seat belts and who are not sitting in a proper position.

Tesla told NHTSA that it’s not aware of any crashes or injuries related to this recall and that it discovered the issue during routine compliance testing.

Tesla has also used OTA updates to address recalls for faulty heat pumps and window switches; disabling the Boombox feature, which didn’t meet safety standards; preventing cars from rolling through stop signs while so-called Full Self-Driving software is active; and turning on seat belt chimes that might not sound. 

These updates are becoming more common as new vehicles increasingly feature built-in wireless connections. In addition to Tesla, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, and others have used over-the-air updates to address product recalls. This underscores the importance of accepting OTA updates. Many are done to optimize or add features, but sometimes they can address an important safety concern.

Learn more about car recalls.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: 29,348 Tesla Model X SUVs from the 2021 to 2023 model years.

The problem: Due to a software issue, the passenger airbag might not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208, sections 21.4 and 23.4. This standard has to do with protecting children who are not wearing seat belts and who are not seated in a proper position if the car is involved in a low-speed crash.

The fix: Tesla sent a software update to vehicles that will update the airbag controller and bring it within safety standards.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners may contact Tesla at 877-798-3752.

NHTSA campaign number: 22V843. Tesla’s own number for this recall is SB-22-00-015.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.

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