Tesla is issuing a voluntary recall for Model S and Model X vehicles made between February 2016 and October 2016, for a potential manufacturing issue with the parking brake on those cars in which a brake, once engaged, might experience a fractured internal gear that results in the parking brake being stuck in the ‘On’ position.
Tesla stresses that this recall is being done only because the carmaker typically exercises an abundance of caution in these cases, and that only a small number of vehicles will likely ever exhibit the issue, and that even when they do, the resulting problems don’t present a safety risk to either drivers or passengers.
The problem came to light because Tesla found customers were getting alerts that said parking brake needs service, or that the brake could not be disengaged, not in huge numbers but with noteworthy frequency. Tesla traced the problem back to a batch of brakes from supplier Brembo installed on cars made during the roughly ten month period covered by the recall.
That amounts to around 53,000 vehicles in total, distributed to customers globally, but Tesla says that under 5 percent – perhaps even as low as 2 percent – of those cars actually have the problem. Still, it is opting to recall them all to avoid any potential issues since it’s hard to easily tell which gears are affected and which are not. Parts will be swapped in every case, as a result, and the recall ultimately affects more than half the cars Tesla produced in 2016, per its own financial results.
Tesla will be filing the recall with NHTSA, and expects to have all parts needed to make the swap by October of this year. The process takes less than 45 minutes to replace both of the parts on each brake on the vehicle, but because of availability of replacement parts, the carmaker will be starting the recall process now and will take until October to complete a total recall, assuming all 53,000 vehicles affected come back for service.
Here’s the full email being sent out to Tesla customers this morning describing the problem, and the steps owners can take to get it fixed:
Tesla recently discovered a potential manufacturing issue with the electric parking brakes installed on certain Model S and Model X vehicles that could prevent the parking brake from releasing. We do not believe this issue could ever lead to a safety concern for our customers, and we have not seen a single accident or injury relating to it. However, in order to be overly cautious, we are going to be proactively replacing these parts to ensure that no issues arise. Specifically, we have determined that the electric parking brakes installed on Model S and Model X vehicles built between February and October 2016 may contain a small gear that could have been manufactured improperly by our third‑party supplier. If this gear were to break, the parking brake would continue to keep the car from moving, but the parking brake would then be stuck in place. There have been no reports of the parking brake system failing to hold a parked vehicle or failing to stop a vehicle in an emergency as a result of this condition, and this part has no impact on the car’s regular braking systems. We have also determined that only a very small percentage of gears in vehicles built during this period were manufactured improperly. Our records show that you own a Tesla vehicle that was built during this period. We will soon be sending you an official recall notice by mail, which will include information on how to have your parking brakes replaced. In the meantime, it is safe to continue regular use of your vehicle. Thank you for being a Tesla customer. For more information, FAQs, and other details related to this recall, please visit the Recall Information page. If you need additional assistance, you can also contact us by phone at 1‑877‑798‑3752 or by email at ServiceHelpNA@tesla.com. We apologize for this inconvenience.