Tesla recalls nearly 500,000 cars due to bonnets that could fly open, faulty cameras

Business Insider US

A Tesla Model S, post-crash, in a test environment.
Screenshot via IIHS
  • Tesla is recalling nearly 500,000 cars in the US, that country's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this month.
  • Over 119,000 cars could have an issue where the bonnet opens while driving.
  • The other recall is due to an issue with the rear camera. Tesla will fix both for free, the NHTSA said.
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Nearly 500,000 Tesla cars are being recalled in the USA, that country's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this month.

Of the two recalls issued by the NHTSA, the more immediately pressing one concerns the Model S bonnet latch. Just shy of 120,000 Tesla Model S cars, from 2014 through 2020, could have an issue where the bonnet doesn't properly latch closed.

The result, according to the NHTSA, is that the bonnet "may open unexpectedly" while driving.

Since Tesla's vehicles are all-electric, there is no engine in the front of the car. Instead, the front hood is a cover for the car's front trunk (sometimes referred to as a "frunk"). 

"The front trunk latch assembly may be misaligned," the recall said, "preventing the secondary hood latch from engaging." Should that secondary hood latch not engage, it said, "the hood could open unexpectedly, obstructing the driver's view and increasing the risk of a crash."

The other, larger recall, concerns over 350,000 Tesla Model 3 cars from 2017 to 2020. 

The rear backup camera, which feeds into the car's massive centre-mounted display, may lose connection due a cable harness that "may be damaged by the opening and closing of the trunk," the NHTSA recall note said

In both cases, Tesla is offering free repairs to anyone impacted by these issues.

Tesla became the most valuable car company in the world in 2020, with a surging share that sent it shooting past the much bigger (by volume of cars sold) Toyota.

The company has become infamous for quality problems as it rapidly scaled up vehicle output.

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