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Tesla issues recall for 123,000 Model S vehicles due to rusty bolts

Tesla Model S recall 2018

Tesla has issued a voluntary recall on 123,000 Model S cars, those built before April 2016. The recall is due to “excessive corrosion” in the power steering assembly bolts, which can cause the power steering to fail. Tesla says that there have been no accidents due to the bolts, and that failure of the bolts would not prevent the driver from steering, just make it harder.

The company sent an email to all effected customers late Thursday, informing them of the problem. The company said that there’s no immediate action customers need to take, and they’ll be contacted to schedule a service appointment when parts are available. The fix is said to take around an hour.

The news comes at the end of a bad week for Tesla, which has been dealing with reports about Model 3 production as well as the fatal crash of a Model S late last week. Shares of the company fell four percent in after-hours trading following news of the recall.

In its email to customers, Tesla said that “excessive corrosion” was seen “only in very cold climates, particularly those that frequently use calcium or magnesium road salts, rather than sodium chloride (table salt).”

The full email to customers is below:

In order to ensure your safety, Tesla will proactively retrofit a power steering component in all Model S vehicles built before April 2016. (No other Tesla vehicles are affected.) There have been no injuries or accidents due to this component, despite accumulating more than a billion miles of driving.

To be clear, this recall does not apply to any Model X or Model 3 vehicles, only to Model S vehicles built before April 2016.

We have observed excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates, particularly those that frequently use calcium or magnesium road salts, rather than sodium chloride (table salt). Nonetheless, Tesla plans to replace all early Model S power steering bolts in all climates worldwide to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment.

If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, but increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist. This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed.

Our records show that you own a Model S affected by this voluntary recall. At this time there is no immediate action you need to take and you may continue to drive your Model S. Tesla will contact you to schedule an appointment when parts are available in your region. The retrofit will typically take around an hour.

Thank you for being a Tesla customer, and we apologize for this inconvenience. If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at 844-248-3752 or by email at