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Tesla just recalled 2.2 million cars because a font was too small

Published Feb 2nd, 2024 12:50PM EST
Interior of a Tesla Model S.
Image: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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After conducting a dozen recalls in 2023, Tesla’s latest recall of 2024 might also be its strangest. On Thursday, Tesla filed a recall notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for virtually every make and model the company has ever sold — all 2,193,869 cars. Shockingly, it has nothing to do with Autopilot, the steering wheels, or seatbelts. Instead, Tesla had to recall all of its cars due to “an incorrect font size.”

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) require vehicles equipped with hydraulic brakes to feature brake warning system statements in a font size of at least 3.2 mm, or 1/8th of an inch. Tesla’s vehicles used font smaller than that, hence the recall.

Here are all of the makes and models impacted by the font size recall:

  • Tesla Cybertruck: 2024
  • Tesla Model 3: 2017-2023
  • Tesla Model S: 2012-2023
  • Tesla Model X: 2016-2024
  • Tesla Model Y: 2019-2024

“An incorrect font size is displayed on the instrument panel for the Brake, Park, and Antilock Brake System (ABS) warning lights,” the recall states. “As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 105, “Hydraulic and Electric Brake Systems” and 135, “Light Vehicle Brake Systems.”

The recall notification also explains why this seemingly innocuous issue is potentially dangerous and warrants a fix: “Warning lights with a smaller font size can make critical safety information on the instrument panel difficult to read, increasing the risk of a crash.”

The good news is that, like most Tesla recalls, owners don’t actually have to take their cars into the shop. Instead, Tesla has released a free, over-the-air software update that increases the size of the font. Letters will be mailed to Tesla owners on March 30, 2024.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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