Tesla recalls 135,000 vehicles over touchscreen failures

Matt Burns
·1-min read
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: The inside of a Tesla vehicle is viewed as it sits parked in a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 5, 2016 in New York City. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under increasing scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service. Joshua Brown crashed and died in Florida on May 7 in a Tesla car that was operating on autopilot, which means that Brown's hands were not on the steering wheel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Own a Tesla Model S or Model X? It might have a recall, and it's serious.

Tesla today issued one of its largest recalls to date, covering roughly 135,000 Model S and Model X. The touchscreen is the concern.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the touchscreen in these vehicles can fail when a memory chip runs out of storage capacity, which can cause a host of failures, including affecting turn signals and defrosters, and the rearview camera. This failure can also affect Tesla's self-driving Autopilot functionality.

The NHTSA explained the department's findings to Tesla in a mid-January letter. According to NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), the affected vehicle's memory chips are to blame. The 8GB chip eventually wears out, and the only remedy is a replacement, the letter says.

According to the WSJ, Tesla disagrees that the issue is a failure, though the automaker is recalling a select amount of vehicles to investigate the issue.

"It is economically, if not technologically, infeasible to expect that such components can or should be designed to last the vehicle's entire useful life," Tesla said in the letter.

The vehicles covered by the recall include Model S sedans built between 2012 and 2018 and Model X vehicles made between 2016 and 2018. The affected vehicles are equipped with Nvidia Tegra 3 computing platforms and an 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory device.