Tesla has had nineteen total vehicle recalls in 2022, affecting 3,769,572 vehicles. While there are plenty of misconceptions and false information floating around about Tesla’s recalls population, there are plenty of truths to be told.
Automotive recalls can be put into effect for some of the most insignificant reasons, but vehicles are required to be as safe as possible and must abide by the NHTSA’s rigorous standards. The goal of the agency is to protect consumers by holding manufacturers accountable, and while recalls are pushed every day, Tesla’s are undoubtedly a focus of media as the company fends off many of the mistakes with software updates.
However, some instances require owners to bring vehicles into a Service Center for repair. This happens less often to Teslas, as many issues can be fixed through a simple firmware download while an owner sleeps.
That still does not stop the narrative regarding Tesla and many other EV makers and nearly-routine OTA updates to fix vehicle issues. Recall definitions have been questioned over the past few years as companies adopt a software-first mentality, contributing to the overall narrative of poor vehicle quality in EVs.
Tesla Recall Misconception #1: The Car Company with the Most Recalls? Not Quite.
Some relatively influential figures have said Tesla recalls cars more frequently than any other company on Earth, but that is not true.
Even with its most recent recall, which fixed over 300,000 cars with faulty tail lights, Tesla is not the most recalled automaker. The NHTSA currently lists Ford Motor Company as the most recalled automotive brand in 2022 thus far.
Ford has issued 63 recalls this year, affecting over 8,000,000 vehicles. This is 21 more recalls than Volkswagen, the automaker with the second-most for the year. VW’s recalls have affected less than 1,000,000 vehicles in the United States.
Tesla Recall Misconception #2: How many Tesla recalls actually require physical service?
Of Tesla’s 19 recalls in 2022, 12 were fixed through Over-the-Air software updates, which download and are installed automatically to fix any qualifying issue. Tesla has fixed everything from windshield defrosting issues, to rolling stops for Full Self-Driving, to delays in backup cameras with software updates.
Six of Tesla’s nineteen recalls in 2022 have required physical repairs from Tesla Service. In total, 31,427 cars have been affected by these types of recalls. That is less than 1 percent of Tesla’s total recall population for the year in the United States, NHTSA data shows.
The final recall was a vehicle replacement for a single Model X owner whose unit lacked a body structure reinforcement bracket in the second row of seating.
Tesla Recall Misconception #3: Over-the-Air Updates are not recalls
While the definition of a recall has been called into question by a number of notable people, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, OTA updates do still qualify as recalls, technically.
The NHTSA gave more details to Teslarati in February about what qualifies as a vehicle recall. The agency said manufacturers must disclose an unreasonable safety risk to consumers, vehicle owners, dealers, and others when it is discovered. A recall qualifies as any unreasonable safety risk present in a vehicle, and if it is remedied in any way, even by a software update, it counts as a recall.
Recall definitions are highly controversial, with many notable Tesla community members making light of the situation.
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