The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it has launched a preliminary investigation into 120,000 Tesla Model Y SUVs following two shocking reports of steering wheels falling off while driving.
According to an incident posted on Twitter, a Model Y driver ended up with the steering wheel in his hand after it completely detached from the steering column. Tesla quoted the vehicle owner $103.96 to repair the defect before removing the charge. The owner was later given a replacement Model Y vehicle.
The NHTSA noted that the steering wheels in both 2023 model year vehicles completely detached, despite both vehicles having low mileage.
The report further elaborates that the retaining bolt that connects the steering wheel to the steering column was missing in both cases when the vehicles were delivered to owners.
The preliminary investigation aims to determine the “scope, frequency, and manufacturing processes associated with this condition.” The investigation is a initial step before the NHTSA can order a recall.
Incredibly, steering wheels becoming detached has previously been reported on other Tesla EV models, but these incidents have not resulted in a recall for the impacted vehicles.