Tesla recalls 27,000 cars over windshield defrosting problem

Tesla has issued a recall for 26,681 vehicles in the Unites States due to a software error that could lead to problems with the windshield defroster. According to documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a software error is to blame. Included in the recall are some 2021-2022 Model 3, Model S, Model X, and 2020-2022 Model Y vehicles.

Due to the faulty software code, a valve in the vehicle’s heat pump may open when it’s not supposed to, and if that happens refrigerant will be trapped inside the evaporator. That can lead to “decreased defrosting performance” and runs afoul of federal motor vehicle safety requirements.

Tesla’s acknowledgement of the issue suggests that the problem is more likely to occur at low temperatures, which it describes as below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). According to Tesla, customers will receive a warning message that explains that the vehicle’s heating and ventilation system’s performance may be limited or unavailable, but the defroster fan will continue to move air.

Tesla will perform an over-the-air software update to address the issue and isn’t aware of any crashes due to the problem.

On January 15, Tesla released a software update to address complaints from customers in December over loss of heating performance in extreme cold weather conditions as a precautionary measure. After discussions with NHTSA and Transport Canada, tests were conducted to assess the compliance of new vehicles delivered with the software command.

Under scrutiny from U.S. regulators and some lawmakers, Tesla has been issuing a number of recalls in recent months, including many for software issues.

Tesla has issued at least nine U.S. recalls since October as it faces government investigations into its driver assistance system Autopilot and an in-vehicle game feature.

In January 2021, Tesla agreed to recall 135,000 vehicles with touchscreen displays that could fail after NHTSA took the unusual step of formally seeking the recall.

The agency said touchscreen failures posed significant safety issues, including the loss of rear view or backup camera images, exterior turn-signal lighting and windshield defogging and defrosting systems.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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