Feds Investigating Tesla For Making Cars With Steering Wheels That Fall Off

Some Tesla Model Ys are being shipped without a bolt that keeps the steering wheel in place, according to the announcement.
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Three years ago, “a good steering wheel that doesn’t fly off your hand while you’re driving” was a literal joke in a viral comedy sketch sensation that aired on Netflix about a mock focus group. Now, a federal safety agency is investigating Tesla for making cars without that feature.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Wednesday morning that it has received two complaints of the steering wheel falling off a 2023 Model Y while the car is in motion because the retaining bolt was never installed. It will investigate to “assess the scope, frequency, and manufacturing processes associated with the condition.” According to the announcement, NHTSA estimates Tesla has made about 120,000 Model Y’s in the U.S. 

While recalls and investigations are common in the automotive world, Tesla models are currently subjected to a higher number than most automakers. The Model Y currently has four investigations and 11 recalls, according to the NHTSA website. The Honda CR-V has one investigation and zero recalls, the Toyota RAV-4 zero investigations and one recall. The probe was announced as the feds look into several long-standing issues with Teslas from manufacturing-related recalls to software issues.

Many of NHTSA’s recalls and investigations into Tesla vehicles  pertain to the company’s driving assist software. NHTSA has been engaged in something of a clampdown on Tesla’s Autopilot-related functionality in recent years. Tesla stans—and Elon Musk himself—have repeatedly claimed NHTSA is biased against Tesla