Tesla is among the lowest rated vehicles for quality
Sales of electric cars are booming in the U.S. but Tesla owners are experiencing more problems than average with their EVs.
According to the annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, sales of EVs doubled in 2021 to a record 6.6 million, and there are now more EVs sold every week than in the whole of 2012. Tesla currently manufactures more than 50% of the EVs sold in the U.S. With the EV market rapidly growing in the U.S., the wide berth that Tesla was given as an innovator in vehicle sales is gone. Owners expect their premium EV to be reliable and free of defects but that is not what many are experiencing.
A recently released J.D. Power survey found that the overall quality of new vehicles is declining, and EVs such as Tesla and Polestar ranked at the bottom of the pack. Tesla was recorded as having 226 problems per 100 Tesla vehicles in the 2022 survey, much worse than the industry average of 180 problems per 100 vehicles.
What problems are Tesla owners experiencing?
Tesla has been in the news more than once for concerns about cutting corners, prioritizing quantity over quality, and investigations by federal regulators. Some of the problems that Tesla owners and regulators are battling are:
Malfunctioning Infotainment System
Software problems are the most common problems reported by all new vehicle owners, with 6 of the top ten problems in the J.D. Power survey being infotainment related. Tesla does not support the often problematic Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (which is frustrating to many owners) and instead uses its own infotainment system, which has generated multiple recalls in 2022 alone. Most recently, 130,000 MY 2021-2022 Tesla vehicles were recalled because a chip in the infotainment CPU may overheat during supercharging which can cause the CPU to lag or restart. In a Tesla, the infotainment screen is used for general vehicle controls, gears, backup camera view, and safety warnings therefore any issues with the system are usually significant safety issues requiring a recall.
There is also an ongoing investigation by the NHTSA into the Tesla Passenger Play system in MY 2017-2022 Model 3, S, X, and Y Tesla vehicles. Tesla owners complain that gameplay mode, which was previously only available when the vehicle was in park, now stays open on the screen even when moving, which distracts the driver and could lead to a collision.
Tesla owners complain that their vehicle stops without warning while they are in motion, causing a hazard for the driver and surrounding vehicles. Owners report that this unexpected braking happens at highway speeds and can occur multiple times in one trip. Even a quick glance at complaints filed with the NHTSA about recent model year Tesla vehicles reveals that the vast majority of owner complaints are about phantom braking and the forward collision avoidance system. In June, the NHTSA issued an information request to Tesla about this issue after it received complaints from more than 750 Tesla owners. This NHTSA investigation into phantom braking in Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles was opened in February 2022, and is ongoing.
The Tesla phantom braking may be one of many issues caused by the problematic Tesla Autopilot system. Once again, the NHTSA has an open investigation into this Tesla feature. The Autopilot system helps drivers with steering, parking, braking, and lane changes but drivers report problems that can be at a minimum, and in certain tragic cases, fatal. The recent NHTSA investigation was opened because a number of Tesla vehicles in Autopilot mode hit first responder vehicles in attendance at collision scenes, resulting in at least 15 injuries and 1 fatality.
Tesla vehicles are heavily reliant on functioning electrical and electronic systems. So when any of the many sensors on a Tesla fail, it can cause problems for an entire vehicle system. We hear reports of multiple defective sensors on Tesla vehicles including failing tire sensors, parking sensors, and safety restraint sensors.
It is not shocking to anyone who has read the news articles about Tesla (like this one) that basic features such as the Tesla sunroof do not work. If Tesla employee reports that important testing was skipped and electrical tape was used to hold the vehicle together are true, it is surprising that they are allowed on the roads at all. Common complaints about the Tesla sunroof are that the motor fails completely so that the sunroof will not open or close, or the sunroof will not close fully to be flush with the roof of the car (obviously leading to leaking.)
For Tesla owners who try to return or repair their defective Tesla, they are met with even more problems from Tesla dealers and customer service. We have heard of clients bringing their Tesla in for repair only for it to sit for weeks on the lot with no repairs in sight. When a problem is found, the dealers often lack the parts or firmware updates to repair it. Tesla customer service representatives reportedly do not deal with complaints and give struggling owners the runaround.
If you are dealing with any of these or other problems in your Tesla vehicle, you may be protected by lemon laws in your state which entitle you to a replacement vehicle or a full refund of your purchase price. Find out more in our 10 Lemon Law Tips and by contacting one of our experienced lemon law team. By law, you do not have to pay any attorney fees in a successful lemon law case and, at Timothy Abeel & Associates, we guarantee that you will never be out of pocket win or lose. Contact us online today for a free case review or call us at 888.611.5481.