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Tesla Is Being Investigated Over Steering Wheels That Fall Off During Use

After receiving two complaints that the steering wheels on Tesla’s Model Y SUV can detach while the vehicle is being driven, U.S. auto safety regulators have launched an investigation.

The probe covers approximately 120,000 vehicles from the 2023 model year, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is examining how frequently the problem occurs, how many vehicles are affected, and Tesla’s manufacturing process.

According to the agency, both incidents occurred when the Model Ys were delivered to customers without a bolt that secures the steering wheel to the steering column. Although the steering wheels were held on by friction, they came off when force was applied while driving.

The two incidents took place when the SUVs had low mileage, and the Model Y is Tesla’s best-selling vehicle.

The owner of one of the affected vehicles stated that the steering wheel came off suddenly while driving with his family on Route 1 in Woodbridge, New Jersey, on January 29. There were no injuries in the Tesla, which was bought on January 24. The Associated Press contacted Tesla for comment, but the automaker has dissolved its media relations department.

“The lead investigator provided assurance and indicated this is a serious matter and they have already contacted Tesla for further investigation,” the owner said.

The complaint has a link to a Twitter post from the owner that included a video of the detached steering wheel and pictures of the white Tesla being towed.

While the issue of a missing bolt may seem like an easy fix, it has contributed to the increasing number of investigations facing Tesla. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is already looking into Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system after numerous accidents involving vehicles equipped with the technology colliding with emergency vehicles.

Additionally, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is scrutinizing the company, and there are reports that the Justice Department is also investigating Tesla for falsely advertising its “Full Self-Driving” feature.

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