Many people have the mistaken belief that Tesla vehicles can drive themselves. The truth is that these automobiles still require a driver and a steering wheel to operate—at least for the time being. Someone still needs to warn Tesla’s QA team about this, because a new Model Y decided to ditch its steering wheel on the highway with a car full of passengers.
Prerak (@preneh24) of Twitter tweeted photos and details of a “horrific” encounter with his brand-new Tesla Model Y all-electric SUV in a post directed at Tesla CEO Elon Musk: The steering wheel allegedly fell off as the vehicle was moving. This would be at least the second instance of a new Tesla’s wheel breaking off since 2020 when a Tesla Model 3 vehicle experienced a similar problem.
Prerak’s story is not unique. The same thing happened in 2020 to a Tesla Model 3 owner whose steering wheel broke off less than a month after purchasing the vehicle. It appears that a similar failure occurred in both cases, where the bolt attaching the wheel to the steering column may have backed out—or, in the case of the 2020 incident, simply not been installed. When the breakdown happened, the steering wheel may have only been held in place by the airbag and wheel control harnesses.
Screenshots of a communication between the owner and Tesla support indicate that Prerak has requested a complete refund and the return of the vehicle because he no longer feels secure driving it. The Tesla service answer appears to have ignored this, and additional screenshots show a planned appointment for repairs as well as a payment payable by the owner, which they are now disputing in additional tweets on their Twitter account as of earlier today. Tesla has since removed the service charge but has not accepted direct blame for the event.
“Am I responsible for a manufacturing defect?” It’s not even a week until I get a bill for a broken steering wheel. Isn’t it the company’s responsibility to fix it? “I would greatly appreciate a refund and keeping the car, as we lost trust and my family does not feel safe driving it back,” Prerak tweeted today in response to the service appointment.
Prerak stated that they had lost faith in Tesla and requested that the vehicle be returned with a refund. Unfortunately, Tesla discreetly withdrew its 7-day, no-questions-asked return policy in 2020, and the service center informed Prerak that Tesla “does not have a return policy” and advised them to contact the sales and delivery teams to discuss possibilities.