Some Tesla Model X vehicles may have some airbag issues, but the company is patching things up this weekend without even issuing a recall.
Vehicle recalls are not unheard of and plenty of automakers have faced airbag issues that warranted a recall. Tesla, which takes pride in the great focus it puts on the safety of its vehicles, has just discovered that some of its cars may not be as safe as they should.
Tesla vehicles are sleek, powerful, environmental-friendly, and with a safety-first design, but some issues still seep through the cracks occasionally. Back in November 2015, for instance, Tesla recalled tens of thousands of Model S vehicles over a seatbelt issue, and then in April this year it recalled 53,000 vehicles to fix issues with parking brakes.
In those cases, however, the company could not patch things up with an over-the-air (OTA) update so car owners had to bring their vehicles into service to solve the issues. In the latest case involving some Model X units, an OTA update will do the trick and it will roll out shortly.
Tesla Model X Airbag Issue
More specifically, Tesla found that some of its right-hand drive vehicles from the Model X series might have a defective passenger seat functionality stemming from a software flaw. Such issues might warrant a recall in many cases, but Tesla is handling the matter in a smoother and more disruptive manner.
Rather than having owners of affected Model X cars bring their vehicle into service, Tesla will issue an over-OTA update this weekend to fix the issues. As CarAdvice reports, the company sent an email to customers on Wednesday, June 7, to notify them of this matter.
"After reviewing the results of this test, we were able to isolate the anomaly to the software controlling the passenger airbags in right-hand-drive Model X cars only, and we are already developing an over-the-air software update that fixes it," Tesla notes in the email to customers.
Tesla Model X OTA Update Instead Of Recall
Tesla highlights that as far as it knows, no customers have had any issues with their cars. Nevertheless, the company routinely conducts internal tests and this week, after such a test, it discovered an "anomaly" that may cause the passenger airbag in right-hand drive Model X cars to function improperly.
The company adds that the update will roll out OTA this weekend and customers don't need to take their car into service or do anything else. However, the company does advise right-hand drive Model X owners to avoid having passengers in the front seat for now.
Having to keep the passenger seat empty while waiting for the update might be frustrating for some, but it's only for a couple of days and it's undoubtedly far less disruptive than going through a recall. At least this way, customers only have to wait for a software fix rather than taking their car to the shop.
It remains unclear at this point whether the anomaly means the airbag would not deploy at all, or it would just affect the way it deploys. The company makes no mention of how many vehicles are affected. The module for the passenger airbag control, as well as its accompanying software, comes from Bosch.
While Tesla has discovered issues with some of its vehicles before, this the first time that it can fix things with an OTA update rather than a recall.