The U.S. government’s road safety agency is investigating complaints that suspensions can fail on nearly 115,000 Tesla electric vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 43 complaints that linkages near the ball joints can fail, allowing contact between the tire and wheel liner.
The probe, announced Friday on the agency’s website, covers 2015 through 2017 Model S sedans and 2016 through 2017 Model X SUVs.
The agency says 32 owners complained of failures at low speeds, but 11 said the links failed on roads while traveling above 10 mph including four at highway speeds.
The Tesla Model S, pictured, and Model X SUV are the subject of a probe by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after they received 43 complaints about ball joints
It says the number of complaints is increasing as the vehicles age, with 32 in the last two years. Three of the highway complaints came in the last three months.
In addition, NHTSA says it has eight complaints that may involve suspension failures that haven’t been confirmed by photos or service records.
It said it has no reports of crashes or injuries.
The agency says it will investigate how often the problem happens and the safety consequences. The probe could lead to a recall.
NHTSA says that in 2017, Tesla issued a service bulletin describing the failure and saying that drivers could still control the vehicles ‘but the tire may contact the wheel arch liner.’
The bulletin says vehicles with the problems were built from January 19, 2016 to May 25, 2016.
But NHTSA said the complaints include 41 vehicles built before or after the range cited in the bulletin.
Twenty-nine were built after the range ended.
The Model S cars recalled cost upward of $67,920.
Also on Friday, Tesla is recalled 870 vehicles in China over defective roofs, part of which could fall off, China’s market regulator said.
The announcement comes just a month after another recall of almost 30,000 cars imported into China – the world’s biggest auto market – due to suspension defects.
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said the latest recall affects Model X cars produced between March 16 and July 31 in 2016.
Already this week, Tesla recalled 9,000 Model X vehicles made in 2016 due to a roof trim that may separate from the car. Pictured, a car transporter carries new Tesla vehicles
Tesla Model X P90D is among the models that is being targeted in the latest probe
Parts of the roof trim may have insufficient primer, which is used to improve adhesion, meaning it could fall off, the regulator said in a statement.
‘If the trim falls off the vehicle during driving, it will increase the risk of collision or injury for vehicles behind, especially motorcycles, posing a safety hazard,’ the statement added.
Tesla will inspect the recalled cars for free and perform a test on the roof trim to check if the primer is sufficient.
On Wednesday, Tesla issued another pull-back in the U.S. for more than 9,000 Model X cars made in 2016, also due to roof trim that may separate, according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In recent years, several Model X owners have posted images on Facebook and Reddit showing bits of the roof missing from their vehicles.
Earlier this week, video footage surfaced on social media in China showing the roof of a Tesla fly off as the motorist sped down a highway as the company began to recall cars
NHTSA said the front and spine cosmetic roof trim may have been adhered without first using primer, and one or both pieces of trim may separate from the vehicle while it is being driven.
Last week, a class action lawsuit was filed in California federal court alleging that Tesla not only ignored the problem but tried to cover it up.
And on Monday, reports emerged of a security defect in the company’s popular Model X SUV.
The recent rally boosted CEO Elon Musk’s net worth by $7.2billion to $127.9billion
Researchers conducting a security experiment with the COSIC group at the University of Leuven in Belgium discovered that it was possible to hack and steal the $80,000 cars through a Bluetooth key fob, according to Wired.
The COSIC group informed Tesla about the issue in August, and a software update was created to better protect the key fobs.
Despite the issues, stocks in Tesla have soared in recent days after it was announced that the company would join the S&P 500 in December.
One of Wall Street’s most loved – and hated – stocks, Tesla was already the U.S. stock market’s most traded companies by average daily value, but trading has surged in recent sessions, along with Tesla’s stock price.
They have now surged 40 percent since November 16, when the announcement was made.
Traders bought and sold an average of nearly $26 billion of Tesla shares per session over the five days ending on Tuesday, accounting for almost 8 percent of all stock traded on U.S. exchanges, according to Refinitiv data.
That is more than the combined value of trades in Amazon.com Inc and Apple Inc over the same period.
Up over 600 percent in 2020, Tesla has become by far the world’s most valuable automaker, despite production that is a fraction of Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen or General Motors Co.
Tesla shares were up a further 2 percent as of Friday afternoon
Up over 600 percent in 2020, Tesla has become by far the world’s most valuable automaker
Over the past year, Tesla has averaged over $16 billion a day in trades, followed by Apple, at about $14 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
On Tuesday, the company blew past the $500billion market cap for the first time.
The recent rally boosted Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s net worth by $7.2billion to $127.9billion, helping him overtake Bill Gates to become the second-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Musk, who was ranked 35th in January, has added $100.3billion to his net worth so far this year, according to the index.
Tesla shares were up a further 2 percent as of Friday afternoon.
A request for comment from Tesla on the probe has not been returned.