Tesla is recalling almost half a million cars over safety issues

A white Telsa Model 3 in a studio with a black background
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla issued recalls for 475,318 Model 3 and Model S all-electric vehicles on December 21 to address two separate safety-related issues.

While Tesla hasn't commented publicly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posted the recalls this week. 

Tesla, which has an NHTSA  5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA for the Model 3 and Model S, is recalling virtually all Model 3 cars made between 2017 and 2020 for a rearview camera issue. According to the NHTSA report, the rearview backup camera may not function properly because a cable harness connecting it can be damaged by opening and closing the trunk lid.

Model S owners face a more worrisome issue. According to the NHTSA report, the car's front hood may open unexpectedly. As electric vehicles, there's no motor under that hood, just trunk space. The good news is that there isn't just one latch to fail here. The report describes a situation where the hood would open unexpectedly when the primary latch is released only if the secondary latch is not engaged. This recall affects all Model S vehicles made between 2014 and 2021.

In both cases, Tesla will inspect, replace, and repair all the Model 3 and Model S vehicles free of charge.

There haven't been widespread reports of drivers with these issues but there are scattered reports on Reddit of trunks flying open and backup cameras failing.

It's unclear if Tesla has already contacted car owners electronically, but the company is expected to contact the owners of the 119,009 Model S and 356,309 Model 3 cars by mail on February 18, 2022. TechRadar has contacted Tesla for comment and will update this story with their response.

These aren't the first recalls for either model (each has six), and they may not be the last. According to Motortrend, tens of millions of cars are recalled each year. And while ignoring these repairs could result in serious safety issues, Teslas still have an excellent safety track record with the NHTSA.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of PCMag.com and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.