Tesla is recalling 123,000 Model S vehicles because corrosion has appeared in a power steering component of cars driven where road salts are used in winter.
2016 Tesla Model S 90 D (Photo by Peter Adkins)
The Tesla Model S is a full-sized all-electric five-door, luxury liftback, produced by Tesla, Inc. It was introduced on June 22, 2012.
The problem has been found only in Model S cars built before April 2016. Tesla said its Model X and Model 3 cars are not included in this voluntary recall.
As of December 2016, about 158,160 Model S cars had been sold worldwide since its introduction, making the Model S the world's all-time second best-selling plug-in electric car after the Nissan Leaf (250,000).
The Model S recall is due to power steering bolts that could corrode, an issue that occurs in cars built before April 2016, and in winter conditions where roads are frequently salted, the company said. Just 0.02 percent of the cars ever experience the problem, Tesla said.
In an email to customers, the electric automaker said company personnel have seen "excessive corrosion" in the power steering bolts of some Model S cars.
Tesla said that if the bolts fail, drivers would still be able to steer the car, but would have to use "increased force."
"This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed," Tesla explained in its email to Model S customers.
The automaker said it has only seen this problem occur in "very cold climates" where calcium or magnesium salts are often spread on the roads for better traction.
But Tesla said it is recalling all affected vehicles regardless of climate, "to account for the possibility that the vehicle may later be used in a highly corrosive environment."