Tesla Recalls 356,309 Model 3 Units Due to Rearview Camera Issues


The “deliver now, fix later” Tesla policy is so known that people even question if the company tests its cars enough before putting them for sale. Tesla’s newest recall will reinforce those suspicions because it is not related to supplier or assembly issues. Owners of 356,309 Model 3 cars may lose rearview camera images just by opening and closing their trunk lids. According to Tesla, “the Model 3 trunk harness is equipped with a solid core coaxial cable that provides the rearview camera feed for visibility on the center display.” The simple daily operation of the trunk lid may damage this coaxial cable. So much so that all Tesla Model 3s produced from July 15, 2017 – the very start of this car’s production – until September 30, 2020, are included in this recall. The company said that it adopted a different trunk harness design when it ended the MY (model year) 2020 production – something Tesla does not disclose and a concept most people thought it didn’t even work with. This change would have happened on September 30, 2020. However, the company did not explain why the trunk harness design changed. Would Tesla have diagnosed the issue, fixed it on the MY 2021 Model 3, and decided to recall these cars only now? The official chronology of the defect states that the problem was only detected in June 2021. If that is really the case, it would be enlightening to understand why it changed for the MY 2021. To explain the problem, Tesla states that “the coaxial cable is affixed to a harness on the trunk lid and extends or folds as the trunk opens and closes. When the trunk is in a closed state, the harness folds and may experience a tight bend radius, stressing the core of the cable.” To fix it, Tesla will inspect these vehicles and check if the coaxial cables are still in good shape. If they are, the company will install a guide protector in the trunk harness “to ensure a sufficient radius when the harness holds in a closed trunk state and prevent further wear.” If they are already broken, Tesla will replace the coaxial cables and install the guide protector. Tesla Service Centers should have been performing this repair since December 23. With the amount of work they already have, coping with 356,309 more cars all of a sudden tends to make things even more difficult for them. At least Tesla is doing the right thing in this case, right?