Back in February, officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Tesla over numerous reports of “phantom braking” that could be putting drivers at risk. However, there may be another potentially dangerous problem with the company’s Model Y vehicles that is flying under the radar.
Consumer reviews and posts detail an issue in Model Y vehicles that is causing them to spontaneously die due to rear motor failure. In some cases, this can simply result in consumers being left with an inoperable vehicle. In potentially more serious cases, the cars can experience rear motor failure while being driven, increasing the risk of a crash.
Consumer experiences with rear motor failure
Consumers haven’t been shy about posting online to share their stories and ask for advice about this issue. On the Tesla Motors Club forum, several posts dating back to last year appear to indicate that rear motor failure is a real problem affecting Model Y vehicles, which have been in production since 2019.
“I took delivery of my MYP and 100km later it had a rear motor failure followed by a message saying I can't drive the car. Is this a common thing for Tesla?” one member posting on the forum asked.
Another member said they were driving on the highway when their vehicle warned them of an impending shutdown.
“Driving along at highway speeds when I feel a sudden lurch and then the car starts telling me to pull over, limits the speed to 68MPH and says rear motor temporarily disabled and that the car is shutting down,” the forum member said. “2 month old MYP with just shy of 2500 miles on it... can't say I'm too thrilled to have broken down so soon. Only issue I've had with the car so far but I guess if you're gonna fail, fail big?”
Drivers have also posted reviews on ConsumerAffairs that detail issues they have had with Tesla vehicles. For example, Elissar, of Long Beach, Calif., said his Model Y battery died only a few days after he bought the vehicle.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ConsumerAffairs concerning these issues.
Tesla Model Y recalls to look out for
While it’s not completely clear how common rear motor failure is in Tesla’s vehicles, the fact that this could happen while driving should warrant additional caution from consumers who have a Model Y. As of the publication of this article, there are several other recalls connected to these vehicles that owners should also be aware of.
In February, Tesla recalled over 50,000 vehicles (including Model Y’s) over issues with the company’s Autopilot feature. Officials found that a bug in this feature could allow a vehicle that is in Full Self-Driving Beta mode to drive through a four-way stop at up to 5.6 mph. The NHTSA released a statement about the problem and said it increases the risk of a collision with other vehicles.
Tesla also recalled nearly 600,000 vehicles in late February because of a problem with the Pedestrian Warning System that could stop a pedestrian from hearing a driver approach. Other recent recalls include around 800,000 vehicles that have defective seat belt warnings and nearly 27,000 with compromised defrosting capabilities.