It doesn't matter if the issue stems from hardware or software, any vehicle defect that can run afoul of the industry's many regulations can trigger a recall. While Tesla's latest recall may affect a large number of its electric vehicles, thankfully it's a quick fix that doesn't require schlepping to the dealership.
Tesla has issued a recall for approximately 322,000 examples of the 2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y. The vehicles in question carry a variety of build dates between May 24, 2020, and Nov. 9, 2022. Of the vehicles in this recall, it's believed that only 1% contain the defect.
The problem comes from the vehicle's taillamps. These lights may not illuminate as needed due to an issue with the vehicles' firmware, which, according to the documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (PDF), "may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake up process." It's worth noting that this problem does not affect a car's brake lamps, backup lamps or turn signal lamps. But, nevertheless, a malfunctioning taillight may reduce visibility to other vehicles at night, which increases the risk of a crash.
Tesla first caught wind of the issue in October, when it received customer reports from foreign markets. After digging deeper and finding three warranty claims in the US for something similar, the firmware anomaly was identified, and Tesla began a voluntary recall. The automaker is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the defect. Tesla does not operate a public relations department and could not be reached for additional comment.
Thankfully, this one is a quick fix. Tesla will deploy an over-the-air firmware update that will eliminate the issue, allowing the taillights to function as intended. Vehicles in production and predelivery states will be updated prior to being released to owners.