The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into Tesla Model X SUVs from 2022 and 2023, affecting approximately 50,000 vehicles, due to concerns over seat belt failure. The probe was initiated after the agency received two complaints from owners who experienced front seat belt failure. The NHTSA reports that both Tesla Model X vehicles were delivered with insufficiently connected anchor linkages, indicating that the seat belt issue was due to improper assembly during production. The regulator notes that these parts were only held together by a friction fit, which ultimately failed due to the force exerted on the linkage while the vehicles were in motion. Notably, the issue occurred at low vehicle speeds, and no accidents have been reported. Tesla has not yet commented on the matter.
This investigation is one of several incidents involving Tesla that the NHTSA has launched, including reports of the Model Y’s steering wheel falling off while in motion and concerns over the Full Self-Driving software’s safety around intersections. Last year, the company issued a recall for over 24,000 Model 3 vehicles due to a different seat belt issue. The problem occurred during unrelated service center visits where technicians did not reassemble the rear seat anchor correctly. Less than a month ago, a number of Tesla Model Y units were recalled for a loose seat belt.