Tesla recalls 130K vehicles; touch screens can go blank

The recalls cover certain models from 2021 and 2022
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is recalling about 130,000 vehicles across its U.S. model lineup because their touch screens can overheat and go blank.

The recall covers certain Model S sedan and Model X SUVs from 2021 and 2022, as well as Model 3 cars and Model Y SUVs from 2022.

Documents posted Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that during the fast-charging process, the central processing computers may not cool sufficiently. That can cause the computer to lag or restart, making the center screen run slowly or appear blank.

Without the center screen, the cars can lose rearview camera displays, settings that control windshield defrosters and indicators that say whether the cars are in drive, neutral and reverse. That can increase the risk of a crash.

Tesla is fixing the problem with online software updates that will improve temperature management for the computer. Updates began on May 3.

Tesla says that it found the problem in routine endurance testing. The company has no reports of crashes or injuries, but it received 59 related warranty claims from January to early May.

Tesla has had a spate of safety problems this year, including multiple investigations opened by NHTSA, the nation’s road safety watchdog. The recall is the 11th for the electric vehicle company since Jan. 27. Most were fixed with software updates.

Early in 2021 the Austin, Texas, company recalled about 135,000 vehicles, also because the touch screens could go dark. Initially, the company had refused to do a recall. The agency said the screens’ computer processors have a finite number of program-and-erase cycles and didn’t last long enough. The company agreed to replace the computer processors.

Tesla models were also connected to two major fires in the Delaware Valley as well in the last 10 months.

In July 2021, a fire quickly burned through a Tesla Model S Plaid in Lower Merion.

"They’re made of plastic and electric, so they go up quick and it looks spectacular in a way, but when we got there, the vehicle was fully involved," said Lower Merion Fire Chief Chas McGarvey.

"There’s over 7,000 batteries below the passenger compartment that you’re sitting on (as you are) driving."

It took more than two hours to extinguish that Tesla fire and make sure it did not reignite.

In October, a home went up in flames in Maple Glen, and officials believed a Tesla or Tesla charging station played a part in causing the fire.

Pat Loeb contributed to this article.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images