Thousands of Teslas recalled over brake fluid bug

OTA software update to deal with misbehaving sensor

Got a Tesla Model X built between 2021 and 2023? The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said Tesla will recall almost 55,000 vehicles over a brake fluid warning sensor.

Tesla submitted a report regarding the issue on October 11 and an acknowledgment was sent out on October 16.

Some 54,676 vehicles could be affected by the issue where the low brake fluid might not be detected, thus a warning indicator might not be shown. According to the report, the result could be a vehicle driven with low brake fluid and impaired braking performance.

As per the safety recall report [PDF]: "On certain MY 2021-2023 Model X vehicles, the vehicle controller that detects the sensor voltage that indicates brake fluid level may not have a sufficient threshold range at low fluid levels."

As of October 10, Tesla was not aware of any crashes, injuries, or deaths related to the issue.

Problems were first noted on September 19. After an investigation, Tesla made a voluntary recall determination. A software update to deal with the problem began an over-the-air (OTA) deployment on September 28. New vehicles will come ready-updated.

The remedy will not, however, hit (pun not intended) vehicles operating with the Full Service-Driving (FSD) Beta until the next scheduled FSD Beta software release.

While the notification is dubbed a "recall," the fact that Tesla can send out an OTA update to deal with the issue means that there is no need for owners of affected vehicles to trundle to their nearest service center.

Several recall notifications have been made regarding Teslas over the years, and six for the 2023 Model X alone, according to the NHTSA. While some, such as the alarmingly titled "Full Self-Driving Software May Cause Crash" [PDF], were corrected via OTA updates, others, such as issues with the seat belt pre-tensioner anchor, required a trip to the service center.

Tesla is also hardly the only vehicle manufacturer to have recalls flagged up by the NHTSA. In September, a "park outside" recall was issued by Hyundai Motor America and Kia America for more than 3.3 million vehicles due to the risk of fire. In this instance, leaking fluid from an anti-lock brake module could result in an electrical short.

As with the Model X issue, the "park outside" problem has not resulted in any injuries. However, there were several related vehicle fires. It'll take more than an OTA update to deal with those. ®

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