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U.S. Regulator Investigates Tesla Over Potential Front Suspension Failures

tesla 013017 29nov20 lt

U.S. auto safety regulator has opened an investigation into about 115,000 Tesla electric vehicles over a front suspension safety issue.

The probe covers 2015 through 2017 Model S sedans and 2016 through 2017 Model X SUVs.

The new investigation comes after Tesla reportedly started a recall over the issue for vehicles in China, but the automaker argued that there was no defect and China was forcing an unnecessary recall. Last month, Tesla reportedly recalled about 30,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in China over a suspension safety issue.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has received 43 complaints alleging that the front suspension fore links may fail at the knuckle ball joint ring, which may result in contact between the tire and wheel liner.

According to the regulator, thirty-two of the complaints involve failures that occurred during low-speed parking maneuvers. Eleven incidents occurred while driving at speeds above 10 mph, including four at highway speeds.

The complaints indicate an increasing trend, with 34 complaints received in the last two years and three of the incidents at highway speeds reported within the last three months.

In addition, NHTSA said it has identified eight complaints that may involve front fore link failure, but have not been confirmed by repair records or photographs. The potential fore link failures were all reported in the last two years and include two incidents that occurred while driving.

The agency said it has opened the preliminary evaluation to evaluate the scope, frequency and consequences of the alleged defect.

NHTSA said that in 2017, Tesla issued a service bulletin describing the failure and indicating that drivers could still control the vehicle but the tire may contact the wheel arch liner.

The bulletin indicated that affected vehicles were "built between January 19, 2016 and May 25, 2016". The complaints include 41 vehicles built before or after the bulletin build range.

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