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Tesla recalls over 40,000 cars to address power steering flaw

There's already a software fix for the problem.

Tesla Fans Schweiz on Unsplash

Tesla has at least one more recall in store this year, if not as large as the last one. As BBC News reports, the EV maker has recalled 40,168 Model S and Model X vehicles over a software defect that can reduce or cut power steering assistance when the car mistakenly treats potholes and other bumps in the road as steering assist torque. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is concerned the sudden loss of help could be jarring enough to lead to a crash.

The flaw affects model years 2017 through 2021 for both cars, and first appeared with the 2022.36 firmware update. As with some of Tesla's recalls, the fix involves a software patch that has already rolled out. Over 97 percent of affected vehicles already have the new code, Tesla says.

This is the 17th recall Tesla has issued in 2022. It's not nearly as far-reaching as a September recall over faulty power window functionality, which affected almost 1.1 million cars in the US. Combined, however, the glitches have affected about 3.4 million EVs across the company's lineup. They've included problems with seat belt chimes, overheating infotainment systems and a Full Self Driving bug that let vehicles roll through stop signs. The company also had to change its Boombox feature over worries the external audio playback could override mandatory low-speed sounds.

The power steering defect also comes at a difficult moment for Tesla. The company's stock value has dropped sharply in recent weeks as investors fear Elon Musk's Twitter purchase may have distracted the entrepreneur. Tesla stock is hovering around $190 as we write this — lower than it was in May 2021. Factor in a tumultuous third quarter and it's clear the brand has lost some confidence, even if its sales are still very healthy.