The thought of a steering wheel falling off a car at speed is a nightmare driving scenario, and one Tesla Model Y driver had to live through it. Twitter user @preneh posted images of the aftermath of an incident that occurred on a highway in Woodbridge, New Jersey, showing the wheel dangling and held only by a wiring harness.
Thankfully, @preneh was able to pull to a stop without hitting anything or anyone. Woodbridge Police were soon in attendance, and the one-week-old Model Y was towed to a nearby Tesla service centre. Which, just to make the whole situation worse, promptly sent a virtual bill for $103.96.
The charge was later removed, but unsurprisingly, @preneh wanted to go a step further and send the car back for a full refund, a request which was declined, as Tesla’s no-quibble seven-day return policy was binned in 2020. Instead, the dealership - which later called and apologised for the incident - has given the man two options: either keep the car “with assurance [sic]” or have it replaced with a new vehicle.
This isn’t the first time a Tesla’s steering wheel has made a bid for freedom - in 2020 a Model 3 owner experienced something similar in an also fairly fresh car. It turned out the bolt that was supposed to be holding the wheel on hadn’t been installed at all.
Although worrying reports of shoddy Tesla quality control do crop up from time to time, it’s worth noting Ford recalled some 1.4 million vehicles in 2018 for a steering wheel retaining bolt that was at risk of working loose over time. In 2022, Hyundai recalled a handful of vehicles due to an incorrectly torqued bolt connecting the steering rack and column, giving the potential for steering failure.