Attention Students in Service Technician Training: Tesla Takes Initiative, Issues Massive Recall
December 2, 2015
Tesla’s recalling of 90,000 Model S cars due to a seatbelt issue has had the auto industry buzzing over the past week. The electric car manufacturer’s stock has lost around $1 billion in value, and has some pundits speculating about the future of the company, which was previously seen as a fast-rising star in the auto world.
Mass recalls by automakers are quite common. For automotive service technicians, who often find themselves having to reassure customers about their car’s safety after recall notices are issued, it’s important to separate the myths from the facts, be able to explain issues to customers, and advise them of any precautions they need to take.
How Recalls Work: A Guide For Automotive Service Technician Students
Recalls occur when an automaker, customer, dealer, or service technician discovers a problem and reports it. Not all recalls relate to safety defects, and many are initiated by manufacturers when features simply don’t meet their own quality standards. Automakers issue a public recall notice, notify affected customers by mail, and offer to have the problem repaired by an automotive service technician.
On average, around 100 major auto recalls occur every year. Recently, Hyundai recalled 304,900 Sonatas due to a brake light issue, while Toyota recalled around 30,000 different models in their Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Lexus ES350, and ES300h vehicle lines because of a fault in the collision avoidance system.
Hyundai Sonata’s have also recently been recalled due to a problem with the brake lights.
Why Was The Model S Recalled? A Service Technician Training Perspective
Students in service technician training know just how important vehicle safety is, and Tesla has been proactive in addressing this issue. The incident which prompted the recall occurred when a European customer reported that the seat belt assembly in the front passenger seat broke when they turned to talk to backseat passengers. It was discovered that it was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner.
The company inspected 3,000 of its models and found no issues, but decided on the voluntary recall as a precautionary measure. While no-one was injured in the incident, a seatbelt failure like this could put passengers at serious risk of injury if a collision occurred.
Tesla have offered customers free inspection and repairs, as well as advising them on how to perform a precautionary check themselves prior to driving, by “pulling very firmly on the lap portion of your seat belt with a force of at least 80 pounds.”
The Future Of Tesla And How This Recall Affects Your Service Technician Career
Tesla’s innovative designs, unique computer-based interfaces, and high-profile CEO Elon Musk have attracted a lot of admiration. As the company attempts to expand its operation, with plans to manufacture the lower cost Model 3 underway, this recall could not have come at a worse time.
With electric cars continuing to divide opinions, Tesla’s recall has attracted more attention than normal. It doesn’t help that the company also recalled 29,000 wall chargers last year, and Tesla’s competitors and detractors have jumped at the chance to raise concerns about the safety of the automaker’s cars.
While the issue itself is minor, the negative publicity could be very damaging, and even set back the electric car industry as a whole in the long run. For those pursuing a service technician career, it means that the future of the industry, and the kind of vehicles they can expect to work on, is more uncertain than ever.
Tesla’s unique computer interfaces have made them popular with consumers.
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