In what appears to be a continuing spillover from Tesla’s recent contested recall of its Model S and Model X vehicles in China due to suspension issues, U.S regulators are now investigating the issue. The U.S. NHTSA announced on Friday it had opened an investigation into about 115,000 Tesla vehicles over front suspension safety issues, according to Reuters.
It said it would be looking into 2015 to 2017 Model S and 2017 to 2017 Model X vehicles after having received “43 complaints alleging failure of the left or right front suspension fore links”.
Tesla had already issued a “service bulletin” in February 2017 warning about conditions that could cause the suspension to fail. Potential suspension issues with Tesla’s Model S aren’t news. Many issues regarding Tesla suspensions were discussed on Twitter and Reddit under the guise of Tesla vehicles having “whompy wheels” for the last few years.
In fact, as we noted last month, suspension issues are one of the oldest ongoing critiques involving Tesla’s manufacturing (before Musk shattered Cybertruck windows live on stage, before Model 3s had dirt collect in their bumper, and before Model Ys saw their roofs fly off). Legacy complaints involving suspension date back years, to Tesla’s original run of Model S vehicles.
We pointed out that the Chinese had noticed the issue, resulting in Tesla having been forced into a recall of 30,000 Model S and Model X vehicles made for the Chinese market over suspension issues.
Related: Why Iraq Isn’t Producing 10 Million Barrels Per Day Yet
We also noted last month that a similar issue could affect up to 200,000 vehicles in the U.S. market.
The issue surrounds “a weakness in the Model S and Model X suspension that can lead to a cracked linkage after an impact.”
Recall, as far back as 2016, we were reporting about an investigation into the suspension of Tesla vehicles. Back then the issue wasn’t just the suspension themselves, but a potential coverup of the issue by Tesla:
As the website notes, “where Tesla crosses the line here is not the “crime” itself, but the coverup. If Tesla used a TSB rather than a recall to fix a safety problem, if it has an institutional bias against ordering recalls and if it uses NDAs as a matter of course to prevent owners from reporting defects, this could become the biggest auto safety scandal since the GM ignition switch affair. That’s a lot of “ifs,” but thus far the evidence indicates that these are very real possibilities. Watch this space for further developments in this troubling story.”