Tesla doesn’t need to issue recalls, because it can simply do an over-the-air update

Image: Tesla

Tesla has just issued probably the smoothest, least disruptive vehicle “recall” ever.

The company recently found out that a software flaw might affect the passenger seat airbag functionality in right-hand drive Model X cars. While this might technically be counted as a recall, the fix will come in the way of an over-the-air update this weekend and customers needn’t do anything but wait a few days and accept the update.

Tesla announced the “recall” in an email sent to customers Wednesday, first reported by CarAdvice.

Although were not aware of a single customer car that has had an issue with it, there was an anomaly with the passenger airbag in a right-hand-drive ModelX that was part of routine internal tests this week. After reviewing the results of this test, we were able to isolate the anomaly to the software controlling the passenger airbags in right-hand-drive ModelX cars only, and we are already developing an over-the-air software update that fixes it,” the email said.

The fix will arrive “this weekend,” Tesla said, and there is “no need to bring your vehicle into service.”

There is one inconvenience, though; Tesla recommends “that the front passenger seat of your vehicle not be occupied until the software update isinstalled.”

While not being able to drive anyone in the passenger seat for a few days can be a nuisance, it’s definitely better than having to bring your car to Tesla and wait for a fix.

This is not the first recall Tesla has had; in April, the company had to recall 53,000 cars due to problems with parking brakes.

And in Nov. 2015, the company issued a recall of 90,000 Model S cars due to an seat belt issue.

On both occasions, however, the problems could not be fixed with an over-the-air update and owners had to bring their car into service.

But the company did manage to fix some issues with OTA updates before, for example in 2014, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alerted the company of a charger plug issue.

And its updates often add new features and even improve performance. Not everything can be fixed with software updates, but Tesla’s strategy of treating the car as an updatable internet-of-things gadget has certainly paid off so far.

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