Tesla has a big “safety recall” of 200,000 vehicles today in the news, but this big recall is, in fact, an over-the-air software update from a month ago.

If you are following Tesla news, you might have seen that it has been dominated by reports of Tesla recalling 200,000 vehicles:

There’s a lot of debate in the Tesla community about whether it’s fair to call those issues “recalls” since the word generally refers to having to physically recall a vehicle to the manufacturer or service center to fix the issue – in Tesla’s case, it is most often fixed with an over-the-air software update.

The media often focuses on Tesla having to “recall” large numbers of vehicles without highlighting that the recall is already fixed through a software update before they or even sometimes the owners even find out about it.

Today’s recall is a great example.

It is being described as a “problem with the rearview camera,” which can sometimes not come up when putting some Model S, Model X, and Model Y vehicles with HW4 on reverse.

Tesla provides more details about the issue in the defect notice:

On certain affected vehicles equipped with full self-driving computer 4.0 and running a software release version from 2023.44.30 through 2023.44.30.6, or 2023.44.100, insufficient inter-integrated circuit protocol stability may prevent the rearview camera image from displaying in compliance with FMVSS No. 111, S5.5.3.

The problem was reported right away when the update was deployed at the end of December.

As part of the chronology in the report obtained by Electrek, Tesla started releasing the fix as an over-the-air software update right away about a month ago:

On December 28, 2023, as part of the ongoing investigation, Tesla began deploying an over-the-air software update to a small population of affected vehicles to revert the revision described above. This update, as further described in the remedy below, began deploying over-the-air to all affected vehicles on January 3, 2024.

Therefore, we are just now seeing reports of a “safety recall” of 200,000 Tesla vehicles in the news today, but it’s, in fact, something that has been fixed through an over-the-air software update about a month ago.

Maybe we do need a better word than a “recall” for that.

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MuskWire TLDR:

Tesla has recently been in the news for a “safety recall” of 200,000 vehicles. However, this recall is actually an over-the-air software update that was released a month ago. The debate within the Tesla community revolves around whether it is fair to label these incidents as recalls, as the issues are typically resolved through software updates rather than physically recalling the vehicles to a manufacturer or service center. The media often focuses on these recalls without emphasizing that they have already been fixed through software updates. In this particular case, the recall is related to a problem with the rearview camera, which may not display the image when certain Model S, Model X, and Model Y vehicles with HW4 are put in reverse. Tesla promptly addressed the issue by deploying an over-the-air software update at the end of December. The fix was released to a small population of affected vehicles initially and then rolled out to all affected vehicles on January 3, 2024. Therefore, the reports of the “safety recall” are actually referring to an issue that has already been resolved through a software update a month ago. The article suggests the need for a better term than “recall” to describe these situations.