Tesla Gets Proactive About Faulty Seat Belts

Just last week, Tesla announced that it was voluntarily recalling every Model S every made to make sure the front seat belts were installed properly. A woman in Europe was riding in a Model S and turned to talk to people in back. When she did, one end of her seat belt came loose. Tesla diagnosed the problem as a loose retaining bolt holding the seat belt to the pre-tensioner. It immediately notified the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that it had initiated a voluntary recall of every Model S ever manufactured. That’s some 90,000 vehicles.

Tesla doomsayers immediately went into hyperdrive, claiming that checking all those cars would overwhelm Tesla’s network of factory service centers. They said nervous Tesla owners would park their cars and walk to work, rather than risk driving an unsafe car. On Wall Street, shares of Tesla stock sank on the news. Coming so soon after Consumer Reports decided to remove the Model S from its list of recommended cars because it has too many reliability issues, the automotive punditry went into full “The sky is falling! We must run and tell the king!” mode.

Some of you may be familiar with Bjørn Nyland. He is a Norwegian Tesla owner who has become widely known for his many videos extolling the virtues of Tesla. He recently won the Tesla owner referral program for the European area because he influenced more people to buy a new Model S during the contest period than anyone else. Some say Nyland is Tesla’s best salesman.

Over the weekend, Nyland stopped at a Tesla SuperCharger facility to recharge his car. Much to his surprise, he was greeted by a Tesla technician who spent about 2 minutes checking his car to make sure the seat belts were properly installed. Once again, Tesla has disrupted the status quo in the car business by taking an entirely different approach to how to handle a recall.

Rather than asking customers to make an appointment and perhaps wait weeks to get the problem resolved, it is sending service representatives into the field to the very place where Tesla owners are most likely to be found — at one of the more than 850 SuperCharger locations worldwide. Since owners are already expecting to spend time recharging their cars, the extra few minutes it takes to make sure their seat belts are in good working order makes the process as convenient as possible.

If you are concerned about the seat belts in your own Model S, but don’t have a service center or SuperCharger facility near you, you can perform the same safety check a Tesla service representative would do yourself. Details for the procedure can be found in this video, starting at about the 3:45 minute mark.


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.