Most of you have probably noticed the latest news story about Tesla’s recall of 53,000 cars over faulty parking brakes. Given that this figure represents nearly two-thirds of the vehicles produced by the electric car manufacturer last year, it’s no surprise why everybody in the automotive industry is talking about it.
Many of us depend on our cars to get us from point A to point B, so naturally it can be unsettling to hear that the safety of your vehicle may be in potential jeopardy. What can also be worrying is not knowing whether an accident caused by a faulty component that was recalled would be covered by your car insurance. In this week’s article we cover everything you need to know about Tesla’s recall, and also whether it would affect your auto insurance.
What exactly went wrong?
Following a fault that was found with one of the parking brakes in both the Tesla Model S and Model X, Tesla recalled 53,000 cars manufactured between February 2016 to October 2016. That’s roughly 63 percent of the total number of vehicles produced by the American automaker last year, which totalled to around 84,000 cars.
Vehicles with the parking brake glitch contain a tiny gear that could have been produced by one of Tesla’s suppliers. If the gear were to break, the parking brake may lock and prevent the car from moving. Although the recall spans 53,000 vehicles, Tesla says that in reality less than 5% of recalled cars may contain the glitch, as only a very low percentage of the gears were assembled improperly. The main reason behind why the auto company has chosen to recall such a large proportion of their vehicles was, according to Tesla, to exercise an “abundance of caution”.
Tesla is currently working with their Italian supplier Freni Brembo SpA to get all the replacement parts needed. All affected car owners will be notified by their cars when their parking brakes need servicing. The car manufacturer further noted that they would get in touch with the owners via mail. The whole brake replacement procedure itself should take no more than 45 minutes.
No accidents or injuries have occurred as a result of this braking issue in Hong Kong or anywhere else so far. As such, the glitch appears to be a minor issue, especially in Hong Kong where only a few Tesla drivers would actually use their e-brakes, as they would usually use their normal parking brakes.
Previous Tesla recalls
To be completely honest, vehicle recalls are actually fairly common in the automotive industry, and this is not the first time that Tesla has had to recall their vehicles. In April 2016, Tesla recalled 2,700 Model X luxury SUVs in US due to a problem with their second and third row seats, due to a faulty locking hinge which was believed to increase the risk of the seat falling forward in the event of a car crash.
In fact, Tesla’s largest ever recall took place in November 2015, when the automaker recalled its entire Model S fleet - that’s 90,000 cars! The recall occurred after one Tesla Model S owner in Europe alerted Tesla that their front seat belt was not properly assembled.
No injuries were caused as a result of this issue, although if a crash did happen, the faulty seat belt would not provide full protection. Although Tesla did not find any other cars with the same seat belt issue, they still urged all Model S owners to make an appointment for their cars to be examined.
What about other vehicle recalls?
Besides Tesla, other top automaker brands have also had to recall their vehicles of late. For example, you may have heard of the Mercedes vehicle recall of 1 million vehicles worldwide in March 2017. Owing to an issue with some starter components in Mercedes vehicles produced between 2015 and 2017, which was thought to cause a fire risk, the recall covered a range of A-Class, C-Class, E-Class, and CLA cars as well as GLA and GLC SUVs. There have been around 51 fire incidents related to this fault, but fortunately there were no reported injuries related to this starter component issue.
Our article published in November 2016 also looked at the October 2016 Toyota recall of over 23.1 million vehicles worldwide to replace potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. As the single largest vehicle recall in history, this recall came as a bit of a surprise especially when considering that Toyota was always well known for their vehicle quality and longevity. What’s even more unsettling is that, according to CBS, 16 deaths worldwide have been linked to Takata.
For more information on vehicle recalls in Hong Kong, you can also visit the Hong Kong Transport Department’s website. On their site, you can look at all the running recall campaigns to see if there have been any recent recalls for the make of your vehicle.
Vehicle recalls and your car insurance
The good news here is that a vehicle recall likely won’t affect your car insurance, because if you were to say get your car repaired because of a recall, the repair costs are the responsibility of the automaker and not your insurance company.
Should an accident caused by a faulty component that was recalled occur, in most cases you will not be denied coverage. In this scenario, the insurer will usually ask the automaker responsible to make the reimbursements necessary to cover the costs of the accident.
On the other hand, if you were to ignore the recall notice (i.e. if you do not get your vehicle serviced), and get into an accident because you did not get the recall component replaced or repaired, then the accident may not be covered. However, if you can prove that you did not know about the recall (e.g. you were out of the country when the recall was announced), then you may still be eligible for coverage.
Finally, it would be best to ensure that you obtain your auto insurance policy from a reputable insurer. Get in touch with the experts at Kwiksure today to find the best value car insurance for your needs.