North American models tested fine before delivery, but are also being included in the recall

In a recent email sent out by Tesla customer service, it was announced that Tesla was issuing a voluntary safety recall related to the third seating row in the new Tesla Model X. The flaw involves the locking mechanism for the seat back, and the possibility that it could slip under extreme stress.

The recliner was supplied by an outside supplier and was found to be potentially defective during testing before the company began delivering the Model X in Europe. According to the email, Tesla claims to have conducted 15 tests for North American models prior to their delivery without any indication of failure. Despite the fact that North American models passed testing, and there have been no reported instances of failure, Tesla decided to issue the voluntary recall anyway.

It has been reported that Tesla has worked with its supplier to redesign the recliner mechanism, and is currently working on constructing new seatbacks for each affected vehicle. Service centers will contact affected parties in the near future to schedule the installation of a new seatback, and Tesla expects production of all replacement seatbacks to be done within the next five weeks, if not sooner. Tesla is advising current owners to continue using their Model X as they normally would, but to refrain from using the third row of seating until the recall can be performed.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

It’s unfortunate anytime a vehicle has to be recalled, but you’ve got to hand it to Tesla for identifying a problem and putting things into motion to fix it before someone actually gets hurt. Furthermore, I commend the brand for sending out preliminary emails, which obviously got the word out quicker than waiting for the official recall notices to go out. Even though Tesla said that the North American models passed testing before delivery, I suggest Model X owners heed Tesla’s warning and hold off on using that rear-most seat for now. I know I wouldn’t want the seat back to fold on me in the unfortunate event of a collision.

Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X High Resolution Exterior
- image 648885

Read our full review on the Tesla Model X here.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author

Press Release

We are emailing to inform you of a proactive action Tesla is taking to ensure your safety as a Model X owner. Tesla’s internally conducted crash testing demonstrates that Model X will be the first SUV to receive the highest safety rating in every category, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains the safest SUV in the world.

Recently, during an internal seat strength test that was conducted prior to the start of Model X deliveries in Europe, the recliner in a third row Model X seat unexpectedly slipped. The recliner, which is provided to us by an outside supplier, is the locking hinge that allows the third row seat back to fold forward, and if a recliner were to slip during a crash, the seat back could move forward. Similar testing was conducted before the start of deliveries in North America, with 15 confirmation tests having been conducted without a single recliner failure. Despite these prior successful tests and no reports of a third row seat slipping in any customer vehicles, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure and will be replacing all affected third row seat backs.

Our records show that you own a Model X affected by this voluntary recall. We will shortly send you an official recall notice by mail, but we wanted to alert you to this action as soon as possible.

A fix to this issue is already in place. We have worked with our supplier to develop a new recliner design with improved quality that resolved the issue. We are now constructing new third row seat backs to match all affected vehicles. Your service center will contact you to schedule the installation of your replacement seat backs as soon as they are available. Based on current production rates, we expect all replacements to be completed on a rolling basis over the next five weeks. We will accelerate this timing if possible.

Until the recall is performed, you may make full use of your Model X, although we ask that you temporarily not have anyone sit in the third row seats while the car is in use. We recognize that not having the use of your third row seats for the next few weeks will be an inconvenience, but your safety is our primary concern. We assure you that we are building your new seat backs as fast as we can.

Thank you for being a Tesla customer. If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at 844-248-3752 or by email at We apologize for this inconvenience.

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