Humans have been making cars for over a hundred years, and in that time, governments have had the opportunity to make a whole heck of a lot of rules regulating how new vehicles should be made. Tesla has just run afoul of one of the smaller rules – literally, and metaphorically.
The automaker must recall pretty much every vehicle it has ever sold in the U.S. because the font size of the Brake, Park, and ABS System warning lights is too small. As a result, it will have to update 2,193,869 vehicles in total.
The recall pertains to Model S EVs made between 2012 and 2023, Model Xs made between 2016 and 2024, Model 3s built between 2017-2023, Model Ys that left the factory between 2019 and 2024, and even the newly released 2024 Cybertruck.
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All of the above-listed vehicles were equipped with warning light systems whose letters were smaller than an eighth of an inch (3.2 mm). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the letters must be that size or larger in order to ensure they can be read.
While it may sound like a slightly silly issue, it does make sense to have a minimum font size for warning lights. The whole point of the system is to be seen, and if the lettering is too small to read for large portions of the population, it kind of defeats the purpose of having them there in the first place. In fact, the lettering was so small that Tesla admits that it has received three warranty claims relating to the problem.
Ultimately, it is the company that fessed up to the font size issue, which it discovered after a routine compliance test last month. Since the warning lights are shown on a screen, the solution will be relatively simply. The automaker just needs to push an over-the-air update.
Tesla reports that the update started rolling out at the end of January, and that it will increase the font size on the Brake, Park, and ABS system warning lights so that they comply with American regulations. The update will be sent out free of charge.