Tesla recalling up to 7,696 vehicles over seat belt issues in U.S.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk views the new Tesla Model Y at its unveiling in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, Tesla has initiated two new recalls over possible seat belt issues affecting up to 7,696 vehicles in the U.S.

One recall applies to up to 5,530 of Tesla’s electric cars including 2018 to 2020 Model 3s and 2019 to 2021 Model Ys. It concerns the safety belts in the driver’s and front passenger’s seats. The cars were manufactured between July 6, 2018, and March 21, 2020.

Tesla told NHTSA in a defect notice that this issue resulted from workers’ failures to always torque the seat belts into place correctly or to properly verify specifications were met after installing the seat belts.

NHTSA wrote in a recall acknowledgment: “an improperly attached fastener may prevent the seat belt system from performing as designed, increasing the risk of injury.”

The second recall applies to up to 2,166 of Tesla’s 2019 to 2021 Model Y crossovers manufactured by Tesla between Nov. 26, 2019, and March 30, 2021.

“During assembly, if the operator made several unsuccessful attempts to torque the second-row left- or right-side seat belt retractor fastener to the correct specification, he may have unknowingly cross-threaded the fastener, which can compromise the ability to torque the fastener to the correct specification, despite a confirmation in the torque record,” Tesla told NHTSA in a defect notice sent to the vehicle safety agency in late May.

There is sometimes an “abnormal noise” indicating a seat belt problem in affected vehicles, Tesla also noted.

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker has issued three separate recalls this week after problems with assembly caused potential safety issues.

As CNBC previously reported, Tesla is also recalling 5,974 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles because of potentially loose bolts in the cars’ brake calipers. That issue can cause, among other things, a loss of pressure in tires and can impact vehicle performance and safety.

Tesla employees previously told CNBC that they did not have enough time to finish their tasks properly during vehicle assembly and were forced to take shortcuts.

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