Tesla Owner's 'Horrific Experience': Steering Wheel Falls Off While Driving Down Highway with Family


A Twitter user posted a series of complaints this week, claiming that the steering wheel of a brand-new Tesla Model Y fell off while the car was zooming down the highway.

In a tweet tagging Tesla and Twitter owner Elon Musk, among others, a New Jersey Twitter user, @preneh24, who goes by “Prerak” on the social media platform, posted, “Family was excited to receive Tesla Y delivery on 1/24/2023. Was driving on highway and all the sudden steering wheel fall off, was lucky enough there was no car behind and I was able to pull on devider #SafetyFirst #Fixit #TeslaModelY #help.”

In a follow-up post, Prerak tweeted, “Thank You all for your replies, retweet and concerns. Like to share inside of the car as one tweeter was doubtful(fake) account.”

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The accompanying video showed what appears to be a Tesla touchscreen computer screen showing multiple error messages, including, “Automatic vehicle hold disabled; Steering assist reduced, Traction control disabled; Stability control disabled; automatic emergency braking is disabled.”

The next post shared what appeared to be a text message exchange between “Prerak” and “Tesla Service.”

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“Good morning,” began the service department message, dated Monday, “[W]e received your vehicle but do not have any context of why is towed in. Would you be able to provide us with some information of what is wrong with the vehicle?”

Prerak replied by attaching photos of the interior of the disabled vehicle, showing the steering wheel hanging by a few wires.

“Steering wheel fall off while I was driving. It’s really horrific experience on middle of highway steering wheel fall. I was with family and lucky enough that there was no car behind.”

The response from Tesla Service sounded sympathetic: “We apologize that you and your family had to go through this. We are looking into the vehicle now.”

Prerak explained that the frightening incident had caused the family members to lose their enthusiasm for owning the Tesla.

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“We (family) was excited to get it on 1/24/2023 and it become horrible experience yesterday. Now we lost faith Tesla. … [We] would greatly appreciate this car be taken back and full refund be issued. I feel safety is more important than tech car.”

According to the text exchange, Tesla Service assured the customer that they were looking into the situation, then later texted, “Service complete. Review and pay your final bill on the service screen …”

The bill showed $103.96 due.

That prompted another tweet asking for a refund on the vehicle: “@elonmusk Am I responsible for manufacturing defect? It’s not even week and getting bill for faulty steering wheel. Isn’t it company’s responsibility to fix it? I would greatly appreciate refund and keep the car as we lost trust and family is not feeling safe driving it back.”

Prerak was advised that “Tesla does not have a return policy, but you can reach out to the sales and delivery team to see what your options may be.”

A later post, again tagging Musk, indicated the service charge had been removed and the customer was “in touch with dealership to refund me. They are evaluating option and I am awaiting response from dealership.”

The posts do not show any replies by Musk.

The New York Post reported an April 2020 incident in which a steering wheel fell off a month-old Tesla Model 3 owned by a Twitter user in Blackpool, England, identified as Jason Tuatara. In that case, the bolt was missing that should have attached the wheel to the steering column, according to the report.

The Drive pointed out that such problems are not unique to Teslas.

“It’s worth noting that while a strange incident, a steering wheel detaching isn’t necessarily a Tesla problem,” the automotive news outlet reported.

“In fact, Ford recalled 1.3 million vehicles in 2018 for the same risk, however, it was due to a bolt backing out over time and not due to improper assembly like the 2020 incident.”

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.