Consumer Reports no longer recommending Tesla Model S
A shakeup in the list and bad news for the Tesla Models S and Y
Consumer Reports's annual Auto Reliability Survey has been released and not only are they no longer recommending the Tesla Model S, but they are questioning the reliability of the Model Y.
Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports stated that the Model S had problems with the touchscreen controls, main computer and air suspension. The Model Y had problems with paint and body hardware.
In 2015 Consumer Reports ranked the Model S as it's top rated vehicle and Fisher now says, "We see a variety of problems on that car. It's wavered throughout it's life cycle." The Model S was introduced in 2012 and Tesla has consistently updated it.
In general older models tend to fare better in reliability as companies address problems as the vehicles age. Tesla however has continued to update the cars without much change to the exterior, including over the air/remote, software updates, a trend that is becoming increasingly popular in the automotive industry.
Tesla ended up second to last overall in the reliability study, which is down two spots from a year ago due to the issues with the Model S and the Model Y. The Model Y has only been on sale for less than a year, but Consumer Reports says it has "below average reliability." In a recent and very widely reported incident, the glass roof flew off of a brand new Model Y hours after purchase.
Quite a few of the problems that were identified by Consumer Reports have been ongoing for Tesla. Owners of the older Model S and Model X were notified by the company that if they had to pay out of pocket to fix a problem with their main computers, then Tesla will be giving out refunds. The problems included blank touchscreens, drivers losing access to rear view camera, temperature controls and other glitches. These issues were related to memory device failures in the computer that stores the data from the vehicle.
Photo from Sjoerd van der Wal - Getty Images
After the notices were sent to owners, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expanded a safety probe into the main computer issues in the Model S and Model X made between 2012 and early 2018. Depending on the results, the probe could prompt a mandatory recall that goes beyond Tesla's warranty adjustment. According to the NHTSA, approximately 159,000 may have been effected.
Consumer Reports doesn't want this to put people off of EV's, with Jake Fisher saying this, "We continue to recommend many reliable EVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Kona Electric that have lower operating costs than traditional gas-powered vehicles. The initial problems we are seeing in some of the latest EVs are still covered under warranty and may improve over time. We will continue to monitor the reliability and costs of EVs over the long term as more models hit the market.”
The survey covers 2000-2020 model year vehicles and is based off of data collected from owners of more than 300,000 vehicles. Then a predicted new vehicle reliability score is assigned to various nameplates based off of the amount of reported problems and other measures.
The vehicles reliability rating is a key element in the overall score and whether or not Consumer Reports considers it recommended for consumers. The overall score also includes owner satisfaction survey results, road test performance, whether the vehicle comes with key safety systems and if applicable, results from crash tests.