In a nutshell: The NHTSA in its latest recall notice for Tesla has found nearly 130,000 vehicles affected by an overheating CPU that could cause the infotainment display to slow down or restart. Consequently, owners may not be able to access certain functions like the rear-view camera, gear selection or windshield defrost settings, increasing the likelihood of a crash. Tesla has said it isn't aware of any injuries or deaths caused by the issue.
Considering how central the infotainment system is to a Tesla, and most modern vehicles, any software or hardware issue can pose a serious threat to driver and passenger safety. However, Tesla interiors tend to be more minimalist than other cars, and a lack of physical, dedicated buttons means that access to important functions and features of the vehicle like navigation and HVAC are also locked behind the infotainment display.
The NHTSA has recently put out a safety recall notice for a large number of Teslas affected by overheating touchscreens. These include the 2022 Model 3 and Model Y, as well as the 2021-2022 Model S and Model X.
The reason behind the infotainment system getting unresponsive or completely restarting is a toasty CPU that throttles during fast-charging or while preparing the vehicle for fast-charging. As a result, the NHTSA notes that owners may be unable to access the car's rear-view camera, gear selection, windshield visibility control settings, and warning lights.
An upside to this recall is that Tesla will fix the issue by tweaking the CPU's temperature management over-the-air, as opposed to having the vehicles brought in physically to a service center. In fact, the software update has already begun rolling out from May 3. Tesla has also notified the NHTSA of 59 warranty claims that it received between January and early May, and that the company wasn't aware of any related injuries or deaths.
The latest recall is one of many that Tesla has had to deal with this year. However, unlike the seat belt warning flaw that affected a massive 817,000 vehicles in February, the 130,000 figure this time is considerably less.