Tesla Offers Resolution for Defective MCU

by Gill D on November 12, 2020

This week, Tesla notified the owners of its older Model S and X cars on a refund being offered to cover any out of pocket expenses spent on repairs to fix the vehicle’s main computers. It has been reported that the units are having some glitches related to the memory and storage devices that causes issues that result in a blank screen on the media unit. And current owners who might experience these issues will receive an extended warranty under specified conditions.

The EV manufacturer will repair any faulty computers where the vehicle hasn’t exceeded 100,000 miles or is older than 8 years. Another condition under this extended warranty is that it will not apply where the car is approaching the warranty expiration.

All Tesla owners who were affected by this were notified via email:

“Our records show that you own or previously owned a Tesla Model S/X that was built before March 2018. It may be eligible for Tesla’s Warranty Adjustment Program covering malfunction of a memory chip (embedded MultiMediaCard).

This malfunction may result in a blank or intermittently blank touchscreen but will not impact the ability to drive your car. Tesla is providing eligible owners who experience a malfunction no-cost repairs to this part at any Tesla Service Center for 8 years/100k miles from initial delivery date. If you do not experience a malfunction, there’s no need to take action. 

If you have already paid for repairs that meet the conditions of the program, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Tesla will send reimbursement details and eligibility by February 2021.”

Tesla vehicles have a media control unit (MCU) that contains several processors and memory devices. It is the main computer that allow drivers to operate the car’s navigation system, entertainment content, air conditioning, GPS, and a number of other functions. One of the issues with the MCU is that the memory devices have a limited “write cycle,” and it’s when programs or erase cycles reach this limit, issues start to occur.

This has come up before in the past where Tesla owners took to online forums to report screen blackouts, which sometimes happened while driving. The random MCU failure could disable safety features that could put the driver and car at risk.

By extending the conditional warranty and offering refunds where Tesla owners had to purchase and install a new unit or pay for repairs, the EV manufacturer is taking proactive steps to notify Tesla drivers as soon as possible and also to avoid any potential lawsuits.

Some Tesla owners filed a complaint in California in May this year claiming there was a breach of fair marketing and sales practices, as well as consumer safety and vehicle warranties. The last thing Tesla needs in an influx of civil action suits that would no doubt become a serious problem.

After the complaint lodged, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started an investigation into Model S and Model X vehicles made between 2012 – 2015. It was found that Tesla has used some of the same MCU components in other vehicle models but in 2018, the company moved away from the MCU-1 system that had Nvidia Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 processors with 4GB or 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory devices made by SK Hynix.

To replace that system, Tesla started installing the next generation MCU-2 system in both the Model S and Model X vehicles, which also had an Intel Atom processor with Micron 64Gb storage chips.

So, if your Tesla is a 2018 or later model, your vehicle won’t be affected.

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