Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×
Transportation Hardware Technology

Tesla Recalls 53,000 Model S, Model X Cars For Stuck Parking Brakes (cnet.com) 106

Tesla has issued a voluntary recall for approximately 53,000 Model S and Model X cars, which may be susceptible to having stuck parking brakes. The company hasn't received any reports of the parking brake system failing, but decided to issue a recall for precautionary reasons. According to CNET, the recall affects 31,000 Model S and Model X cars in the U.S., "and all affected vehicles carry build dates between February and October 2016." From the report: The problem lies with the electric parking brakes that help secure the vehicles when placed in Park. The parking brakes contain a small gear that might fracture, which would prevent the parking brake from releasing. Thus, a car that enters Park may not be able to move again. This has no bearing on the vehicles' regular brakes, and Tesla has received no reports of the parking brake system failing to hold a car in place. Tesla estimates that about 2 percent of the vehicles recalled contain the improperly manufactured gear. It should be noted that the parking brake assembly is from a third-party supplier, as well.

Tesla Recalls 53,000 Model S, Model X Cars For Stuck Parking Brakes

Comments Filter:
  • Recalls are just par for the course in the auto industry. This is a tiny one. But for a company that is racking up debt and burning capital, cash flow is vital and recalls are draining $$ that are needed for growth. A large safety recall, if it were to occur, is a bigger risk for them than the large auto makers..
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're serious? They only built 50,000 cars in 2015. Tesla lacks the traditional service structure as well.

      This will be an interesting year for Tesla.

    • However, when they finally get the brake released, the car bursts into flames...but, that's a feature.
  • or leave out the t
  • by quonset ( 4839537 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @08:12PM (#54273325)

    The problem lies with the electric parking brakes. . .

    Funny, in all the decades I've driven, I've never had a single incident with a mechanical parking brake. Neither the one in the middle between the seats, or the one on the floor.

    Considering his smarts, it sure seems dumb for Musk to reinvent the wheel, especially for something the end user has no control over whether it works or not. As I have said many times before, there's a reason mechanical light switches are still around. They work every time.

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      I had to get mine tightened to pass inspection once, cost about 35 bucks.
    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      I had. The cable leading to the brakes got pulled loose from the lever and brakes couldn't be released.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Rust is also a common problem with traditional cable-based parking brakes. Get a little water in the cable, and over time, it rusts and freezes up.

    • by djbckr ( 673156 )
      My Subaru has an electric parking brake (my wife wanted it). I can't figure out what's wrong with a mechanical parking brake. Simple, and not reliant on other systems (electrical, and who knows what else) to work. If the battery discharges, you're stuck. I know, the risk is low, but still....
      • With an electric car the risk is not only low it is nearly non-existent.

        To activate the brakes the car has to have had enough charge to propel itself. There is perhaps a very small chance that the car could lose power in the exact moment where it was unable to engage the brake before power to the system was lost. Once the battery is discharged though that car is not moving under its own power, electric parking brakes or not. If it has enough power to move then it has enough power to engage/disengage the

        • The point is that when the car is not able to move on its own power, you can still disengage the parking brake and push it. Unless it's an electric one.
          • In what situation would you find a need to push this car? We're talking about a very rare situation, even rarer than a mechanical parking brake getting frozen while engaged.

            I kind of see your point but why would anyone need to push an electric car? What would the destination be? Maybe someone might need to disengage the brakes for a tow but any tow truck I've seen would have the ability to provide 12 volt power with sufficient current and duration to do so. It's also not all that uncommon for a "tow tru

      • I think that's how Subaru implements the hill holder for stick shifts.

        Some people also don't have good upper-body strength. I drive a friend's car frequently and when I park it I just zip it up, but he can't release the brake while seated normally. He has to lean way over and two-hand it to get it free. When he parks it I can take it out of gear and budge the car forward if I lean on it enough. Perhaps a better designed lever would help, but an electric brake would eliminate the problem for him.

        I still

        • I think that's how Subaru implements the hill holder for stick shifts.

          It used to be built into the vac servo... back in the early nineties.

          Some people also don't have good upper-body strength.

          It's a pedal on my 300SD and on my F250. The pedal mechanism is broken on the F250 :)

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          Protip: Stop using the partking brake entirely. At least unless you're parking on a significant slope. First gear is more than enough to keep the car in place, and there's the extra advantage of not risking the braking pads freezing stuck to the discs.
          In 10 years of driving ~200,000 km, I've touched the parking brake maybe 10 times.

          • Protip: Stop using the partking brake entirely.

            No "pro" would ever tell someone to do this.

            First gear is more than enough to keep the car in place,

            Again, no "pro" would ever tell someone to do this. You know why parking brakes exist? Because letting your gearbox take the strain of holding your car in place is one of the stupidest things you can do. Parking brakes exist for a reason. The people who design cars wouldn't put one in if it didn't have a use.

            • by fisted ( 2295862 )

              gearbox take the strain of holding your car in place is one of the stupidest things you can do

              Talk about stupid. Guess what, the gearbox is designed to withstand that strain with ease. Why is that? Because it's a completely negligible fraction of the strain it has to withstand under normal operating conditions.
              What you're worried about is not a problem at all.

      • My Subaru has an electric parking brake (my wife wanted it). I can't figure out what's wrong with a mechanical parking brake.

        For a plain simple old car, an electric parking brake only makes sense for one single element :
        - pulling it up is easier because it's not you exerting the actual force on the brake, but the brake's electrical motor.
        If your wife doesn't have that much hand force to the point that pulling the lever is cumbersome, an electrical brake makes it much simpler to use.
        (Push the button instead of try to pull the lever)

        For a modern car filled with electronics, it's an entirely different wolrd of possibility : now the

    • Have you ever had an issue with electric parking breaks in all your decades of driving?

    • I could be very wrong here, but there may be a reason for having an electric parking brake: a standard (manual) transmission is very effective at stopping your car when in 1st or R, and an automatic transmission is very good when in P. But their electric drivetrain might be very lousy at stopping the car from rolling when switched off, making the parking brake *absolutely essential* when the car is parked. Total speculation of course, but the characteristics of an ICE drivetrain and an electric drivetrain a
      • by nobuddy ( 952985 )

        And by making it electric, the driver does not have to worry about it. When the car is put in park, it engages.

    • Funny, in all the decades I've driven, I've never had a single incident with a mechanical parking brake.

      There are two kinds of people...

      Stick shift people. They use their parking/turning/emergency brakes. The mechanism does need occasional attention.

      Automatic people. They never use their parking brakes. This means that in the old days of drum brakes their brake self adjuster never actuated (most brands and years, exceptions exist that self adjusted in reverse or needed manual adjustment). They ended up

      • My truck has an automatic transmission and yet I use the parking brake quite regularly. Do I still fit in your two "buckets" of people?

        Someone might ask why I bother with the parking brake if I have an automatic transmission. Where I live there are quite a few hills and if I park on a hill and fail to engage the parking brake this puts pressure on the transmission such that it can take an "uncomfortable" amount of force to shift out of park. What do I mean by "uncomfortable"? I mean in that it's enough

      • Automatic here, I use the parking brake every time I park. It's the way I was taught to park a car, plus I know it works in the unfortunate event it has to be used as an emergency brake. Car is 40 years old btw.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Automatic here, I use the parking brake every time I park. It's the way I was taught to park a car, plus I know it works in the unfortunate event it has to be used as an emergency brake. Car is 40 years old btw.

          I was taught the same thing. Yes, you put the car in Park. But you also engage the parking brake because the transmission does lock in Park, but it's only a little piece of metal. The parking brake is cheap, a transmission is expensive.

          Also, on modern cars, there is no "e-brake" anymore. The parking

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Drum brakes for the most part are dead except in trucks. I'll point out the obvious mistake though. The self-adjuster triggers on every pedal depress, not when you use use the e-brake. The design of it is to keep the rear shoes at "near contact" with the drum. When I was an apprentice ~20 years ago, the guy I was under had been in the industry 50 years and had never seen a situation you're talking about. The shop I worked in? You could see 30k vehicles a year or sometimes even 80k vehicles, it wasn't a

        • Just not true. GM's, Ford and most MOPARs self adjust with each e-brake use. Some old mopars self adjust with each reverse. No drum brake self adjusts with each brake application. You are thinking of disk brakes.

      • by fisted ( 2295862 )

        Stick shift people. They use their parking/turning/emergency brakes. The mechanism does need occasional attention.

        Stick shifter here, have never used the parking brake (except when parking on a massive slope).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Read a little further. The problem is with a poorly manufactured gear, so it's a mechanical problem, not an electrical one. And mechanical brakes, and light switches for that matter, can and do break or fail for various reasons.

    • One of the features is parking itself.
      How do you do that with a traditional parking brake?

      I've had problems with mechanical parking brakes. The cables stretch, so need readjusting. Drum brakes get sticky, so they don't come off smoothly.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      Every car I have owned has had to have the mechanical parking brake adjusted at one point. I even had the cable break on one which left me with no parking brake.
      Mechanical light switches? I have an older house and I am constantly replacing old mechanical light switches. They break all the time.
      Toyota was working on an electric car with Tesla a few years ago but broke off cooperation. One of the issues (don't know if this was a "deal breaker") was that the old school Toyota engineers just couldn't fathom how

    • I had a problematic parking brake which didn't securely hold the cable. It would hold the car fine, but every time the brake was engaged it would get slightly looser, so it needed adjustment every couple of months.
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Considering his smarts, it sure seems dumb for Musk to reinvent the wheel, especially for something the end user has no control over whether it works or not. As I have said many times before, there's a reason mechanical light switches are still around. They work every time.

      Have you seen the doors on the Model X? Elon Musk is the new Rube Goldberg. ;)

    • by Brianwa ( 692565 )

      Really?

      Don't get me wrong, I am all for fully-mechanical parking brakes and am also wary of the electronic ones. Especially the "smart" ones that that automatically disengage when the computer thinks that's what you want, those are straight up dangerous.

      But I've seen the mechanical ones fail in all sorts of ways. It's something you have to keep track of and occasionally maintain.

      Right now I have one of the foot-operated ones and the bracket is bent enough that sometimes the catch doesn't engage on the first

    • I had a mechanical parking brake break on me when my father was trying to teach me how to drive a car. So the next lesson was how to replace the mechanical parking brake.

      Also, "a small gear that might fracture, which would prevent the parking brake from releasing" so it's a mechanical failure anyway.

    • I share your distaste for EPBs, but I have been party to parking brakes which have gone wrong. The mechanism froze up on one side of my A8. The ball popped off the end of the cable on my dad's F150. The pedal mechanism has gone wrong on my F250. The brake works but the pedal ass'y is shot.

      Also, it works now, but apparently the mixer for the parking brake on the T1N sprinter is a common point of failure.

      Manual parking brakes definitely go wrong.

    • My dad's Ford has an electronic parking brake, and I still have no idea how to release it. When I borrow his car, I just never use the parking brake. The car also has automatic headlights, and I can't figure out how to turn them on permanently while driving through a tunnel (there's about a ten second delay when the lights are on full auto). Don't even get me started on the radio, with its confusing, built-in media center.

      One of the biggest reasons why I own a Subaru WRX is because it's one of the exceed

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @03:34AM (#54274749) Homepage

      1) It's a mechanical device under huge manual and braking stress. They break. They can't not break. Maybe you haven't seen it, maybe you just don't use the break or own enough cars or care enough to check.

      2) I used to buy old cars. 5-10 years old. Until recently, I never bought new. I used to change car when they didn't pass the relevant tests, so I bought a lot of second-hand cars. Almost ALL of them had parking brake problems. From "it doesn't do anything" to "it needs a serious amount of adjusting" to it literally could not be released once activated.

      3) My dad does all my repairs/maintenance as he worked in the trade for decades. Ask him if mechanical parking brakes never fail.

      4) My new car, a year or so old now, has electric parking brakes. I distrusted them, like you. When my car was new, I took it to a couple of off-road locations to test lots of things (I'm not a boyracer, speed was NOT one of them, I'm literally talking about "Oh, I don't like that... how does that work if..." scenarios) - best way to get to know and trust a car is to actually activate these things in a safe place.

      Electronic parking brake? Massively outperforms a mechanical one. I could not make it not activate on demand. I could not make it activate inadvertently (it appears the button/toggle that controls it has debouncing that's undergone a lot of testing to avoid inadvertent activation, but yet work whenever you need it to). And there's a reason I couldn't make it work inadvertently... the parking brake is not just a parking brake but your only non-hydraulic method of stopping the car in an emergency.

      I deliberately read the latest car design requirements from the government and, at least in my country, the parking brake must still operate independently so it can be used in the car of a brake failure. I was worried they were obsoleting a safety backup, but in fact the requirements are much more stringent now than most of the old cars I used to drive.

      And so I took it on a non-public road. And I poodled along and pressed the parking brake. Holy shit did it stop. Even on gravel. Okay, so I got braver and braver and asked it to stop me from faster and faster speeds (never going stupid, but still - on a motorway this might need me to stop the car before it hits a line of traffic, late, after I realise the normal brakes don't work).

      HOLY SHIT. You have no idea how effective it is compared to a traditional cabled parking brake (no handbrake turns, for sure, because you just don't get time, but then I would never attempt that anyway). I only avoided whacking my head on the steering wheel each time because I knew it was coming after building up from the slower speeds (presumably airbags would kick in in a collision, I'm not testing that though!).

      I tested the "auto-release when you drive". I couldn't make it release when I didn't want it to. Literally, you have to have enough driver-instructed forward motion that you would hear the brakes screech anyway if you did move and it deactivates a fraction of a second AFTER you're actually moving against the brake.

      Hill starts? I actually worry now that with electric parking brakes, you never have to be able to do one properly. They make it that reliable and easy. I've literally never rolled back, not even an inch, unless you are absolutely 100% negligent and wait for the brake to release and then suddenly let get of everything and it still takes a second or two to roll back because the car has to have been moving forward to release the brake.

      And if I hold the foot-brake for a few seconds while stationary, it knows that and just puts on the parking brake too. It doesn't do it while moving at even a tiny speed where you can barely see the wheels moving even if you're doing that by holding the normal brake. It knows the difference.

      Someone put a lot of testing, thought and effort into my car's electric parking brake. I couldn't make it do things I didn't want, even when I was completely abusing the mechanism

    • I had an older Car where the Parking Brake became stuck. A little thing called Rust can be a real B*tch.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Electric brakes are not exclusive to Teslas. Many modern cars have electric parking brakes that are push button operated and can disengage when you hit the accelerator and can be set to auto engage when you come to a stop, e.g. so you don't roll back or forward on a hill.
    • I have a car with an electronic parking brake. (Audi S4) I thought the same as you at first, why fix what is not broken... But it is friggin great. From the manufacturer's point of view, they get rid of the expense and weight of 2 long mechanical cables, the subassembly consisting of the lever and ratchet mechanism, all the cosmetic trim associated with it, and all the labor to install that crap. From the driver's point of view, it is FAR more effective than a traditional parking/emergency brake. When y
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now if they would fix the damn roof seals from leaking every time it rains....

  • The lever you have pulled, "Brakes," is no longer in service. Please make a note of it.

  • "Tesla estimates that about 2 percent of the vehicles recalled contain the improperly manufactured gear. It should be noted that the parking brake assembly is from a third-party supplier, as well."

    If this is from a third party then it seems probable that this assembly was offered to other car makers. Have other car makes used this assembly? This is a voluntary recall from Tesla so it is possible that this is left unresolved by anyone with a car made by someone other than Tesla and has electrically activat

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @10:26PM (#54273961) Homepage

    Would this be of note if Toyota, Ford or VW issued a recal for this?

    Parts from subcontractors are often not up to snuff - the problem is noted, a recall is issued and that's it.

    This is only news because it's on a Tesla - I'm not a Musk fanboi but let's get a little perspective on the matter.

  • by Eloking ( 877834 ) on Friday April 21, 2017 @12:06AM (#54274293)

    Tesla has issued a voluntary recall for approximately 53,000 Model S and Model X cars, which may be susceptible to having stuck parking brakes. The company hasn't received any reports of the parking brake system failing, but decided to issue a recall for precautionary reasons.

    Well, this is the first time I heard about this. Look like they never watched "Fight Club" and the X=A*B*C and if XCost of Requall, then you shouldn't do one.

  • On cars for decades. They're variously known as parking brakes, emergency brakes, etc. It's a metal cable that runs from the pedal/lever for the brake and triggers the rear calipers, drums etc. The thing is the cable runs UNDER the car so it's exposed to all the crap on the roads and rots out over time.
  • I never use my brake. That's just how I roll.

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas

Working...