Trouble in Tesla Town: Unveiling 2021 Model Y’s Glitches

Before you sign on the dotted line for a used 2021 Tesla Model Y, there are certain malfunctions you should be aware of. This electric SUV, while a crowd favorite, has some persisting issues, despite Tesla’s innovative over-the-air (OTA) updates.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Model Y has shown a repeated tendency towards phantom braking and irregularities in vehicle speed control. These issues are part of the 714 complaints registered by owners of the five-seat rear-wheel-drive variant of the Model Y. Many drivers report that the forward collision warning system fails to perform as advertised, causing unexpected acceleration and deceleration.

“Many comments are as recent as this week,” indicating that despite the recall efforts initiated by Tesla in October 2021 under NHTSA Campaign Number 21V846000, the problem remains unresolved. This recall was intended to correct a flaw that could cause the forward-collision warning to activate, triggering the automatic emergency braking system.

Airbag malfunctions also feature prominently in the litany of complaints. Instances of airbags not deploying after a collision or airbag lights failing to recognize occupied seats have raised alarm. Such unpredictable airbag performance, coupled with phantom braking, poses a serious safety concern.

Drivers have also voiced frustrations over problematic door handles, which are prone to breaking, leaving them unable to enter or exit the vehicle from both inside and outside. Door latch faults have been identified in some cases, but the issues persist even after repairs at dealerships.

A study predicting recall rates over the next 30 years places Tesla at the top. The brand’s four models — the Model Y, 3, X, and S — occupy the first four spots in the top 10 most frequently recalled vehicles list. This could cast a shadow on the reliability of these vehicles.

Indeed, the Model Y leads the pack with 62.4 projected recalls over 30 years, approximately 15 times higher than the average vehicle. With more than 700 complaints and 15 recalls in less than three years of market presence, it seems Tesla has some critical safety issues to address, for the sake of both its EVs and its reputation.

Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all electric vehicle-related news, covering brands such as Tesla, Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan and others. He fulfills a similar role at the drone news site Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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