2021 Tesla Model X Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain and electrical system issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Tesla has been at the cutting edge of electric cars for decades. Five years after founding the company in 2003, the group of engineers at the helm launched the Roadster. In 2012, they designed the Model S from the ground up, calling it the first premium all-electric sedan.

The Model X followed in 2015. Since then there have been design changes and upgrades, as well as new models.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2020   2022

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Tesla Model X

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Power Train
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Steering:electric Power Assist System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Lane Departure: Warning

Now, Tesla refers to its Model X as “the safest, quickest, most capable sport utility vehicle in history.” It adds that it holds 5-star safety ratings across every category from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

They don’t mention that there are records of numerous official NHTSA investigations, two of which are still open. They also don’t mention the many complaints made to NHTSA by Tesla Model X owners over the past seven years.

There are currently 6 recalls for the 2021 Tesla Model X and a total of 14 complaints. We’re going to look at the most common problems owners complain about.

Most Common Problems with the 2021 Tesla Model X

The most common problems relate to the electrical system, forward-collision avoidance, vehicle speed control, and some that seem to be software issues. Some of these issues are connected. For instance, two electrical system complaints also mention vehicle speed control. One mentions forward-collision avoidance.

There are 2 suspension and 2 powertrain complaints, and 1 each that relate to exterior lighting, lane departure issues, and visibility/wiper.

2021 Tesla Model X Electrical System Problems

It goes without saying that the electrical system of an electric car is paramount. But electrical system problems recur annually, and not just with the Model X. For example, a recent Lemberg Law article shows that complaints to the NHTSA about the Model S electrical system are more common than other complaints.

We also highlighted electrical problems about the 2020 Model X in another article that you can read here.

There are at least 7 complaints about the 2021 Model X electrical system, some of which are listed in the category Unknown or Other. They range from the computer MCU shutting down multiple times to the instrument cluster screen blanking or blacking out. The latter is also a problem with the 2021 Model S.

One complaint is about the 2 screens on a Model X blacking out while driving on an interstate highway at 75 mph. “Tesla seems to believe this is a non-issue and a minor inconvenience that ‘just happens from time to time – nothing to worry about’. I, on the other hand, consider this a safety issue.”

2021 Tesla Model X Forward-Collision Avoidance & Vehicle Speed Control

A complaint that highlights forward-collision avoidance, vehicle speed control, and electrical system problems describes an accident with one injury.

The instrument cluster screen and driver’s instrument panel went dark. When the lights came back on, the driver could see there was only 30 miles of range left. Ironically, the nearest charging station was at the Fremont Tesla factory.

After slowing down the car, the driver was about to change gears to reverse “when the car suddenly accelerated without warning and ended up hitting one of the charging stations. The car finally came to a halt after striking the charging station.” The complaint continues, “We were all shocked to see that none of the airbags were deployed, even though the collision was pretty nasty.”

Three of the occupants of the car, including the driver, were badly shaken and their backs were strained. A woman in the back of the car, who was taking off her seatbelt, was thrown off the seat and suffered facial injuries.

“Tesla refuses to acknowledge any vehicle issue and has not shared any accident investigation report,” the complainant says.

2021 Tesla Model X Powertrain Problems

One driver reports front half-shafts failing 3 times, and says it is a safety hazard. Another, reporting a rattling/grinding sound when accelerating, complains that “Tesla says it’s normal. It’s an ongoing issue and Tesla refuses to repair (it).”

What to do if your 2021 Tesla Model X is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Tesla is well aware of lemon law issues and acknowledges owners’ rights in a document on their website. It describes how to make a claim. But instead of tackling the system on your own, you can reach out to Lemberg Law and our lemon law team will help you negotiate a settlement.

We have helped many car owners get replacement vehicles and have negotiated buy-back agreements or cash settlements from manufacturers. Call our Helpline and we will evaluate your case. The law requires that Tesla pays legal costs for lemon law cases, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Complaint Data

CategorySteering:electric Power Assist System
DateJun 23, 2022
The contact owns a 2021 tesla model x. The contact stated while driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle lost power steering functionality with the power steering assist warning light illuminated. The contact stated that the vehicle was difficult to steer while entering a parking lot. The contact stopped and restarted the vehicle before driving back to the residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 30, 2022
While driving, every few miles, an error will pop up on the instrument panel display that reads "park assist unavailable". This happens when driving normally, when not attempting to park, at any speed, with autopilot on or off. The error is accompanied by three, loud, beeps. They are of sufficient volume, and happen with sufficient frequency, that they are distracting from safe driving. They repeat every few miles, endlessly. I took the car in for service and was told the following: 1. The error is "normal". (even though it refers to parking, and it happens when not parking.) 2. The problem cannot be fixed. 3. The sound accompanying the error cannot be muted. 4. This happens in all tesla model x cars. This is an ongoing issue, and occurs almost every drive. I'm supplying today's date as the "date incident occurred".
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJan 20, 2022
Hello, I wanted to alert you to tesla's v11 software update for cars. This is the software we need to use for climate, lights, and most other functions has new and unsafe ui layout that I consider a safety issue. Icons have become tiny and difficult to see, they are also now nested in submenus, and the whole interface requires a driver to take their eyes off the road for a significantly longer amount of time to accomplish simple tasks like enabling or adjusting heating controls.
DateDec 17, 2021
There is a windshield defect on my vehicle but check the boards, it is a common problem. The windshield has a mottling defect which is not obvious in normal light but - drive into the sun and suddenly you are blinded. It must be a known situation as the boards report this on many different models. We have owned a prior tesla x so it is not us getting used to the car, it is a defect.
CategoryPower Train
DateNov 09, 2021
The front half shafts have failed 3 times already on this car, creating a safety hazard.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking, Suspension, Vehicle Speed Control
DateOct 26, 2021
On 10-16-21 saturday around 7:40 pm, I was going to my brother-in-law's house which is on the left side of the road I was driving. It is a single lane road in a busy residential area. I wanted to park outside of the house by the road. I took a left turn towards the gate, then slight reverse and put in drive to pull to park parallel to the road. My tesla model-x went into 'sudden unintended acceleration' mode, went left to right to left in a violent way, picking up speed like a rocket. I applied the breaks repeatedly, but the car did not stop and continued to race on the road for about 0. 3 mile where the road takes slight left turn. It went and crashed into a 40 ft tall big pine tree at probably more than 150 mph. It knocked off part of the compound wall of the owner, and passenger front tire blew away and landed in their front yard. I had the seat belt on. No other vehicle involved. I was the only occupant in the vehicle. No fire. I called 911 from my cell phone. I opened the driver side door manually and got out. Police took the report from me and took pictures. The report will be in another 3 days. Ambulance took me to hospital. Broke rt ulna, lumbar 2 vertebra, pneumothorax lt lung with collapse of left lung, s/p chest tube. Also cervical muscle strain/ rupture. Discharge after 3 days. Still lot of back pain. Unable to go to work. Car is total loss. I have tesla insurance. Reported the accident to insurance. Adjuster still working on the claim. Requested to 'preserve the car' for further investigation. 7-14-21: when I stop at a light, the front end of car goes up by about 4 inches. Took to tesla service center and I was told it is adaptive suspension and it is normal. 8-10-21. When I apply break to stop at a red light, and when I turn on left turn signal, power shuts off completely, everything blank in the middle of busy traffic, had to reset power. Very scary. Happened twice. Complained. Tesla remotely updated sd card. Happened again on 10-15-21.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 13, 2021
The touchscreen and instrument panel/dash screen went black and shut down on several occasions while driving the vehicle. I was not able to see how fast I was going and no indication of whether my turning signal or lights were working. But mostly, it was just scary. I have documentation of all the recent occurrences that this has happened, but it has been more than that (all times on central standard time): 5/5/21 - 3:30pm 5/22/21 - 11:37am 5/25/21 - 11:20am 6/1/21 - 9:18am 6/12/21 - 8:00pm 8/23/21 - car screens did not work, but did not black out 9/10/21 - 6:50pm
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure: Warning, Unknown Or Other
DateAug 31, 2021
My sd card failed and had to be replaced on my 2021 model x. The car's screens went completely blank during the 2021. 24. 3 software update. Car lost all power while park, failed to turn on after 3+ hours, had to be towed to service center. There was told the sd card failed and had to be replaced. This faulty sd card seems to be more than just a 2016-2018 issue.
CategoryElectrical System, Exterior Lighting, Vehicle Speed Control
DateJul 06, 2021
Since delivery in december 2020 the computer mcu has shut down for two minutes while driving over a dozen times. The computer reboots after a couple of minutes but during this time it disables all instrumentation, turn signals and other driver information. I brought it in to the tesla service center in highland park, illinois with a list of dates and times that it shut down and they told me it was a known firmware issue and that there would be a solution sometime in the future. I don't believe a 2021 tesla that cost nearly 0 k would force me to stick my arms out the window to make turn signals.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateJun 28, 2021
Since my delivery date of 12/4/2020 I have had four different times where both of the screens on my tesla model x have gone blank. On two of the occasions the vehicle was parked but on two other occasions the vehicle was being operated at highway speeds on the highway. I have also experienced partial software downloads from tesla twice. It is very discomforting to be traveling an interstate highway at 75 mph and have all the screens that display information necessary to operate your vehicle go blank. I have had one mobile technician look at the incomplete software download issue on 2/11/2021 state that maybe a new cpu/mcu needs to be installed. There are other posts at : https://hiride. Com/tesla-fix-black-touchscreen/ that show similar touchscreen issues. With my latest service trip on 6/22 - 6/24/2021 the san antonio, tx service center was "unable" to recreate the problem and their diagnostics didn't show any issues. However just 3 days after I picked up the vehicle had the blank screens issue showed back up. Since tesla service is exclusive to tesla I cannot get a "second opinion" on the issue. And tesla seems to believe this is a non-issue and a minor inconvenience that "just happens from time to time." "nothing to worry about." I on the other hand consider this a safety issue. Please help by looking in to this problem and helping other tesla owners to get this resolved.
CategoryElectrical System
DateApr 18, 2021
While driving the car lost power to all screens and functions such as signals and speedometer all stopped working. The computer system rebooted in 10 seconds. This has happened 4 times in mater of 3 months.
CategoryElectrical System, Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Vehicle Speed Control
DateApr 02, 2021
I purchased a tesla model x on 14 nov 2020 and had been driving just around 2 months. At around 11:10pm or so as we were cruising on the I-580, and were 2 exits north of the 680 highway, the entire instrument cluster in the car which included the large screen and the driver's instrument panel went completely dark. We were baffled as this was something we never encountered before. We began pulling over to the side when after about a couple of mins the lights came on and the panel showed that we had just around 30 miles of range left. We then proceeded to the nearest charging station which happened to be the tesla factory at 45500 fremont blvd, fremont, ca, 94538. As we reached the charging station we slowed down the car by taking foot off the pedal and was about to change gears to reverse when the car suddenly accelerated without warning and ended up hitting one of the charging stations. The car finally came to a halt after striking and mounting over the charging station. The car struck the charging station head on from the front and around the mid left part of the front bumper. We were all shocked to see that none of the airbags were deployed, even though the collision was pretty nasty. While three of us managed to get away badly shaken and with strained backs, one of the occupants was sitting in the rear and was in the process of taking off her seat belt as the car was slowing down. She was thrown off her seat and suffered injuries to her face. Tesla refuses to ack any vehicle issue and has not shared any accident investigation report.
DateMar 20, 2021
Here is a 2021 model x in the junkyard. Https://www. Iaai. Com/vehicledetails/39434989? Tenant=us&rownumber=19 the back wheel and suspension has snapped off. This is not the result of a crash it is the result of a manufacturing defect. The lower control arm has cracked in half allowing the wheel to go whompabout. Just look at the photographs. These lower links have snapped many times already and have caused fatal crashes. Please put a stop to this tesla madness. Thank you. Keef
CategoryPower Train
DateFeb 24, 2021
Under medium/heavy acceleration, there is a rattling/grinding sound like something is coming loose. Tesla says its normal. Its an ongoing issue and tesla refuses to repair.
CategoryElectrical System
DateFeb 11, 2021
We got a 2021 tesla x for just one month. But the computer has dead three times when I was driving in high way and have my two kids in the back seats. Two out of the three times I had to pull over my car to turn off the engine and turn it on again. One of the times the computer came back again by it self after being dead for couple of minutes. Luckily I did not use self drive mode those drives. Otherwise who knows what the consequences will be. I spoked with a customer service and been told it's a very common occurrence for their car. However this is not common for us. This really affects our safety since the monitor control everything. I have two school age kids and I have drive them to school and after school's activities. So the safety is number one priority concern for us.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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