2022 Tesla Model S Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake and electrical system issues are among the top complaints from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2022 Tesla Model S is an EV that continues to make news. It’s hailed as the sedan that can “go anywhere” from the manufacturer, but most customers are finding that the defects keep it from functioning at all. It seems to have a malfunctioning electrical system, bad forward collision avoidance and trouble with the service brakes, all leading to a dangerous drive.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2020   2021

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2022 Tesla Model S

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control
Exterior Lighting

Problems with the Electrical System

The electrical system in a Tesla should be leaps and bounds beyond other manufacturers considering this is an electric car. However, customers are flooding the internet with complaints.

Here’s one posted on the NHTSA website. “Last night, I plugged in the car (2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range) as I normally do and, via the Tesla app, scheduled the car cabin to be heated and the battery to be pre-conditioned by a specified time. When I entered the car at that time, the cabin had not heated up – the message on the display screen stated that the cabin heater was not functioning properly and that I should seek service. The temperature here in northern Wisconsin at the time of this incident was -13 F. Since I had planned to take a long trip across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this morning where there are few charging opportunities, and since I cannot assume that the battery pre-conditioned (which extends the range of the vehicle) if I had not aborted my trip I feel I could have been in a life-threatening situation due to extreme cold.”

If that’s not bad enough, the Model S is currently under investigation by the NHTSA. The Action Number is PE21023 and the investigation states that the gameplay function is visible on the front touchscreen when the car is in motion. Passenger Play is only meant to be used when the vehicle is in Park and it’s leading to a lot of driver distractions on the road. Plus, there’s a recall worth noting. NHTSA Campaign Number 22V025000 states that more than 800,000 vehicles might have been built with a seat belt chime that doesn’t work. If the driver hasn’t buckled their seat belt, the alarm will not let them know, thereby leading to a higher chance of injury. So, not only can drivers play games while on the road, but they can also go unbuckled for good measure.

Problems with the Forward Collision Avoidance

The Tesla Model S is designed with top-level safety systems included to provide a better drive, but these programs don’t seem to work as intended.

One such example is with the forward collision avoidance, which can be better understood by this NHTSA complaint. “When using cruise control (TACC) with or without using lane centering (Autosteer), my vehicle will often brake suddenly (and harshly) for no reason at all. It’s worse on undivided highways (with no median). I’ve noticed the phantom braking occurs most often when an oncoming tall vehicle (18-wheeler, RV/motor home) approaches, or I approach an underpass, or I approach a large shadow on the road (from a building or large tree). During a 90-mile trip last weekend, my car phantom braked almost a dozen times, sometimes severely. Fortunately, no one was following close to me. I feel this is a safety hazard and should be fixed.”

For now, Tesla has failed to respond to the problems with this safety system. There are no tech bulletins, maybe because the company doesn’t utilize traditional service centers that customers are used to. With so many defective vehicles driving down the road, all Model S cars should come with a warning plastered to the side that they are dangerous to be near. Drivers can “go anywhere,” but non-Tesla owners might want to stay clear of these EVs to better protect their families.

Problems with the Brake System

With well-functioning brakes, any car becomes instantly safer on the road. However, the Tesla Model S seems to struggle with this basic concept as well.

Here’s one final NHTSA complaint worth reading. “Sunday, January 2nd, on the way back from Vegas back to Sacramento, on the highway with Lane assist driving, the car suddenly braked going from 70+ miles to almost a complete halt. I was able to steer it into the oncoming lane to avoid the pickup truck from hitting us from behind. The braking system again slowed the car down significantly a few more times on this trip and wee have not used this feature since. Car was bought on December 26th and we are fairly new owners of a Tesla.”

Aside from stopping unexpectedly, the Tesla Model S also seems to forget to stop at times. NHTSA Campaign Number 22V037000 states that more than 50,000 vehicles could travel completely through an all-way stop intersection without stopping. This functionality is supposed to stop the vehicle as part of the Full Self-Driving software that’s being tested. At this point, any teacher would grade this test with a big fat “F” for Failure.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Tesla pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 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.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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