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

Electrical, suspension and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The 2022 Tesla Model Y is an electric car that continues to make news. While the automaker claims it is “designed for safety,” many owners aren’t in agreement. This EV suffers from major issues with the forward collision avoidance and vehicle speed control, leading to serious safety concerns on the road.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2020   2021   2023

Most Common Problems

By mid-September 2022, there were an incredible 556 complaints about the 2022 Tesla Model Y. Right from the start, these have focused on forward collision avoidance (now up to 405) and vehicle speed control (115). Brake issues (at 101) have also ranked high, and, in terms of numbers, are still close on the heels of the other complaints. Typically, these malfunctioning elements aren’t usually mentioned on their own, but are frequently coupled with other issues.

But that doesn’t mean that these are the only components and systems owners are finding fault with. While they are often part of complaints that relate to forward collision avoidance and/or vehicle speed control, there are 21 other categories that are implicated. These are the airbags, backover prevention, the electrical system, electronic stability control, engine, equipment, exterior lighting, fuel/propulsion system, lane departure, latches/locks/linkages, the powertrain, seat belts, seats, steering , structure, suspension, tires, visibility and visibility/wiper, and the wheels of this up-and-coming EV.

And it’s not just complaints we are concerned about. We also need to look at recalls and investigations.

Recalls and Investigations

There are 12 recalls that implicate backover prevention, the electrical system, equipment, exterior lighting, seat belts, seats, steering, suspension, and visibility. Unsurprisingly, forward collision avoidance doesn’t escape the list either.

Somehow, there is something to be said (in a positive way) about recalls because the manufacturer recognizes that something is wrong. But there are also 6 investigations into this headline hitting EV. The worrying factor is that one of these is because of a forward collision avoidance issue, and other because of vehicle speed control problems. Because of the high rate of complaints, we’re going to look at those before we highlight some of the many NHTSA complaints.

We also want to add, at this point, that with this high volume of complaints, it is hugely surprising that there are only 14 manufacturer communications on file with the NHTSA. These are required by law, and there are none that state they are related to forward collision avoidance or vehicle speed control problems.

2022 Tesla Model Y Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Vehicle Speed Control
Service Brakes
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Lane Departure: Assist

Problems with Forward Collision Avoidance

As a sophisticated electric car, one would expect Tesla to be using the latest technologies for a safer and more controlled ride. Yet, the forward collision avoidance software seems to be causing some problems. It’s impossible for so many owners to have imagined they have issues. And it isn’t only this Tesla model that has the major problem they are complaining about. It is now a recognized fault known as phantom braking.

Horrifyingly, Tesla dealerships are known to acknowledge that phantom braking is happening, but then say there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

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What is Phantom Braking

While exact scenarios vary, what happens with phantom braking is that when autopilot or cruise control are on, the car suddenly decelerates and stops. An owner from Colorado puts it more vividly. “While traveling at highway speeds from Colorado to Texas and from Texas back to Colorado my car continuously slammed on the brakes without warning while the autopilot (cruise control) was engaged. There was no visible evidence or object in common for each event. What made this dangerous is any untied objects in the car would shift forward and the vehicles behind me would have to slam on their brakes as well. On a few occasions it changed lanes with no cars in front of me.”

Another complaint states that while driving between Lincoln Nebraska and Denver using the driver assist system “the car braked for no apparent reason. This occurred 3 times in my 8 hour drive. I would be driving at 80 miles an hour with nothing around on a sunny day and all of a sudden the vehicle would hard brake.”

All the complaints tell the same story, albeit with slight differences. Many complaints indicate that there have been software updates but these don’t help.

An owner who experienced “repeated phantom braking when using adaptive cruise control” says it happened “at least 10 times in one day and is a safety issue.” Unfortunately, the most recent software update “seems to have made this problem worse, not better.”

The Dealership Response

An owner from Oregon states in an NHTSA complaint that after experiencing two phantom braking episodes, they went to the dealership. While they acknowledged that phantom braking was happening, they couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. They said “Tesla engineering is ‘working on it’.”

An owner from California tells how the Model Y had two phantom braking episodes. “On one occasion it applied the brakes when a car passed me going in the same direction. On the other occasion there were no vehicles anywhere in the vicinity and it applied the brakes for no reason. I took the car to the Tesla service center and they said they are aware of the phantom braking issue but have no fix for it. They recommended I use the autopilot again and file a report at exactly the time it occurs again. So, basically risk getting killed so I can file a report for them for a problem they can’t fix.”

An engineer with 25 years of experience tells how the autopilot engaged “for no reason” and the car “started to emergency brake. This was very scary since it was very abrupt and if another vehicle would have been following too close we would have been hit from behind causing damage and or causing death to us both.” Tesla looked at the logs but couldn’t find a problem.

Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

The vehicle speed control systems seem to be causing just as many issues, with drivers worried about their safety. But a closer look shows that most of the complaints about vehicle speed control are also forward collision avoidance issues. The overall problem here is that owners don’t always recognize the difference.

For example, an early complaint says, “When using cruise control on normal two way traffic roads during the day or at night: the car will brake aggressively because of proper oncoming traffic from the other lane. The system has been very poorly designed such that it only works on wide separated highways and there is no way to switch off this feature. I have already had two near accidents where the vehicle behind me didn’t expect my car to slow down so quickly for no reason. This is extremely dangerous.”

This is clearly a phantom braking issue.

One that doesn’t appear to have been due to phantom braking describes how a vehicle “inadvertently reversed onto the highway” after crashing into a guardrail and then into a ditch. The driver had tried to decelerate by releasing her foot from the accelerator pedal. But she lost control of the vehicle.

One that might have been related to phantom braking tells how the Tesla started shaking. The driver had cruise control activated when the vehicle suddenly decelerated on its own.

Another complaint listed as only a vehicle speed control issue tells how the Tesla “accelerated independently and T-boned another vehicle.” The driver and passenger were both injured.

What Should You Do If Your Tesla Model Y is a Lemon

If you think that your 2022 Tesla Model Y could be a lemon, you don’t have to live with it. Lemberg Law is ready to assess your problems to see whether you are right or not. The law says that Tesla must pay your lemon law legal fees, so don’t worry about those. Apart from which, every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of lemon owners.

We might be able to help you get the lemon out of your life. Call our Helpline or fill out a contact form and we’ll see what we can do to help you.

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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