Tesla on Friday lashed out at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) after the agency said it received reports of a potentially dangerous suspension problems in the Model S.
In a lengthy blog post titled “A grain of salt,” Tesla said there was no problem with the suspension. The company also denied that car owners were being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to thwart customer complaints to safety regulators.
The NHTSA said it was looking into reports of a flaw in some Tesla models that could cause the driver to lose control of the car.
“NHTSA learned of Tesla’s troublesome nondisclosure agreement last month,” Bryan Thomas, NHTSA director of communications said in a statement.
“The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and NHTSA expects Tesla to eliminate any such language,” he added.
The agreements, which Tesla refers to as “Goodwill Agreements,” did not mention NHTSA. But they did say that customers agreed not to discuss the problem or the repairs in general with anyone.
Some Tesla Model S owners have complained both to NHTSA and on discussion boards about front suspension components failing on Tesla Model S cars. Those parts attach the wheel to the car and could cause the driver to lose control if they fail.
NHTSA’a online database of consumer complaints does feature several complaints about the suspension in Model S cars and one in a Model X SUV.
Last spring, Tesla issued a “technical service bulletin” regarding a front suspension issue on model year 2012 and 2013 Model S cars.
On Friday, Tesla denied that there was any widespread issue with suspension parts. The company says the vehicle used in the KanBan blog post, had been subject to extreme use.
Tesla also said the point of its goodwill agreement with customers was to prevent the company’s willingness to pay for repairs outside the normal warranty period from being used against the automaker.