Tesla is facing a preliminary probe by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into 120,000 Model Y cars (2023 models) as reports surfaced about steering wheels dangerously falling off while driving.

The agency said it was aware of at least two incidents in which the wheel detached from the steering column in 2023 Model Y cars.

According to a filing posted on NHTSA’s website, the affected vehicles were delivered to owners without the “retaining bolt that holds the steering wheel in place”.

The NHTSA is assessing “the scope, frequency and manufacturing processes associated with this condition”.

Tesla recently “recalled” more than 321,000 vehicles for a software glitch and deployed an over-the-air (OTA) firmware update to correct the anomaly in tail lights that may cause false fault detections.

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It also recalled almost 30,000 Model X vehicles over an issue that could cause the front passenger airbag to improperly deploy in “low-speed” collisions.

In September last year, the electric car maker recalled around 1.1 million vehicles to prevent drivers from getting pinched by the windows while being rolled up.

The windows in these Tesla cars would not recognize certain objects while closing, which could result in “a pinching injury to the occupant”.

In May, Tesla physically recalled 1,30,000 cars to fix touchscreen issues caused by an overheating central processing unit (CPU).

The company also paused the rollout of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software in the US and Canada until a firmware update can be issued to address a safety recall.

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Despite a rocky takeover of Twitter which saw Tesla stock tumbling by over 60 percent, Tesla made more money than ever in 2022, as total revenue grew 51 percent to $81.5 billion and net income more than doubled to $12.6 billion.