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Tesla recalling nearly half a million Model 3, Model S cars

The vehicles could have camera and front trunk latch issues.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Tesla is recalling more than 475,000 Model 3 and Model S cars, according to the U.S. road safety regulator.

In a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Tesla said it plans to recall all Model 3s from model years 2017 to 2020 — as many as 356,309 cars. 

The reason for the Model 3 recall is that a coaxial cable for its backup camera can become worn and fail to transmit images to the dashboard console. In a Safety Recall report on the NHTSA's website, Tesla estimates that about 1% of the recalled cars have the defect. 

The coaxial cable is attached to a harness on the trunk lid and can become worn after repeated opening and closing of the trunk. If the core of coaxial cable separates due to excessive wear, the rearview camera feed will not be visible on the center display, affecting the driver's view and increasing the risk of collision, the NHTSA said.

Tesla will inspect the trunk harnesses in affected vehicles and equip the harness with a guide to protect it from further wear if necessary. Owners who paid to replace or fix the trunk harness for the same issue prior to the recall may be eligible for reimbursement from Tesla.

Tesla discontinued the problematic trunk harness at the end of the 2020 model year. All 2021 Model 3 vehicles have a different harness design.

A letter notifying owners of the issue will be mailed beginning on Feb. 18.

Another NHTSA Safety Recall report said some Model S cars could have a misaligned secondary front trunk latch, which could allow the trunk to "open without warning and obstruct the driver’s visibility, increasing the risk of a crash" if the primary latch is accidentally released.

The Model S recall includes model years from 2014 to 2021. Up to 119,009 cars are involved, and Tesla estimates that about 14% have the defect. 

Tesla is not aware of any crashes, injuries or deaths caused by either defect.