High-tech cars take the pain out of recalls, but there’s a catch

illustration of interconnected cars on a highway

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

“We’re getting into the area where humans are used as beta testers and guinea pigs, and it’s not somewhere we want to be,” Michael Brooks, chief counsel at the Center for Auto Safety, told CNN Business.

By Matt McFarland
March 23, 2022

Tesla recently issued four vehicle recalls in a 12-day span. But Tesla owners did not have to rush their cars to the nearest dealership to fix the safety issues, which ranged from its “full self-driving” driver assist function rolling through stop signs, to some windshields not properly defrosting.

Instead, Tesla pushed out an updated version of its software — much like how companies like Apple push out the most recent versions of their operating systems to an iPhone. It’s a growing trend in the auto industry. And it’s one that experts say has huge potential upsides but that is not without its own dangers.

A single traditional recall could financially cripple any automaker. Automakers must pay for the parts and labor to make fixes. General Motors, for instance, spent $4.1 billion on recalls in 2015 for issues including faulty ignition switches.

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