Tesla recalls 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

Pleasanton, CA – December, 8 2020 – Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has recalled 9,136 2016 Tesla Model X SUVs whose roof panels may detach from the car while it is driving, leaving obstacles in the road and possibly endangering other drivers. This recall was announced alongside a Tesla steering bolt recall of 2020 Model Y.

Recall summary  

The  recall concerns two panels, or “appliques,” on the roof of the Model X—one behind the windshield and the other between the falcon doors—that may fall off while the car is in motion. The panels are attached to the SUV using urethane adhesive. With many strong glues, it is important to use a primer to make sure the glue sticks to the surfaces it’s joining. Tesla believes its applique supplier was inconsistent in how it primed the panels, and that this is why some of them are falling off. 

Tesla said it first became aware of the issue on September 21, 2020, but owners have been posting images of their detached Model X roof panels on Tesla forums since at least June 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received four driver complaints, starting in August 2017, of roof panels detaching from the 2016 Model X.


In its filing with NHTSA, Tesla admits that “if the applique separates from the vehicle while in drive, it could create a road hazard for following motorists and increase their risk of injury or a crash.” Tesla has received no reports of injuries or accidents caused by fly-away appliques, but the danger was obvious to one driver of a 2016 Model X who reported seeing a “top glass piece” (actually shiny plastic) that flew off the car “at freeway speeds. Not good.” The report, filed with the NHTSA, added that the piece  “could easily have killed someone in another car.” 

The dangers of road debris

Road debris is one of the top causes of injuries and deaths. For our previous reporting on the topic, please check out this page.

The repair

Owners may be able to see these panels separating from the roof, or they may hear a noise as wind causes the panel to vibrate against the car. Even if there are no signs of detachment, owners should take recalled vehicles to a dealer, who will test whether the panels in question are firmly attached. If they fail the test, the dealer will apply primer and attach the panels to the car properly, free of charge. 

Tesla has not yet reported to NHTSA when they expect this recall to begin.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 9,000 vehicles are included in this Tesla recall. To see if your car is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandTesla recalls 2016 Model X over reports of roof pieces flying off

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