Rivian recalls 12,200 cars for loose nut affecting steering

Shown is an image of a 2022 navy blue Rivian R1S driving on a road.

Electric car manufacturer Rivian is voluntarily recalling 12,212 vehicles over concerns about a possibly loose fastener or nut that could cause serious problems such as excessive wheel tilt and in rare cases wheel separation that could lead to major loss of steering control.

In a letter to customers on Friday, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told them the company planned to recall cars over the issue, of which it learned on Sept. 28. While Scaringe explained that the problem only affected “a small percentage of vehicles”, and that the company had seen only seven reports so far “possibly related” to the loose buckle, it issued the recall out of an abundance of caution.

A Rivian spokesperson told Gizmodo on Saturday that the company will make necessary adjustments to customers with affected vehicles at its service centers. To date, Rivian is not aware of any injuries resulting from this issue.

“We will immediately contact affected customers to schedule appointments for inspections and repairs if necessary,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The repair takes a few minutes and in collaboration with the customer we have built the capacity to complete the required action in just 30 days.”

The official recall was issued Saturday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as the NHTSA. It includes select models of Rivian’s 2022 R1T pickup truck, his R1S SUV, and his electric vans, or EDVs. Although the recall includes 12,212 vehicles, Rivian estimates that only 1%, or about 122, will be affected.

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In a description of the issue given to the NHTSA, Rivian provided more detail about the loose fastener problem and its potential consequences. As explained by the electric vehicle manufacturer, the fastener connecting the front upper wishbone and knuckle may not be sufficiently tightened or tightened. In these cases, “a loose steering knuckle attachment can become loose, causing loss of control of the vehicle and increasing the risk of a crash,” Rivian said.

According to Rivian, the solution is to simply tighten the nut.

“It is important not to minimize the potential risks and why we are volunteering to carry out this recall. In rare cases, the nut can come off completely,” Scaringe said in his letter to customers, which was seen by Gizmodo. “I want to reiterate that this is extremely rare, but it does confirm why we are acting with such urgency and prudence.”

Rivian customers with this problem may experience “excessive noise, vibration or harshness from the front suspension, or a change in steering performance or steering feel,” Scaringe said in his letter. In those cases, customers should call Rivian immediately. If customers do not feel safe driving their car, Rivian will come to them to fix the problem or collect the vehicle for repair at one of its service centers, the CEO said.

This year, Rivian has produced 14,317 vehicles so far. Not all of the cars the company produced this year are subject to the recall, as some of the 2022 models went into production last year. In an announcement earlier this week, Rivian said it was on track to meet its goal of producing 25,000 vehicles by 2022.

The company will release its third quarter financial results on November 9.

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