The California-based automaker emphasizes that the issue is rare and has only been observed in seven vehicles, but the recall effort involves nearly all the electric trucks the EV maker has built—about 13,000 vehicles, including 12,212 delivered to customers.
“As of September 28, 2022, Rivian became aware of seven reports potentially related to this issue that had accumulated over the production of Rivian vehicles,” the company said in a statement provided to Green Car Reports Friday evening. “It was determined that the cause of the issue was an insufficiently torqued fastener.”
Specifically, according to recall documents filed with the NHTSA and posted Saturday morning, the fastener connects the front upper control arm and steering knuckle. All the affected vehicles were built through September 27, 2022, and are from the 2022 model year—the only model year Rivian has delivered as of yet.
“While we’ve only seen seven reports potentially related to this issue across our fleet to date, even one is too many,” said CEO RJ Scaringe, in a letter that went out yesterday to all Rivian customers.
“It’s important not to minimize the potential risks involved and why we are volunteering to conduct this recall,” Scaringe later added. “In rare circumstances, the nut could loosen fully.”
Warning signs of separation—in rare instances—would be excessive noise, vibration, and harshness from the front suspension and/or a change in steering performance.
The recall will be a first big test for Rivian’s on-the-ground service operations, as it involves an in-person inspection, by a skilled technician, of every single vehicle in customers’ hands. Although it’s a troublesome physical repair issue that can’t be addressed by over-the-air updates, it does not pertain directly to Rivian’s battery packs, motors, or core electric propulsion hardware.
Until now Rivian has only tackled a minor service recall—a potential child airbag-sensor issue affecting about 500 vehicles, announced this past May. Fellow U.S. EV startup Lucid, also a company that’s had to create its own service operations, faced a recall of 1,117 Air electric sedans earlier this year over instrument-panel wiring.
For this new recall, customers are advised to call 855-748-4265 to schedule a mobile service appointment, or they can bring their truck in to a Rivian service center. Scaringe detailed that the company “will be setting up pop-up locations in high density areas for additional coverage as well.”
In most cases the process takes just a few minutes and is as simple as tightening the fastener “to a higher torque tolerance.” Rivian says that for the relatively few cases where it will need to replace parts, loaner vehicles will be provided and the vehicle will be brought to a service center.
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