Electric car manufacturer Rivian is voluntarily recalling 12,212 vehicles over concerns of a possible loose fastener, or nut, that could cause serious problems like 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 this issue, which it became aware of on Sept. 28. While Scaringe explained that the problem only affected “a small percentage of vehicles,” and that the company had so far only seen seven reports “potentially related” to the loose fastener, it was issuing the recall out of an abundance of caution.
A Rivian spokesperson on Saturday told Gizmodo that the company will make any necessary adjustments to customers with affected vehicles free of charge at its service centers. To date, Rivian is not aware of any injuries that have resulted from this issue.
“We will begin immediately contacting affected customers to schedule appointments for inspections and repairs if needed,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The repair takes a few minutes to complete, and with customer collaboration, we have built out the capacity to complete the needed action in as little as 30 days.”
The official recall notice was published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as the NHTSA, on Saturday. It includes certain models of Rivian’s 2022 R1T pickup truck, its R1S SUV, and its electric delivery vehicles, or EDVs. Although the recall includes 12,212 vehicles, Rivian estimates that only 1%, or roughly 122, are affected.
In a description of the problem provided to the NHTSA, Rivian provided more specifics on the loose fastener issue and its possible consequences. As explained by the electric car maker, the fastener connecting the front upper control arm and steering knuckle may not have been tightened, or torqued, enough. In these cases, “a loose steering knuckle fastener could separate, causing a loss of vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash,” Rivian stated.
The solution, according to Rivian, is to simply tighten the nut.
“It’s important not to minimize the potential risks involved and why we are volunteering to conduct this recall. In rare circumstances, the nut could loosen fully,” Scaringe said in his letter to customers, which was seen by Gizmodo. “I want to reiterate that this is extremely rare, but it does reinforce why we are acting with such urgency and caution.”
Rivian customers with this problem may “experience excessive noise, vibration or harshness from the front suspension, or a change in steering performance or feel,” Scaringe said in his letter. In those cases, customers should call Rivian immediately. If customers don’t feel safe driving their cars, Rivian will come to them to fix the issue or pick up the vehicle to repair it at one of its service centers, the CEO stated.
So far this year, Rivian has produced 14,317 vehicles. Not all of the cars the company produced this year are affected by the recall, as some of the 2022 models started going into production last year. In an announcement earlier this week, Rivian stated that it was on track to meet its goal of producing 25,000 vehicles in 2022.
The company is scheduled to release its third quarter financial results on Nov. 9.