5 Common Problems With Tesla Model X (& Repair Costs)

Tesla unveiled the Model X in 2012 and described it as the most functional and advanced vehicle at the time. At first, it achieved 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.2 seconds. That number has improved over the years, making it the quickest-accelerating SUV in the world. 

But you can only scoot for so long before it gets old. Afterward, a vehicle’s reliability is what will matter the most. Unfortunately, the Model X lacked the dependability most car buyers needed. In 2017, Consumer Reports rated the 2017 Model X as one of the least reliable cars of the year. 

The most common complaints about the Model X include unexpected phantom brakings, suspension problems, faulty falcon wing doors, power steering issues, and poor paint quality. Keep reading as we discuss the common issues with Tesla’s Model X, solutions, and the possible cost of repairs.

How Reliable is the Model X?

The Model X is not one known to be dependable. Since the model was released, owners have experienced one issue or the other every year, leading to the cars spending a lot of time in service centers. 

Besides costing so much to fix, they also take time to repair. According to Consumer Reports, the Model X has an average reliability rating. And based on the available data from earlier models, it also predicted that the 2022 model would be much less reliable than the average new car. 

Nonetheless, the Model X was the first SUV to receive a perfect safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And Tesla has worked on improving the quality of the Model X, getting better every year. 

Most Common Issues With Tesla’s Model X

1. Unreliable Driver Assistance System

Lately, reports of Tesla’s phantom braking have surged, making the vehicle’s driver-assist system grossly unreliable. The issue has ravaged all of Tesla’s lineup, including the Model X, and is so bad that a class action lawsuit was filed.

The sudden braking increases the risk of rear-end collision. And oftentimes, the problem is triggered by the sensors detecting non-existent obstacles or false positives of collision warning whenever any driver-assist feature is engaged. 

While the issue of phantom braking is not new in Tesla vehicles, the complaints soared shortly after Tesla stopped using radar sensors in their vehicles. 


Tesla has tried to fix the sudden braking, but the problem subsists. According to Elon Musk, one of the reasons Tesla transitioned to a visual approach and ditched the ultrasonic sensors was to address the issue of phantom braking. It also rolled out software updates to disable the sensors in earlier models. 

But the reports of sudden braking soared after Tesla rolled out software updates and stopped using radar sensors. It was so worse that the company had to recall a version of its software update in the fall of last year.

There have also been suggestions that cleaning and recalibrating the cameras may also help. Still, the complaints of the sudden brakings persisted. The only fix that has proven effective is to either disable the automatic emergency braking before every drive or avoid using the driver-assist systems. 

And this is quite sad, considering that most buyers opt for a Tesla because of the self-driving technology. 

2. Suspension Issues 

Since the release of the Model X (and even the Model Y), suspension issues have remained the leading problem that has plagued the vehicle. Initially, the vehicle featured a smart air suspension system, which was later replaced with an adaptive air suspension system in 2019. 

Undoubtedly, both versions of the air suspension system delivered an excellent driving experience. However, the systems have gotten a slew of complaints, with the 2016 model having the most complaint. 

The most common complaint was noticeable vibrations or shuddering from the suspension during accelerations at high ride height settings

Other complaints include unusual noises, bumpy rides, the vehicle sitting low on one side, and total failure of the air suspension system. 


A defective front-drive unit half shafts were responsible for the acceleration shudders. Most Model X manufactured before 2020 had this major design flaw. Tesla issued a TSB for this defect and directed the service centers to replace the front half shafts, clevis mount, and axle seals for a subsidized cost of $400.

Ordinarily, sorting this out of pocket will cost you upwards of $2,000. Replacing a failed control arm could cost as much as $1,100 or even more, depending on if other parts need replacement. 

Any issue with Tesla’s air suspension system is usually an expensive fix. The service could set you back as little as $500 and could get as high as $7,200. 

3. Faulty Falcon Wing Door 

When Tesla announced the Model X, its most defining feature was the falcon wing door, described as the most functional of all doors. However, the door has had several issues since the Model X was released in 2014. 

The door’s distinctive style makes its mechanism quite complex, leaving room for complications. The most common issue with the falcon doors was difficulty opening or not opening all the way. 

Oftentimes, the complication stems from the sensors detecting non-existent obstructions triggering an “Obstacle Detected” error code. It is also not unusual for a defective door hinge or motor to trigger the failure.

Some owners also reported that the doors opened and closed on their own or won’t respond to commands from the door switch until after repeated attempts. There have also been reports of water leaks from the door seal and squeaking noise when operating the door. 


In situations where the door won’t open or close all the way, you should try overriding the system before contacting Tesla’s support. Press and hold the door switch until the door completes the motion. 

You should visit Tesla’s service center for water leaks or defective door components. Usually, the water leak is due to a broken seal. If your vehicle is still under warranty, then you are in luck. If not, replacing the seal may cost anywhere between $1,500 to $2,000. 

Depending on the faulty door component, you should budget between $200 to $5,700 if your vehicle is out of warranty. 

4. Power Steering Issues

There have also been complaints about the Model X power steering system. Owners have reported sudden loss of steering assist while in motion, making it extremely difficult to steer the vehicle. These reports were rampant in pre-2019 models, particularly the 2016 models. 

Some owners have also reported loud grinding noise when turning the steering, and the steering wouldn’t return to the center after making a turn. There were also some complaints that the buttons on the steering wheel, including the horn, stopped working. 

Since the Model X was released, Tesla has issued some recalls for the power steering. A recall was issued for some models built before October 2016 due to a defective bolt that could cause the driver to lose power steering assist.

Recently, some 2017 to 2021 models were recalled following a software update that increased the possibility of the electronic power steering malfunction after hitting a pothole. 


The failure of the intermediate shaft, otherwise known as the U-Joint, is responsible for the stiffness when turning the steering wheel. The U-Joint is susceptible to corrosion when exposed to road salt. With time the U-Joint weakens and breaks, causing difficulty steering the vehicle. 

The front upper control arm is also known to fail, causing grinding or unusual noise when steering the vehicle. Fixing these issues under warranty is almost free, but you should be ready for a 4-figure repair bill whenever you have to pay out of pocket. 

5. Poor Paint Quality

There were also reports of poor paint quality, especially black paint. And the reports weren’t limited to only the Model X but cut across other models in Tesla’s lineup. Tesla vehicles are made with VOC-compliant paint systems, making the end product thinner and more fragile. 

While the final finish looks similar to traditional high-solvent automotive paint, they are susceptible to chips and scratches. There were also complaints of rust spots, blisters, and flaking on the paint.


Tesla offers a free All-Weather Protection Kit in certain regions to help protect the paint finish from stone chips and scratches. 

But you want to try as much as possible to avoid units with possible low-quality paint. Carefully inspect the vehicle before taking delivery to check for any defect in the finish. 

You can always contact Tesla whenever you notice any paint defects, and they’ll have it sorted, provided your vehicle is under warranty.

We’ll also advise you to invest in paint protection immediately after taking delivery. This shields your paint from scratches and accelerated degradation. Ceramic coating or paint protection film (PPF) would work. 

And depending on the package and type of protection, you should expect to pay between $1,200 (partial package) to $8,000 (full body package). Still, the cost is very minute when compared to the price of repairing a damaged paint finish. 

Why did I Receive a Recall Notice? 

Millions of vehicles get recalled every year, and manufacturers are mandated by the law to notify the registered owners of the recall. The notification is usually by mail and within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of the recall decision. 

The notice also will contain a description of the defect, associated risks or hazards, and the manufacturer’s plans to resolve the defect. 

Recent Tesla Model X Recalls

One thing Tesla does well is fixing problems as they arise. There have been quite a few recalls for the Model X this year. 

The most recent recall was this month for certain 2017 to 2021 model years due to a software update that could cause the power steering system to malfunction after hitting a pothole. 

There was another recall in September for some 2021 and 2022 models due to a defective window automatic reversal system. The system may not react correctly after detecting an obstruction, increasing the risk of injury. 

Tesla has also recalled overheating infotainment central processing unit (CPU), causing the center screen to go blank. Some defective front-row side curtain airbags were also recalled this year because they failed to deploy during a crash. 

There was also a recall to disable the “rolling stop” feature in models equipped with full self-driving software. And another one for the Boombox feature that interrupted pedestrian warning sounds. 

While most of these recalls were over-the-air software updates that corrected the defects, there were some instances the driver would have to stop by the dealership for the repair. 

How to Check If Your Model X has an Open Recall

While your manufacturer must notify you of the recall decision, the process is long and slow. But you can stay proactive by checking every month or two to inquire if there is any recall for your vehicle. 

The easiest way to check if your vehicle has an open recall is on the NHTSA website

  • Log on to their website and input your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in their search box. 
  • The website will pull up all the recalls on your vehicle in the past 15 years, including the most recent ones.

Model X and Other Electric SUVs

While the Tesla Model X was one of the best SUVs to dominate the EV market, there are some other worthy challengers in the industry. Below is a comparison between the 2022 Model X and other worthy competitors: 

Tesla Model X v. BMW IX

The 2022 BMW iX is one of the few cars that can trump the Model X. With sophisticated engineering, a luxury driving experience, larger battery modules, and its cheaper price tag; it is not hard to see why this car might be a better option than the 2022 Tesla Model X. 

But the Model X has an edge with 340-mile of range while the BMW IX has 315 miles. 

Tesla Model X v. Rivian R1s

The Rivian R1s offers off-road capabilities with a huge 835 horsepower compared to the Model X’s 670 horsepower. However, the Rivian R1s came second to the Model X at 316 miles of range. 

Admittedly, all cars compared above have similar features, but the Model X stands out in design, quality, and software updates. The Model X is also more expensive compared to these counterparts.

Model X Plaid1020 HP2.5 Seconds340 miles$120,440
BMW iX516 HP4.4 Seconds315 miles$83,200
Rivian R1s835 HP3.1 Seconds316 miles$90,000

Comparison between 2022 Tesla Model X Plaid and other electric SUVs

Model X Life Expectancy and Mileage? 

Concerning life expectancy, there are some factors in play here since Tesla is an electric vehicle. Firstly, the batteries – So far, there hasn’t been any need to replace Tesla batteries.

According to Elon Musk, Tesla batteries are designed to last 300,000 to 500,000 miles. For context, this is about 1,500 battery cycles or around  22 to 37 years for the average car driver who covers 13,500 miles per year. 

Then there is the electric motor that can last for about 30 years maintenance-free. This means that unless in unusual situations where the motor or battery gets overheated, flooded, or contaminated, they would most likely outlast the vehicle itself. 

Is a Used Model X a Worthy Buy?

To a large extent, buying a used Model X is worth it. Firstly, it is cheaper. You get to save some bucks. Avoid units with defective half shafts that haven’t been replaced, as fixing this out of pocket is very expensive. 

While at it, look for one with a clean title and accident-free. The only downside to buying a used Model X is, of course, depreciation. The battery capacity might have depreciated depending on how the previous user used it. Regardless, getting a used Tesla Model X would save you a lot of money. 

What is Good and Bad about the car? 

Tesla has done great work with the Model X and its lineup in general. That is why the company has sold the most Electric vehicles in the world. However, no car is perfect. While some people love the car, some don’t. Some of the pros and cons of buying a 2022 Tesla Model X is listed below:

The good

  • Save money on gas
  • Performance
  • Design and ease of use
  • Low maintenance cost

The bad

  • Initial Cost
  • Expensive to repair
  • Battery Degradation
  • Zero access to spare parts

What do Owners say About the Car? 

Despite the Model X’s design flaws and reliability issues, most owners agree it is a great car. Here is what one owner had to say about the 2022 Model X:

“Tesla X 2022 is impressive. Interior is very impressive. Ride is smooth. The steering is very good and decent. Inside finishing is excellent. I had 2018 tesla and I replace it with new one. Compare to 2018, ride is smooth and interior is superior. Driving is excellent. Display screen is easy and you can move in three directions.”

But some felt otherwise. One owner opined that Tesla could do better than releasing unfinished products to customers and trying to fix the problems as they arise. 

Final Thoughts

Considering that the Model X is quite expensive, even by luxury SUV standards, one would expect it to be faultless. However, it has been riddled with design defects and reliability issues. 

Amidst all these, Tesla has strived to improve the Model X quality and repeatedly solved issues as they emerged, earning the company stellar owner satisfaction ratings.