Tesla Steering Yokes Are Disintegrating Before 30,000 Miles

Some Model S owners are seeing the coating on the yoke flake away in surprisingly short order.

byLewin Day| UPDATED Aug 25, 2022 8:59 PM
Tesla Steering Yokes Are Disintegrating Before 30,000 Miles
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The controversial steering yoke used in the Telsa Model S may be facing a new issue—material quality. Several owners have posted photos on Twitter showing the coating on the yoke disintegrating, leaving unsightly bald patches on the surface.

While steering wheel coatings do degrade over time, the key problem is the short timeline over which the Tesla yokes are falling apart. Twitter user The Kilowatts had a Model S Long Range fitted with the yoke which had three sizeable chunks missing after just 24,000 miles. Popular TikTok creator jf.okay posted photos of a rapidly degrading yoke on a Model S Plaid with only 12,000 miles on the clock. Twitter personality Meet Kevin also shared his experience, claiming he'd seen similar problems on his own Tesla after just 4,000 miles of driving.

A variety of theories have been put forth by the Twitter community to explain the issue. Many posters quickly turned on the owners, accusing them of causing the problems through their personal vices.

@MeetKevin was facetiously accused of spilling beer in the interior, with a Twitter user hunting down a mugshot from an apparent DUI arrest. Posters scrutinized images and criticized @jf.okay in particular for excessive fingernail pressure on the yoke. Others spuriously asserted that excessive alcohol consumption could cause the problem via ethanol leaching out of the skin. Less cutting theories put the blame on hand sanitizers or lotions degrading the coating on the yoke.

Some of these theories are more ridiculous than others, but overall, many of the posts on Twitter seem designed to unfairly shift blame away from Tesla itself. Regardless, it seems unfair to expect drivers to treat their steering wheels—or yokes—with kid gloves.

Normally, The Drive would reach out to the automaker for comment on the issue. However, Tesla's famous lack of a PR department makes it impossible. If there's some kind of official comment on the matter online, this article will be updated accordingly.

The fundamental truth is that most automakers have found ways to create steering wheel finishes that last for 100,000 miles or more without excessive degradation. In the real world, people are going to use hand sanitizer and lotion. Some people even sweat excessively through their hands, and even drink alcohol! Most people expect to be able to live their lives normally without their cars suffering excessive wear from such basic activity. But as always, Tesla's quality issues are not exactly new.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com