The latest turn in Tesla’s very bad week: A recall of 123,000 Model S cars

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Image: EPA / John G. Mabanglo
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Tesla is having a rough week. The company announced on Mar. 29 that it will voluntarily recall 123,000 Model S  sedans to fix a bolt designed to assist with power steering. The electric car maker is recalling the cars after Tesla said it had observed “excessive corrosion” in power steering bolts in very cold climates in areas using calcium or magnesium road salts. (The problem was first noted at a Montreal service center.) Failure of the part would make it harder to steer the car, although the company says “it does not materially affect control at high speed.”

The recall only affects Model S vehicles made before April 2016, and affects less than 0.02% of the model, Tesla told The Wall Street Journal.

The recall shouldn’t affect Tesla’s bottom line, since a supplier is covering the cost. But it dings the perception of the struggling carmaker just as it attempts to shake Wall Street’s persistent doubts.

Because of ongoing manufacturing problems, Tesla remains well behind its original target of producing 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of 2017. That milestone is now set for June, while the company attempts to achieve a production run of 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of March. Federal investigators also announced this week that they are looking into a lethal Model X crash in California, and a credit downgrade by Moody’s pushed Tesla bonds deeper into junk status.

The stock is down about 14% since Monday, although it has recovered slightly from its low Thursday.