Home » Tesla Rear Side Marker Lights Are Having Problems In China And That’s A Big Deal Because We Love Side Marker Lights

Tesla Rear Side Marker Lights Are Having Problems In China And That’s A Big Deal Because We Love Side Marker Lights

Tesla China

It’s obvious day at The Morning Dump and we’ve got a Tesla recall in China, fiery Secret Service trucks in Nantucket, explosive Hyundai-Kia sales in the US, and a BMW battery that might be a whole lot better.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Lights Are Important


I don’t know if you know this, but not having lights on your car would be a bad thing. People might crash into you if they don’t see you. Lights are important.

Unfortunately, about 435,000 Tesla Model 3 and Y owners in China are at risk of not having their rear side marker lights illuminate due to a software malfunction according to Reuters, who says the issue counts as a recall. From the news site:

Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) will issue software updates for more than 435,000 vehicles in China to fix an issue with side marker lights that could in extreme circumstances lead to a collision, a regulatory body said.

The fix, which counts as a recall, will be issued by an over-the-air update.

It covers 142,277 Model 3 cars and 292,855 Model Ys, according to a statement by the State Administration for Market Regulation.

This isn’t first time Tesla has had a similar issue. Reuters wrote about a Tesla taillight recall in the U.S. back on November 19. The good news is that it’s software, so Tesla can just do an over-the-air update. Here are some details from that recall:

The company said the recall followed customer complaints it became aware of in late October, largely from foreign markets, claiming vehicle tail lights were not illuminating.

The investigation found in rare cases the lights may intermittently not work due to an anomaly that may cause false fault detections during the vehicle wake-up process. Tesla said it had received three warranty reports over the issue.

This is bad news for Tesla, though, which already had to lower prices/up incentives in China and had another recall last week for a safety belt issue.

[Editor’s Note: Let me make something clear: we’re not reporting something as simple as a side marker light recall because it’s Tesla, but because it’s about marker lights. Wake up, people! Marker lamps are effectively the amber and red beacons that keep human civilization on course. And this issue is the first time marker lights have been threatened due to software reasons, and can be affected remotely. If we don’t keep a close eye on this we could one day see terrorists using cyberwarfare able to disable a whole nation’s maker lamps with a few clicks of a mouse, and that would spell the end of everything.

We must stay vigilant to any and every threat against marker lamps, the literal lights of the human experience, marking the sides and direction of our cars, as well as the sides and direction of our very souls. God help us all. – JT]

[Second Editor’s Note: You didn’t think we’d write a story about marker lights with Jason’s input, did you? -DT]

Fires Are Bad

As usual, we go to island newspaper The Nantucket Current for the big news of the week. It turns out President Joe Biden was in Nantucket for a little break and, according to the newspaper, a bunch of his Secret Service vehicles burned to the ground. The vehicles were reportedly rented from Hertz to Biden’s details.

The Secret Service did not immediately return a message from the Current seeking comment, however, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News that Hertz is investigating the fire, and that the Secret Service is not involved. Guglielmi said he doesn’t have any information on what might have started the fire.

Biden was already gone by the time the fire happened.

I’m not a forensics investigator but… it kinda looks like the Expedition caught on fire first. There’s also a recent recall due to the risk of fires in newer Expeditions that start under the hood “with 18 incidents impacting vehicles owned by rental companies” according to Ford.


Having Cars Is Good If You Want To Sell Them

Kia Tmd

Today is obvious day and we’ll continue this streak with a report that Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai + Kia + DeSoto + Genesis) are still killing it in sales. From the CNBC sales report:

The company’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands are expected to capture nearly 11% of the U.S. new vehicle market this year — marking its highest level since the automaker entered the country in 1986. It’s also set to be among the top sellers of electric vehicles this year, trailing only Tesla through the third quarter.

The risk for Hyundai, of course, is that the company is not really set up to get EV incentives for its current electric cars due to the Inflation Reduction Act’s requirements for North American production, an issue the company is quickly trying to remedy.

Sales can always be attributed to making cars that are good and look good (which fits the company), but Hyundai/Kia have also been able to squeeze out more cars, which is helping give the company a boost. You have to have cars to sell in order to sell them.

Expect to see Hyundai/Kia continue to offer incentives to try and grab as much market share as they can while their competitors struggle to keep up.

Companies Should Make Cars With Better Batteries


BMW doesn’t have the best or the worst batteries on the market in terms of helping their cars achieve long driving ranges. This C/D article breaks down EVs by range and BMW is solidly in the middle.

According to Automotive News, BMW is developing a 6th generation battery that offers a 30% increase in performance over the current generation:

A key to the performance is the battery cell’s cylindrical shape, said Simon Erhard, who helps lead Gen 6 development at BMW Group.

While current BMW batteries feature prismatic cells configured in modules bolted together to form a pack, the next-gen design ditches the modules. Its new cell-to-pack design allows more power-packing cells to be squeezed into the same battery footprint. The Gen 6 battery has a diameter of 46 millimeters.

“Energy density is much higher than before,” Erhard told a group of journalists at a media briefing this week. “You can put more cells into the battery pack

In theory, that could mean a BMW iX could travel 420 miles on a charge (per EPA). It’s not that simple, of course, but increasing the density of your battery packs means you can lower weight, which also increases range.

The Flush

The Secret Service didn’t have any luck with their rental cars. Tell us your worst rental car horror story.


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38 Responses

  1. Had “an incident” in ’96 with my Celica. Ended up with a Ford Perspire, er Aspire. The car ran fine, just no guts! Spent any interstate miles mashing the gas pedal to the stops just to keep from decorating a Semi’s grill.

  2. Worst rental car story? Would it be the VW Gol with a 1.0L engine and a non-functional passenger door I rented from a sketchy outfit in Rio de Janeiro back in 2004 that would die randomly? Nope, that was dirt cheap and wasn’t anything more than what was expected at the time.

    The worst was the “new” Dodge Journey with 25,000km I rented in León, Mexico for a drive to Celaya. With 3 people and luggage, that thing would absolutely not get out of it’s own way. When floored, the RPMs went up and the speed went down. It had rattles, vibrations, and a wicked pull to the driver’s side. Upon arrival at the motel, I thought a weird smell was coming from the engine compartment like maybe it was running hot or something. Checked the fluids, and the oil was 3 quarts low! What a POS.

  3. For a minute, I wondered if maybe Hyundia/Kia had bought the old De Soto brand. I checked wikipedia and apparently it is owned by Askam trucks of Turkey. They partnered with Chrysler to make badge engineered trucks and then Askam bought out the joint venture.

    1. Yeah, Fargo and DeSoto both wound up bundled in as part of the sale of Chrysler Sanayi in 1979, when they were required to divest both their foreign assets and aerospace/defense businesses as part of receiving the government guaranteed loan package

  4. In other news, Hertz reported several of their cars as stolen from their Nantucket airport location. Arrest warrants have been issued for a number of Secret Service agents suspected of the thefts.

  5. Buy the damage waiver if an insurance company is renting for you! If some scumbag criminal causes damage trying to break in you will be on the hook, even if you paid the deposit with a credit card with damage waiver…

    Also, the corolla’s traction control doesn’t seem to turn off. I think it still throttles rpm by shoving the cvt in a higher “gear.” At least it wasn’t the altima which despite being way better optioned (and admittedly way better on the highway) was the numbest, most boring thing I’ve ever driven. I understand why sedans are on their way out if companies are making them handle like CUVs.

    The software glitches are really scary imo. It’s good that this sorta stuff can be fixed OTA but in the age of brake and steer by wire I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that something a basic as lighting can be changed with an OTA update. Imo things like lighting and major control systems should (if going drive-by-wire) be a nonreprogrammable module that cannot be changed via internet. It is much too easy to create a software glitch with an update (see Windows and all the updates that got rolled back a year or 2 ago) and I guarantee these companies are not doing as much bug testing for updates as they do for the initial release.

    I saw something I presume was an iX or XM yesterday and in person it was quite possibly the ugliest vehicle I’ve ever seen. It looked like a malformed plastic toy and the wheel location looked off. Like someone took a body and put it on a chassis that was the wrong track width or something.

    1. I feel that things like lights should be a simple circuit with a switch and a fuse. No software needs to be involved. Hell, my Kaiser era Jeep doesn’t even use fuses. Just thick gauge wire.

      1. When I got my ’70 Jeepster, the only functional thing in it was the left front marker light. It had 3 different sets of wiring added over the years, everything non-functional had been abandoned in place. I finally gutted the wiring (filling a 5 gallon bucket) and started over. Simple switches and fuses and everything works now.

        1. I had a CJ5 with a Chevy small block and the wiring was an absolute mess. There were sections of 21 gauge wire spliced into lengths of 18 gauge with butt connectors. Lots of live wires to nowhere. I spent about 2 days pulling every unnecessary or sketchy bit out.
          For my second jeep, I just bit the bullet and bought a new harness.

  6. I am definitely not an EV engineer, but I thought that most people had already confirmed and realized that the cylinder cells were the most space efficient and adaptable? I mean we have literally been using that shape for over 20 years. Maybe BMW thought they had a better energy output with the prismatic cells?

    1. Yes and no.

      Prismatic cells are the most space-efficient, which is why your phone and most laptops use them. They don’t leave gaps between cells.

      But prismatic cells are more fragile (a problem in heavy batteries if speed bumps exist), so they often require “sardine can” modules to protect them. Cylindrical cells are physically sturdier and easier to make — which means it’s easier to make them well and with the newest and best chemistry.

      BMW’s benefits come from upgrading the chemistry and ditching the sardine cans.

      1. No to be that guy, but I’m going to be that guy (with apologies).

        “Prismatic cells are the most space-efficient..”

        Pouch cells are more energy dense (space efficient) than prismatic and cylindrical cells. Their use in EVs is somewhat controversial. GM uses pouch cells in Ultium, or said it was going to use pouch cells, likening them to stacking toast and pancakes. (I’m not making that up.)

        Tesla says pouch cells are risky in EV use because it’s more difficult to cool the center of the pancake, and pouch cells are therefore at greater risk to thermal runaway.

        I hasten to state I’m not an engineer or materials scientist. I am a user of batteries based on pouch cells in an application where thermal runaway is unlikely.

        1. You’re absolutely right about pouch cells! I just forgot to add them to the comparison.

          Pouch cells are basically prismatics without the protective shell (though they may be stacked in a similar sardine-can module, as it seems Ultium is doing).

          You’re also right about the controversy. Cell shells act as heat spreaders and also limit puffing. So pouch packs trap heat in their centers more easily, and a single puffy cell can theoretically crush its neighbors.

  7. I was coming back from the Autofuckpartsstore to put a new ignition switch in. (I also pay close attention / am very attentive.) As I installed the switch, I noticed 2 red flatbeds and a 1Ton in the same parking lot — doing some kind of work — I took that as a “SIGN”. You dont see 2 Flatbeds and a 1Ton walking around near an Autofuckpartsstore as ya trying to do something car related.. and not think.. IM GETTING A SIGN / MESSAGE FROM GOD.

    So I left.. and headed home. Then as I moved through an intersection I changed lanes cause took a 20′ drywall pole decided it wanted to leave CAPTIVITY and bury itself the radiator of my Square Blue Honda. (Science being as it is, the airflow goes to my rad. If I had chosen my Wife’s Egg, Id probably caught the {Pole to the face.)

    SO I got her home, got her towed to a decent place, made a police report… called Enterprise. They were 90min late when I had to pick up my boy at X time. Dude.. drives the most clapped out Caravan Ive ever known. Of course Ive got gloves and my VENOM mask on. Im signed up for a Honda HR-V = Squiggly Ball. — Its safe to say… that is a rolling PILE OF BURNING CAT SHIT. (Signals dont work properly, cupholders dont work, TRANSMISSION REFUSES TO MOVE. OOOH but the screen works for your device.) I had to take 10 vicodins and some horse tranqs to calm me down.

    After 2 weeks.. they take some spit and bull semen and glue my SQUARE BLUE HONDA back together. As they do the handoff, I ask if they did a pressure test and check everything. They said SUUURE!!! I decide to get an oil change bout a few days later. — Me being me, I stand outside watching my car in -10deg. (Giving the mechanic dudes space.) I watch her pissing herself. — Nothing drives me more crazy… than watching my car piss herself. — I walk about 600′ away from the location… in the woods and CAREFULLY and CURTLY reconfirm the work that was done, the day it is.. and how I am GRACEFULLY requesting a 2ND ATTEMPT from your professional people… to fix this problem.

    (The last 3 sentences are total and complete 100% L I E S. My blood pressure was going through the roof and you fuckers cant manage to find a god damn radiator.) They pick her up again.. and let her go back to those MONOGOLOIDS. I get picked up the next day by the dude at a different Enterprise… (popping more vicodins and horse tranqs. He chats me up about some bullshit about cheese. When we get there… I make note of what I dont want. I asked for the Silverado… not the Squiggly Ball). I get the Silverado.. with a badly beaten BENT driveshaft. I leave there for a bit, pick up my boy and do a few nice burnouts in it. 3 weeks later, my Square Blue Honda comes back.. I reconfirm that they did what they should have properly…

    I wouldnt use them if i was on fire.

    In other news… Honda HR-V sucks. A piece of shit, through and through.
    Silverado… also sucks.. cause its a big ass honking fucker of empty space, dead dreams, dead hookers and the pull down column shifter, that probably doesnt have the anti-theft device in it that my 30yr old Accord did. BUT, it did have BURNOUT experience.

    Review F+

  8. Worse rentals…

    There was the Corolla I rented during peak COVID times (relevant because of the “enhanced cleaning” Avis was allegedly doing) that was covered in vomit. I immediately got it swapped out for another, only to have them send me a bill for the cleaning charge months later. That was “fun” but not really the car’s fault.

    There was the A3 I rented in December in the PNW with bald summer tires and a pancake in the center console… but that also wasn’t really the car’s fault.

    There was the Impala with a sleepy start-stop that kept accidentally doing neutral drops on itself… that was annoying but easily solved by disabling the feature.

    So I think I’ll go with the Mitsubishi Mirage I rented in Houston because I didn’t know any better. On pulling out of the rental lot and hitting the gas to get into traffic I thought it had died because nothing happened. Turns out that thing couldn’t get out of its own way and you basically had to use the throttle as a switch. Thing was an absolute liability on the road and if I’d known it was both a POS and a deathtrap I would have never taken it.

    Counterpoint: Best rental I had was either the top-of-the-line Cadillac CTS, which was epic just for… Cadillac it was… or the Jeep Cherokee that drove me home 450 miles in an epic ice storm. The Jeep was objectively meh, but it really, really, REALLY endeared itself to me that trip. At one point traffic came to a complete, extended stop due to a crashed semi, I got out of the car and immediately fell on my ass. Turns out I had been driving on sheet ice and had no idea.

  9. Just a few thoughts;
    1. Tesla marker lights recall notice- Are EV tech recall language notices about to replace marketing press releases as answers to questions that make you go ummmmm?
    2. You recent production vehicle catching fire unexplicably? Bad. Your recent production vehicle catching fire that was being used to provide a ride for the President and security staff? Really really bad.
    3. Make batteries better? I love it when people say stupid things. What make batteries better? Why didnt we think of that? What we just completed installing the production line of our batteries but now we need to replace it with a new line making the batteries 2% more efficient? What better batteries? Have we tested them to see if they cause more or less fires than Tesla? What better batteries? We have a design where batteries will last forever, dont need recharged, and never catch on fire? Forget that we need cars people will replace every 12 months. What better batteries? Can we sell the owners on a monthly subscription replacement plan?

  10. Pretty much any Chrysler Corporation car I rented threw codes or alarms for no reason.

    Worst was the brand new Town & Country minivan we rented in NYC to carry all of the critical items not to be carried in a moving van on our way to our new home in FL. It broke down in front of our first night’s hotel, and refused to restart. Several hours of attempts the next morning got it to start, and we nursed it to a nearby Enterprise where we had to dump the contents loose into the back of a Camry that stunk of cigarette smoke.

    The two big containers we bought had to be abandoned at the rental office, so right there we lost an extra $150 (they wouldn’t fit). Somehow we drove from western VA to the GA border of FL in one afternoon.

    This was one of the most traumatic days in my life. I will never, ever buy anything from Stellantis…ever.

    Oddly, the Neons I used to rent were fabulous.

  11. There is a tie my worst rental ranking.

    Mid 00s Cavalier (or Cobalt, they were pretty much the same). It groaned making the the turn out of the rental lot and the oil light came on any time the RPMs were below 3000. The driver’s window was a 1/4″ short of fully closing and rattled glass against metal over every bump. Made the 2 mile loop around the interstate frontage road and returned it. The car only had 13K miles on it and was worse than most cars at 113K. When I told them about the issues, they asked if I wanted to be put in another car or continue driving that crap basket.

    Last gen (hope it is last ever) Dodge Fart, I mean Shart,…..Dart. I swear it had rubber bands in the drivetrain. Not only was it unremarkable in power, but you actually felt bouncing when accelerating or letting off the gas. Like the drive axles were made of rubber. Caused continual head bobbing in stop and go traffic.

    1. The Dodge Barf wasn’t suicide inducing in short durations, but I had it for 2.5 weeks with 40 minute rush hour commutes while my WRX was being repaired due to a distracted driver.

  12. Chevy hhr from a time when my company preferred to pay for rentals over mileage. Got about 2 hours out of town and we stopped at a rest area. Locked it of course while using the facilities. Hadn’t really thought about them just giving me a key and not a remote. Wasn’t all that unusable for base model cars back then. Put the key in the door and nada. No big, I’ll go to the passenger side. No other keyhole on the car. Not passenger door or tailgate. Had to call roadside assistance to get it opened and then take it to another rental office location at our destination. And they made us take it back after they fixed it. Ugh.

  13. I’ve had good luck with rental cars, actually. I mean, I’ve gotten stuck with two Nissan Versas, but they did what I needed them to do, and were cheap.

    There was that Toyota Hilux in Curacao with the alarm that would go off at random times, but that’s it. I took it back to the rental place, they pulled the fuse and told me to make sure I locked it. Island life, mon.

  14. Rental car horror story. Two of us somehow ended up with the same car recovered. Had a 20 minute argument over it.

    “You take the HHR” “No you take it”. Finally we walked up the rental desk and threw the keys down. Both us got what we wanted, no HHR. 🙂

  15. I remember I had to put my old Cadillac back in the transmission shop again, and there was a used car lot in walking distance that rented older cars. I had a lot of business miles to do over the next few days, and figured why not save some money and just run around in a beater for awhile.

    Got a 15 year old Malibu with over 200,000 miles and a collapsed drivers seat with some of the metal frame ripped through the upholstery, the check engine light permanently on, and possibly one broken motor mount. Ultimately, it wasn’t significantly cheaper than renting from a reputable company, either

  16. Hyundai/Kia/Genesis are killing it right now, but it’s also important to note that they’re not out of the reliability woods just yet…and I say this as someone who rushed out to buy an N earlier this year. In a lot of classes their products are slam dunks on paper-they look great, they have tons of features, and if you can find an MSRP only dealership they’re always a good value proposition.

    But they aren’t as reliable as their Japanese competition and their resale value isn’t as strong either. Even with their “special” cars (the Ns, the Genesis lineup, Stingers, etc) the depreciation is significant even in a white hot market. New-ish ones with maybe 5-10,000 miles on them are already selling for 10-15% off what they originally went for. You just aren’t seeing that with Japanese cars right now.

    Basically, I obviously like Hyundai/Kia/Genesis quite a lot. I think their higher end products are amazing for the price, I think the Ns should get more love from enthusiasts than they do, and I think Genesis vehicles are savvy buys if you want a premium offering that’s priced just below the marquee luxury nameplates. But I can also acknowledge that they still have work to do. Their next steps are improving longevity and cleaning up their slimy dealership network. I felt like I needed a shower after every stop on my “find an N at MSRP” journey.

    Also in regards to the N models-I think all of the publications/YouTube channels that are ragging on them for not being as good as the already deified GR Corolla, new CTR, and current Golf R are missing the point. The Ns aren’t trying to compete against them-they’re trying to offer an in-between that gives you a lot of what those offer in a similar price range as a well equipped GLI/GTI, Civic SI, WRX, etc. If you look at them that way they’re amazing and if you get the chance to drive one definitely take it because they really are brilliant for $35,000 cars.

  17. Down in the heal of the boot of Italy, we got some kind of Citroën …maybe a C3 Picasso. Just this goofy looking van that was too big for the tiny city streets. It had this weird giant windshield that offered great views of the sky but horrible visibility in any other direction. I remembering having to back up this narrow ally about a 1/4 mile up hill because we got to a corner that we couldn’t get around. My wife is facing backward in the backseat trying to guide me while I’m smoking the clutch trying to go as slow as possible without stalling. The shifter was my favorite part, it felt completely disconnected from anything. It just flopped around like a wooden spoon in a bowl of noodles. You never had any idea what gear you might end up in. Imagine navigating an underinflated raft that smells of cats with a plastic oar…this statement best describes my Citroën experience.

  18. My worst rental car story is being stuck driving an insurance-provided CVT-equipped Sentra for several weeks while my actual car was being repaired.

    How anyone could drive one of those and decide “Yep, this is the car I want to spend my money on” is beyond me.

    1. Similar, but Kia Rio. It was dangerously slow due to extreme lag from the engine and transmission and no bottom end power and still—somehow—only got 23 mpg. The seat also sucked and it must have passed the bare minimum of crash standards, looking like the only think that would make it better in a crash than something 30 years older was having airbags.

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