Yes, it’s another Tesla recall, by our count, the sixth since November 2021. But this one is a bit more interesting than others. Also kinda funny. And a bit sad.
Tesla is recalling 578,607 vehicles due to a feature called Boombox, which allows sounds to be played through an external speaker. The feature is fine while the car is standing still, but Boombox also worked while the car was in motion, which didn’t sit well with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In a notice dated Feb. 4, the NHTSA said that using the Boombox while driving might obscure Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) sounds, which would mean that the car wouldn’t comply to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 141 titled “Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.”
Yes, the NHTSA is basically saying that the car’s warning for pedestrians might not be loud enough because a louder sound might obscure it.
There’s some irony in this recall. The external speakers were added to Teslas in 2019 in order to comply with the standards for a pedestrian warning system. Then, Tesla turned it into a fun feature which was mostly used for pranks, and now, the company has to disable the “fun” part of it. We get the NHTSA position, though — a fart or a goat bleat sound is probably not a good replacement for a standardized pedestrian warning sound.
As a result of the recall, Tesla will disable Boombox when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral and Reverse modes via an over-the-air, free software update.
The vehicles affected are Tesla Model 3 (model year 2017-2022), Tesla Model S (2020-2022), Tesla Model X (2020-2022), and Tesla Model Y (2020-2022).