The NHTSA has posted yet another large recall covering almost 579,000 Tesla vehicles. This time, the reason is a potential issue with the Boombox feature that could interfere with the mandatory pedestrian alert sounds for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The recall affects certain model year 2020-2022 Model S, 2020-2022 Model X, 2017-2022 Model 3, and 2020-2022 Model Y electric vehicles—a total of 578,607 units.

These vehicles are equipped with external speakers that enable them to play various alert sounds when in motion. The Boombox feature uses the same speakers to blast music or other preset or custom sounds. 

According to NHTSA, the problem is the Boombox sounds may obscure the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) sounds, which are mandatory for electric vehicles traveling just under 19 mph (30 km/h). As a result, pedestrians may be unaware of an approaching vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

“The Boombox function allows sounds to be played through an external speaker while the vehicle is in motion, which may obscure the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) sounds. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 141, 'Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.'"

Tesla notification to NHTSA

2021 Tesla Model S interior

FMVSS 141 establishes performance requirements for pedestrian alert sounds for electric and hybrid vehicles. It also prohibits manufacturers from altering or modifying the sound emitting capability of the pedestrian warning system (PWS), through which the pedestrian alert sounds emit. 

To solve this problem, Tesla will disable Boombox functionality in Drive, Neutral, and Reverse as part of a voluntary recall on 578,607 vehicles issued on January 29, 2022.

As with another recent recall that covered some 817,000 Teslas with a seat belt chime malfunction, this one is effectively an over-the-air software update, which means owners of affected vehicles don’t have to take their cars to a dealer.

Here’s the full description of the fix as per the safety recall report.

"Tesla will deploy an OTA firmware release to affected vehicles that will disable the Boombox functionality when the vehicle is in Drive, Neutral and Reverse modes. Firmware release 2021.43.101.2, which includes this remedy, was introduced in production on February 3, 2022. Firmware release 2022.8, which also includes this remedy, will deploy OTA to delivered vehicles in February 2022. No further action is necessary from owners whose vehicles are equipped with firmware release 2021.43.101.2 or 2022.8 or a later release. Undelivered vehicles will not be delivered to customers without 2021.43.101.2 or 2022.8 or a later release installed."

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