Earlier this month, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a recall for Tesla vehicles equipped with the Boombox feature. According to the NHTSA, this feature hinders the vehicle Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) in Tesla vehicles such as horns.
Tesla introduced a space for an external speaker for the first time with the launch of the 2017 Tesla Model 3. Later on, in 2020, Tesla started installing external speakers in Model S and Model X vehicles too. Tesla Model Y had this feature since its production and deliveries began in 2020.
With the introduction of the software update 2020.48.25 and 2020.48.26 back in December 2020, Tesla introduced the ability for the car users to customize the sounds coming out of this external speaker.
Initially, these custom sounds were only used for fun while a Tesla vehicle was in PARK. But later on, Tesla enabled the horn sounds of the car to also be customized. This is where NHTSA thought it was time to remind Tesla that it has become a potential safety issue.
NHTSA has further restricted Tesla to allow custom sounds to be produced via the vehicle’s external speaker or the horn system while the vehicle is in drive, reverse, and neutral.
Tesla vehicles also have to comply with the NHTSA Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141 (FMVSS 141). This rule asks hybrid and electric vehicles to produce a minimum amount of sound to warn the pedestrians.
According to the numbers provided to NHTSA by Tesla, there are about 578,607 vehicles affected by this issue.
Like the recent rolling-stop FSD Beta recall, this Boombox recall is also a software-related matter. It’s not like 578K Tesla cars need to visit the service center to get fixed.
Tesla has informed the NHTSA that this issue will start getting fixed as soon as the automaker starts rolling out the latest software update version 2021.43.101.2 or the near-future update 2022.8 onwards. However, according to the firmware trackers by TeslaScope.com and TeslaFi.com, none of these versions have yet started to roll out to the public as of this writing (16th Feb).
NHTSA Recall No. 22V-063 report details the following remedy of the issue provided by Tesla, Inc (TSLA) to the NHTSA (full PDF below).
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.Source: NHTSA Recall Report No. 22V-063 (PDF).