Tesla to Remove Boombox Feature in Software Update

If you own a Tesla vehicle and like to blast your music because you don’t think owning a Tesla is enough of a head-turning status symbol, you are likely to be disappointed by its latest recall. According to the NHTSA, Tesla issued a recall to remove the Boombox feature in a software update.

Boombox can play music or make sounds outside the Tesla vehicle. It could prevent pedestrians from hearing a required warning sound of an incoming vehicle.

Regulators are not aware of any accidents, injuries, or fatalities related to the Boombox feature. However, it violated safety regulations requiring that vehicles make sound when they move under 18.6 miles per hour. The NHTSA ruled that automakers can customize their vehicles’ sounds in 2019.

Although it was not immediately clear whether Boombox was involved in any citations of local noise ordinance violations, it would be easier to obscure the sound made by a Tesla vehicle. Electric vehicles are typically quieter than gas-powered vehicles.

The recall affects more than 578,000 vehicles. 2020-2022 Model S, X and Y and 2017-22 Model 3 vehicles are included in the recall.

Sound like a lot? Well, Tesla has shattered company delivery records for the last couple of years in a row as it ramps up its production capability. This includes 308,600 vehicles delivered in Q4 2021 alone.

By way of comparison, GM delivered only 27 electric vehicles in all of 2021 – something that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and some of his followers were quick to laugh at.

Tesla may also be learning how to pick its battles when it comes to regulation despite expressing occasional annoyance with regulatory red tape. That red tape includes bureaucratic slowdowns surrounding Gigafactory Berlin, which will improve its ability to make cars for the European market without having to import them from China.

Some Tesla fans did question whether the removal of a feature through an over-the-air software update even justified a recall despite the regulatory concern. Tesla could have simply announced that it was removing the Boombox feature because the NHTSA said so.

Other recent recalls of Tesla vehicles include a recall of 27,000 vehicles to fix a faulty windshield defroster. It also issued recalls to fix camera and front trunk issues. Most recalls to fix manufacturing-related defects can be addressed at a Tesla service center.

Most automakers have a few recalls of various vehicle makes and models every year to repair defects. Information on recalls for vehicles manufactured by any automaker can be found on NHTSA.gov. You can check whether your vehicle might be subject to a recall by entering its 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).