Tesla recalls more than 578,000 vehicles over pedestrian warning sounds

The Boombox feature risked overpowering vital safety alerts.

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YANTAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 17, 2021 - A Tesla Model 3 is displayed at the Tesla Experience store in Joy City, Yantai, East China's Shandong Province, Oct 17, 2021. In September 2021, Tesla China set a new record of 56,006 vehicles. (Photo credit should read Tang Ke / Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Tang Ke/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Tesla is once again recalling hundreds of thousands of cars over a technical issue. According to Reuters, the EV producer has recalled 578,607 Model 3, S, X and Y vehicles over concerns the Boombox feature can overpower Pedestrian Warning System sounds. The ability to play external audio while the car is in motion violates a federal safety rule requiring a clearly audible sound when EVs and hybrids are moving at speeds below 18.6MPH.

As with some of its recalls, the company will address the issue with a free over-the-air update. The patch will disable Boombox while cars aren't parked, Tesla said. The company didn't provide a timeframe for the update, but noted it would affect 2017 and newer Model 3 sedans as well as 2020 and newer Model S, X and Y vehicles.

Tesla wasn't available for comment. The company disbanded its communications team years ago.

This latest notice represents Tesla's fourth announced recall in two weeks. On top of a seat belt chime fault, the brand recently issued recalls over Full Self Driving flaws and slow heating systems. Tesla is fixing all of these problems through software, but they come after recalls in the past year for physical defects like fragile rearview camera systems and loose trim. There have been 15 recalls since the start of 2021. The issues have typically been minor, but they've still fuelled broader quality concerns.

This latest recall also reflects more aggressive scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency began investigating Autopilot functions after a string of collisions with emergency vehicles, and Tesla responded to an investigation of its Passenger Play feature by disabling video games while in motion. The NHTSA is clearly determined to keep Tesla in check, particularly for software-driven features that relatively new in the automotive world.

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