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Tesla Recalls Nearly 600,000 EVs Over Boombox Feature, Again

This is the second large recall for the controversial novelty feature. Don't worry, Tesla owners, an OTA patch should solve it.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read
Tesla Model S in red
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Tesla Model S in red

Tesla's popular Model S EV is part of the automaker's latest recall, including recently refreshed models.


Back in February, Tesla voluntarily recalled 578,607 EVs over its contentious Boombox function. The safety campaign, which covered all four of the automaker's current vehicle lines, was because the feature could obscure federally mandated Pedestrian Warning System sounds. At the time, an over-the-air firmware update disabled the feature in drive, neutral or reverse, but apparently that didn't completely fix the issue, because a new, slightly larger recall of 594,717 vehicles was issued Thursday.

According to the new announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and related documents, the recall, which covers 2020-2022 Model S, Model X and Model Y vehicles and select 2017-2022 Model 3 EVs, involves these vehicles' Summon or Smart Summon features

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The novelty feature, which allows the vehicles' occupants to use an external speaker to make announcements or play sounds directed at passersby and other motorists, can drown out the EVs' sound signature designed to warn pedestrians of the vehicle's location. This function apparently was somehow still possible even when the vehicle was in remote-operation Summon mode, violating federal regulations. Affected vehicles will receive -- or likely already have received -- another free OTA software update to remedy the problem.

Tesla is unaware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities stemming from this function. Concerned owners can call Tesla customer service at 877-798-3752 for more information.

The rise of OTA update fixes to such problems suggests that new, clarifying terminology from the federal government for these types of virtual, software-based "recalls" may be in order -- at least in cases where there is no need to service a vehicle in person and no actual mechanical fixes are required. 

Tesla did not immediately respond to Roadshow's request for comment on this issue. The automaker no longer operates a public relations department that would typically field such requests.

Watch this: A reality check on Tesla Full Self-Driving: What it is and how to get it