Tesla has been forced to recall close to 580,000 vehicles due to a controversial ‘Boombox’ function that can play sounds over an external speaker.
The recall, which applies to vehicles in the US, has been announced following an investigation by American watchdog, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The group found that the Boombox was dangerous as it could obscure audible warnings for pedestrians.
It is the fourth recall to be made public in just two weeks, following increased scrutiny from the NHTSA.
In two of the recalls, Tesla made decisions that broke safety laws, while the others were down to software errors.
The NHTSA says on its website that the cars that have the Boombox feature breach federal safety standards that require pedestrian warning noises for electric cars, which make little noise when moving.
The agency says the problem will be repaired with an over-the-air software update that will disable the function.
The recall covers certain 2020 to 2022 Tesla Model X, S, and Y vehicles, as well as 2017 to 2022 Model 3s.
Last week, Tesla had to recall nearly 54,000 vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving software that allowed the vehicles to run through stop signs at low speeds without coming to a complete halt.
Selected Tesla owners are ‘beta testing’ the software on public roads but the cars can’t drive themselves despite the name.
The company also had to recall more than 800,000 vehicles because seat belt reminder chimes may not have sounded when the vehicles were started and the driver was not fastened in.
And this week, nearly 27,000 vehicles were recalled because the cabin heating systems may not have defrosted the windscreen quickly enough. All were to be fixed with online software updates.
Agency ‘pushing back’ over Tesla
Safety advocates in the US say Tesla has been ‘pushing the boundaries of safety to see what it can get away with’.
The NHTSA is now pushing back with several inquiries into the Elon Musk-backed firm.
After a NHTSA inquiry in December, Tesla disabled a function that let drivers play video games on centre touch screens while the vehicles were moving.
In November, the agency also said it was looking into a complaint from a California Tesla driver that the Full Self-Driving software caused a crash.
The driver complained that a Model Y went into the wrong lane and was hit by another vehicle.
The SUV gave the driver an alert halfway through the turn and the driver tried to turn the wheel to avoid other traffic, according to the complaint.
NHTSA is also investigating why Teslas using the company’s less-sophisticated ‘Autopilot’ partially automated driver-assist system have repeatedly crashed into emergency service vehicles parked on roads.
The agency opened the investigation in August, citing 12 crashes in which Teslas on Autopilot hit parked police and fire vehicles.
In the crashes under investigation, at least 17 people were hurt and one was killed.
This week’s recall is the 15th done by Tesla since January 2021, according to NHTSA records.