Tesla has always been known for having a little extra fun with its cars. Remember when it added a virtual whoopee cushion in 2019? Or when last year CEO Elon Musk announced that the Tesla Model S would get a “nice” price cut to $69,420? But in case those gimmicks weren’t enough, there’s now Boombox mode, which allows you to fully customize your Tesla’s horn to make whatever sound your heart desires.
Thanks to a December firmware update, Boombox mode now essentially enables Tesla owners to make their cars even more entertaining (or irritating). There are already dozens of videos online of people using the feature to change their horns’ sound. Some of the pre-installed sounds are a goat bleating, a round of applause, and—in classic Tesla fashion—a fart. If none of those suit your fancy, there’s a way to add your own custom sounds.
The feature takes advantage of a speaker Tesla must install in the front of its cars. It’s there because the NHTSA demands that normally silent electric vehicles emit some sort of noise while traveling under 19 mph to alert visually impaired or inattentive pedestrians. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are) this speaker was only installed in Teslas that were manufactured after September 1, 2019. That means Tesla owners who bought their car before that date will miss out on the feature, but it should appear on every Model Y since its production run started in early 2020.
We reached out to the NHTSA to see if Boombox mode is strictly legal, but haven’t heard back yet. However, after taking a look at the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Boombox mode appears to be above board. The feature can only be used while the vehicle is parked, so while on the go your Tesla will revert back to its normal horn sound. That makes sense, since if you find yourself in an emergency situation, a bleating goat probably isn’t going to cut it.
There are regulations that say a car horn can be no louder than 110 decibels, so an exceptionally loud sound could get you into some trouble. But all in all, it looks like yet another harmless, albeit kitschy feature from Tesla.
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