What Noise Do Teslas Make? 6 Sounds (Explained)

No one likes a noisy car, but an overly quiet vehicle could become a safety problem for pedestrians and other road users.

The idea is for automakers to find the right balance between noise and warnings.

We’ve reviewed the important noises a Tesla might make ranging from warning sounds to confirmation sounds and so on.

Here’s the short answer to what noise Teslas make:

Teslas make different noises depending on what action you perform. You may hear a beeping or whirring sound when you turn the car on. They even have additional engine noises to help alert people outside. These noises are required as indicators of performance or problems.

What Are the Options for Unlocking Your Tesla?

The best option is usually up for debate. However, the most convenient option remains the Passive Entry option.

You may already be familiar with it in other cars as keyless entry systems.

This option unlocks your Tesla automatically as you approach it.

The Passive Entry feature only works with the key fob on your person in the Model X and S. On other models like the Model Y and 3, you can perform a similar passive entry function with your phone.

In newer models, the door might even open up automatically without you needing to yank on the handle.

It’s noteworthy, however, that this method of unlocking your Tesla rarely makes a sound. However, if you’d prefer a confirmation beep, you can easily enable this feature under the vehicle’s settings.

The next convenient method of unlocking your vehicle is by pressing the traditional unlock button on your key fob. No tricks there, we’re afraid. Just the regular lock and unlock with confirmation beeps.

These beeps are perhaps the most basic noises a Tesla makes.

Does Tesla Add Fake Noise Outside the Car?

Teslas, like many electric cars, have silent motors. This has prompted them to add “fake engine noises” to their cars to make them more audible on roads.

The sounds are audible outside via an external speaker, which is usually hidden somewhere in the front bumper assembly.

Amazingly, this is not peculiar to Tesla alone because all EV manufacturers are required to make their cars audible. While it doesn’t have to be too loud (like gas-powered cars), it needs to be loud enough to alert other road users.

There are many advantages to this requirement. Primarily, the number of car accidents goes down because pedestrians become more conscious of the otherwise silent EVs.

A second advantage is that it helps to block out wind and road noise. Early EVs were too quiet, so road noise became amplified and distracting.

With fake engine noise, road noise gets overshadowed, allowing drivers to enjoy the regular engine sounds they are used to.

When you think about it, adding fake noises is the most practical way to make cars noticeable on roads. The great news is that it’ll get a lot more interesting in the years to come.

What Sounds Can a Tesla Horn Make?

The possibilities are endless, with a Tesla’s horn sound. As with most things Tesla does, their car horn sounds are strange.

Like with fake engine noise, car owners can now choose between several horn tracks. These tracks include goat bleating, cow mooing, and fart sounds. Some other options to choose from are ringtone-like sounds that seem to have escaped from a 1999 Nokia 8210.

Don’t panic if you hear a Tesla sound like an ice cream truck or a sitcom commercial in your neighborhood.

Apparently, Tesla is setting the standards for the new normal. However, the fun has been cut short (sort of) as this feature may violate federal safety standards.

Sit tight because we’ll dive deeper into it later on.

Do Teslas Make Noise When in Reverse?

Teslas make noise during reverse to alert people nearby. As you may have guessed, they’re also silent when reversing, and therefore, backup noise is required.

However, Tesla’s reverse sounds are not as calm and soothing as the forward driving noise. Instead, they’re quite alarming to pedestrians and other drivers as well.

Distinct sounds for reverse and forward movement have their advantages.

It’s particularly important because it gives the surrounding pedestrians an idea of your direction. So while forward driving can imitate a Maserati, your reverse sound can mimic a spaceship. We’ll talk about that in a second.

For now, remember that unusual noises could signify that there’s a problem somewhere. For example, an unnerving rattling sound could mean there’s a loose connection somewhere in your car.

Why Do Teslas Sound Like UFO Spaceships Sometimes?

The default reverse sound in Teslas is a humming sound that most people have likened to a spaceship. This UFO-like sound has received a lot of mixed feelings from Tesla owners.

Some have described it as scary and strange, while others simply don’t like it. There are some people, however, that love the reverse sound in their Teslas.

Also, there are a few reasons Tesla may have opted for the spaceship sound in their cars.

A popular opinion is that SpaceX inspired it (with all the rocket science activities going on there). It’s also possible they just wanted their cars to sound different from other brands.

Our opinion, however, is that they use it because strange sounds get people on their toes. After all, what better way is there to ensure pedestrian safety than to make them super cautious?

While there may be quick hacks to disable the reverse sound, we advise you to leave it on. It may be the reason you don’t run someone over. Besides, we wouldn’t want you to violate federal safety standards because you dislike the spaceship sound.

That’s not all. If you manually disable your external speakers, you cannot use other features as well. This may include the car horn, and you don’t want that to happen.

Whether you think of the reverse sound as a safety precaution or necessary evil, it should remain on.

Can You Control What Noise a Tesla Makes?

Of course, you can select the type of sound you’d like your Tesla to make. There are several files to choose from, so it’s like choosing to play mp3 files on your phone. You can also take the volume higher to your satisfaction.

This creates endless possibilities for the car owner. You can even choose to drive with a Maserati sound on Monday and a Mustang sound on Tuesday.

Also, the particular noise you hear isn’t the only thing you can control.

Pretty soon, drivers may be able to gauge vehicular performance from the sound.

We expect soundtracks in the future to emit sounds based on car motor performance and health. This means if the system senses an issue with the electric motor, it gives feedback by tuning down the soundtrack.

Brands like Hyundai and Kia are already working on a similar technology to produce actual vibrations.

Why Do Teslas Make Noise When Parked?

Imagine owning a car that could scream out to you if someone was about to steal it. This is similar to the way dogs are weary of other people and how they bark when they get suspicious.

Of course, no car would bark to call your attention. However, Tesla has a close second for that feature.

The Sentry Mode on your Tesla monitors and records suspicious activity around the car.

Also, Sentry Mode sounds an alarm based on the recognized threat level. This means they emit different noises depending on the type of suspicious activity they detect.

So, the different alarm levels help you understand the nature of the threat before you even get to your car.

It’s confusing to hear the same warning noise for attempted burglary as well as when kids lean on your car. Another advantage of Sentry Mode is that it also alerts you on your cell phone via the Tesla app.

This means distance is not necessarily a barrier. So even though you don’t hear the sound from your car, you’ll still get informed. Sentry Mode in Teslas is a good example of how they make noises even when they’re parked.

Other good examples include being able to honk your car remotely and talk through your speakers. Sure, these features are quite futuristic, but Tesla has never been a brand to shy away from innovation.

Read more: Tesla Makes “Humming Sounds” While Parked? (Here’s Why)

What Other Noise Can a Tesla Make?

The “annoying” but necessary beeping sounds mostly occur when there’s an error somewhere. When this happens, they may continue beeping endlessly till you adjust whatever caused the problem.

While there are many reasons for this, here are a few you can look out for:

  • The parking brake is still engaged
  • Low tire pressure
  • Dirt or debris obstructing sensors
  • The door isn’t properly closed
  • Seatbelts aren’t engaged

A rare but possible noise you can also hear is a high-pitch sound that originates from the ‘usually silent’ motor.

Related: How Does Tesla’s “Cold Weather” Feature Work? (Explained)

Did Tesla Really Recall Over 500,000 Cars Due to Noise Issues?

Tesla’s “Boombox feature” was the reason for the recall of about 578,000 vehicles.

Recall that several sounds can be played through the external speakers of a Tesla. They include weird horn noises and even music. Drivers can also record their voices or just speak through their speakers.

However, the problem is these “cool” sounds could interfere with the regular mandatory sounds EVs should make.

That’s why Tesla had to recall hundreds of thousands of cars to adjust the software configurations. After all, nothing must stand in the way of our beloved “fake engine noise”.

Now, most of these sounds are only usable when the cars are not moving.

Related: Are Teslas As Comfortable As Similar Cars? (Checked)

Final Thoughts

Teslas and other electric cars are frequently applauded for their silent motors and overall operations. However, their systems take away one of the most basic forms of diagnosis; sound.

For over a century, drivers have gotten used to the regular sounds that their cars make. This helps them to detect anomalies easily and, hence, discover problems.

It’s a lot more difficult to do this with EVs for two reasons. First, their motors are too silent, and second, they now have “fake sounds” that may overshadow any symptoms. Therefore, it’s so important for EV manufacturers to make “fake sounds” that can mimic actual motor performance.

For now, it’s important that you study the slightest noises your car might make and try to understand them.

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