Instead of enjoying the mellifluous tones of Lady Gaga or the bounce music of the Arctic Monkeys, some drivers of newer Ford F-150 pickups are hearing unexplained loud crashing sounds, the noise of shattering glass, or high-pitched static through the cockpit’s speakers.
This phenomenon has prompted more than a hundred complaints to Ford, some by customers who say the noise was so distracting that they either had to pull over and stop driving, or if parked, didn’t feel it was safe to get on the road.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the automaker issued a technical service bulletin recently addressing the noise issue in Expedition SUVs and the F-150 pickups from the 2021-23 model years, and the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric trucks.
Ford says its related to the amplifier in the vehicles’ sound systems, which seems obvious.
Without detailing the actual cause, the company says that it has developed a software fix that customers can get at dealerships or through a downloadable update. The fix supposedly adjusts the amplifier to filter out the speaker noise.
“We are working swiftly to make sure this is resolved for our customers,” a spokesperson said.
The Journal reported that in online forums, F-150 owners have been hearing a “sonic boom” or “ear-piercing static.” Drivers, in some cases, were able to turn it off right away. Others say it lasted for 15 minutes or more, persisting even after the car was shut off.
Several drivers who have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the noise was above 100 decibels, a level similar to that of a loud concert or a car horn, according to the American Academy of Audiology.
“The louder the sound is, the shorter the amount of time that it’s safe,” said Sarah Sydlowski, former president of the academy. At 100 decibels, only a few minutes of exposure is considered safe, she said, according to the Journal.
A spokesperson from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the agency is aware of the issue.