Listen to the VW ID Buzz’s Fake Blinker Sounds

The replicated blinker sounds can be heard through the EV’s speakers.

byAaron Cole|
Electric Vehicles photo
Aaron Cole

There aren’t many similar soundtracks among cars at all, but one of the few is this: click, clack, click, clack, click.

That’s the familiar sound of a small relay, hidden in almost every dashboard, mechanically flipping on and off to engage a signal bulb. When you were five, you probably clicked your tongue along with the signal relay because what else can you competently do when you’re five?

Engineers at VW apparently wanted their big, shiny new bus to make you feel like you’re five again in every way—turn signal included. That’s why in the Volkswagen ID Buzz, the relay sound is piped through the speakers.

VW of America spokesman Mark Gillies confirmed the sounds are piped through the speakers in electric vehicles but the automaker’s gas-powered VWs skip the noise. 

While driving the ID Buzz Cargo and ID Buzz passenger vans back-to-back this week, I observed a slightly louder “click” in the cargo version. That may have been for safety reasons or because the front cab was sealed off from the back, it’s hard to say. But both driver and passenger will have distinct and audible clicks from the turn signals in the left and right ears, respectively, and it’s hard to miss. 

What’s more unclear is whether the clicks can be changed—whether by VW or by software. If it were me, I’m not sure I’d ever grow tired of a Peanut Butter Wolf split-second record scratch to let me know I’m about to take a left or hang a right. Nor would I grow tired of a “Press Your Luck” whammy sound. Would it be the worst if VW sold a quack? Yes. Yes, it would, but I’d buy it on the VW blinker app store anyway. 

We live in exciting times, folks. Artificial duplications of mechanical sounds are likely transition blankets for us olds, but we’ll need ‘em for a while. (We’re looking at you, Dodge.) As for VW’s piped-in clicker, it’s fine. Just be sure to top up on blinker fluid frequently to get the best performance.

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