600,000 Audi Vehicles Recalled Over Fire Hazard, Airbag Issues

Image courtesy of (dirtyblueshirt)

Audi’s parent company Volkswagen is kicking off the week in style, announcing two separate recalls — one involving a potential fire risk, the other for faulty airbags — covering a total of nearly 600,000 vehicles.

The first recall involves 342, 867 Audi vehicles containing faulty coolant pumps that may be susceptible to fires. Covered models include:
• Audi A5 (2013-2016)
• A5 Cabriolet (2013-2016)
• Q5 (2013-2016)
• Allroad (2013-2016)
• A4 (2013-2016)
• A6 (2012-2015)

According to a notice [PDF] posted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the coolant pump in the recalled vehicles could become blocked by debris from the cooling system, which can lead to the pump overheating and the risk of a vehicle fire.

VW says it first became aware of the issue in 2015 when Audi received information about an unspecified number of cases in which the engine compartments of vehicles began to smolder.

The automaker will notify owners of affected vehicles staring Feb. 20 and dealers will update the software so that the power supply to the coolant pump is deactivated if the pump becomes blocked with debris.

The second recall sounds a lot like one we’ve heard before: passenger side airbags can deploy with enough force to shoot pieces of shrapnel at occupants, leading to serious injuries.

Despite the resemblance to Takata’s massive airbag recall — which has affected VW vehicles — a notice [PDF] from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not disclose who manufactured the airbags in the latest Audi recall.

In all, the airbag inflator in 234,054 model year 2011 to 2015 Audi Q5 may rupture as the result of corrosion.

According to the notice, the sunroof drainage system may allow water to soak into the foam surrounding the side head airbag inflator canister resulting in the corrosion of the canister.

This corrosion can weaken the canister and, during deployment of the side head airbag, the inflator may fracture and propel fragments into the passenger compartment.

VW says it became aware of the issue in 2016 after incidents in China and Israel. The carmaker will notify owners of the affected vehicles next month and dealers will inspect the airbag inflator and either coat or replace it, if necessary.

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