Audi Recalling E-Trons Due To Fire Risk

Laguna Hills, CA – June 18, 2019 – Around 1,600 Audi E-Tron EV vehicles are being recalled after the model’s parent company, Volkswagen Group of America, learned some of the vehicles may have defective seals that could compromise its battery system, should moisture leak inside. In such a scenario, the battery could pose a fire hazard. Although Audi hasn’t determined when specifically it will inform owners of this issue, it expects to do so before June concludes. The component necessary to resolve the problem will likely arrive in August, which dealers will install for free.

The Defect

Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi, says it’s recalling 1,644 2019 Audi E-Trons due to a sealant issue that affects the electric vehicle’s propulsion system, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It turns out that the seal meant to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the high-voltage battery may be damaged, an issue that likely occurred during the assembly process. If rain, snow or other types of wetness gets in between the battery charging socket and other components of the voltage system, it raises the risk of an engine fire. However, neither Audi nor its parent company are aware of any such events thus far.

Moisture leaking into the battery would be virtually impossible to detect on its own, but the onboard computer will alert motorists to this problem before it becomes a potential safety issue, with a message on the dashboard panel that warns of an electrical fault or failure. Audi says that motorists should stop driving immediately if they receive this warning and to contact roadside assistance.

Timeline of Events

Mechanical issues often come to light from motorists themselves by reaching out to the automaker or NHTSA, but this one was recognized by Audi during quality control testing. It found two instances in February 2019 where the charging units failed to function. This led to follow-up investigation, which determined in mid-March that the problem likely originated from a faulty seal that exposed the charging socket to moisture.

Analysts’ suspicions were confirmed when customers alerted Audi to instances in which they received “check engine” warnings on their display panels above the steering wheel. Mechanics for Audi reached out to one of the owners who experienced this issue and found that moisture was the likely culprit. This prompted the dispatching of Audi’s Product Safety Committee, which began its inquiry in mid-April and concluded the review June 3. It confirmed that, although unlikely, a fire could ignite if moisture from the charging socket made its way onto the high-voltage battery. Audi subsequently informed NHTSA of the voluntary recall.

The Solution

Audi says it will make E-Tron owners aware of this issue before the end of June so they can have their vehicles examined. Dealers will diagnose whether the sealant happens to be compromised and install a corrective grommet to prevent moisture from coming into contact with the battery. As per usual, the fix will be provided free of charge.

Audi customers can contact customer service at 1-800-253-2834 for more information on this recall. Alternatively, visit MotorSafety.org and enter your 17-digit vehicle identification number to see if this or any other recall affects you.

Sean ReyesAudi Recalling E-Trons Due To Fire Risk