Auburn Hill, Mich. – May 3, 2017 – The Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 240,000 sport utility vehicles with defective fuel pump flanges, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The recall, which is an expansion of two earlier campaigns, affects Audi Q7 SUVs produced between May 2012 and July 2015, as well as Q5 models that rolled off the assembly line from July 2012 to March 2017. The automaker estimates that this problem affects 100 percent of these vehicles.
The vehicles named in the recall are equipped with defective fuel-pump flanges that are prone to cracking. Should fissures develop, fuel could leak into the engine compartment and catch fire, posing a serious risk to occupants. Owners are likely to smell fuel while operating the vehicle or standing near it when leakage has occurred. There have been no accidents or injuries linked to this defect.
Timeline of Events
Earlier this month, Volkswagen recalled a large number of Porsche Macan crossovers due to the same issue, CNET reported. However, this fuel flange problem can be traced back to a recall initiated in September of last year that included the Audi Q7 and Q5, according to the NHTSA.
In the fall of 2015, the automaker became aware of customer complaints and NHTSA filings that mentioned the possibility of fuel leakage. Engineers investigated these assertions and found that the vehicles mentioned in the reports had faulty fuel flanges that tended to develop fissures. Further evaluations took place over an eight-month period between December 2015 and July 2016. Unfortunately, inspectors were unable to discover the root cause. However, Volkswagen developed a workable solution to the problem: a butyl rubber film that could cover the fuel pump flange and seal off leaks.
In September of 2016, the Audi Product Safety Committee chose to issue an official recall. Volkswagen has since discovered the defect in other vehicles, including the Porsche Macan, and has expanded the campaign to account for new models.
Volkswagen has ordered dealers to reinforce the fuel pump flanges on affected vehicles with protective butyl rubber film. However, models that exhibit extensive cracking will receive replacement fuel pump flanges of a new, more durable design. This latest recall extension involving the Audi Q7 and Q5 is expected to begin in July, according to Volkswagen. Owners in need of more immediate assistance prior to the official campaign launch date are advised to contact the NHTSA. Those with affected vehicles will receive notification via first-class mail.