Auburn Hills, Michigan – Dec. 26, 2017 – Volkswagen Group of America recently announced that it would recall nearly 49,000 Audi A6 and A7 executive cars from model years 2012 to 2014, over concerns about the potential for a leaking fuel line, according to a defect report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The issue stems from a compression point in the design of the fuel line that was supposed to facilitate installation. However, that part of the fuel line may weaken over time due to issues in the manufacturing process, potentially leading to a leak.
The vehicles in question were produced from March 28, 2011, to Sept. 13, 2013, and 100 percent of the A6s and A7s in the recall are affected by the issue.
The defect was first noticed as far back as the middle of 2013, but various intermediate fixes were apparently not effective in fully reducing the risk of a fuel line leak. In fact, various attempted fixes may have exacerbated the problem in certain situations. The fuel line was manufactured by a parts supplier based in Denmark, but many of the fixes were made by Audi on the basis of software updates to the vehicles’ internal gearbox computer.
Leaking fuel could lead to a fire or explosion if in the presence of an ignition source. Drivers or vehicle occupants may be able to spot this issue by noticing a gasoline smell, or puddles under their vehicles.
Timeline of Events
In 2013, Audi began receiving reports of A6 and A7 vehicles that had the 3.0TFSI engine installed, prompting an investigation by the company. In June 2014, with reports of leaking fuel lines increasing, the company’s Product Safety Committee received more information on the issue and made the decision to update the gearboxes’ software, with an eye toward reducing vibration and strain on the fuel lines. Monitoring of the issue continued even after this point.
From March 2015 to April 2017, more information came in that some Audi vehicles were still suffering the same type of damage even after getting the gearbox software update. Once again, the Product Safety Committee received the latest data on the investigation and conducted more field analysis.
In October 2017, the company’s laboratory analyzed 11 fuel lines, none of which showed any damage, but later that month and into November, more incidents were reported.
Then on Nov. 29, the Product Safety Committee completed further analysis and determined it was time to recall the vehicles in question.
Audi drivers whose vehicles are affected by the recall will be able to take them to their local Audi dealerships or other locations for free repairs. The company will also offer reimbursement to owners who already paid to have these issues fixed.
The replacement fuel lines have a redesigned fuel hose that shrinks during installation instead of being compressed.
Both dealers and owners will be formally informed of the recall on Feb. 5, 2018.