Auburn Hills, Mich. – Sept. 8, 2017 – The Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 8,300 vehicles possibly equipped with defective engine control unit software, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017-2018 Audi A3 cabriolets and sedans. The German automaker suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective software.
Affected models are equipped with problematic ECU software that facilitates an engine air and fuel mixture burning stability strategy, which is prone to cause stalling during start-up or low-RPM maneuvers. Specifically, when the engine flywheel begins to rotate, the software misinterprets this movement as “knocking,” which triggers engine shutoff. This poses a serious hazard to occupants, as vehicles could lose power when traveling at high speeds, therefore increasing the likelihood of an accident. That said, Audi has yet to receive reports linking the defect to any accidents or injuries.
In the event of an engine stall, the “Engine Stop While Driving” light will illuminate. Drivers can immediately restart their vehicles to regain operability.
Timeline of Events
Earlier this year, Audi began receiving internal reports outlining sudden engine shutoffs in new production vehicles. These documents described instances in which vehicles would stall when accelerating out of complete stops or slow rolls. Over the course of April and May 2017, the car company received multiple claims from owners. Claim volumes further increased during the summer months, the majority of which seemed to come from owners living in regions with high temperatures. Audi initiated an internal investigation in response to these filings, and discovered that virtually all of the claims originated from owners in cities with warm climates. It also found that the stalling behavior was a result of problematic ECU software.
On Aug. 9, quality assurance personnel at automaker decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall. Audi notified dealers of the action Sept. 6.
The car company has directed dealers to replace the ECU software in affected vehicles free of charge, according to documents submitted to the NHTSA. Audi plans to notify owners Sept. 27. Those in need of more immediate assistance can contact Audi customer service staff at (800) 253-2834. Callers should use the internal recall reference identification code 24DF. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA via the organization’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.