Auburn Hills, MI – April 2, 2021 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY), which owns the Audi brand, has recalled 153,152 Audi A3-generation cars whose passenger-side airbags may deactivate while someone is sitting in that seat, increasing that passenger’s risk of injury in a crash. The recall includes the following convertibles, sedans and crossover SUVs:
- 2015 – 2020 Audi A3
- 2016 – 2018 Audi A3 e-tron
- 2017 – 2020 Audi RS3
- 2015 – 2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet
- 2015 – 2020 Audi S3
The component in question is the “repair kit for passenger seat occupant detection,” part number 8V0898522.
This recall addresses an ongoing problem with the Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS), which senses when there is a passenger sitting in the front seat. The PODS is supposed to deactivate the passenger airbag when the seat is empty, but in the case of recalled cars, the airbag “turns off” even when the seat is occupied, increasing the risk of an injury to the passenger in a crash.
A previous recall for this issue was conducted in 2019 but failed to fix the issue as the manufacturer kept receiving reports that some repaired PODS have continued to malfunction.
Recent customer complaints about this issue highlighted that this was a “known problem” for “many Audi models, not just A3 and S3” and that, in addition to the airbag issue, some of these models also experienced a seat belt malfunction. The seat belt warning kept going off even though there was no one in the seat.
Data shows that airbags reduce crash fatalities by 11%, but they can only protect people if they actually deploy. Deactivated airbags cannot protect passengers in a crash.
Vehicle occupants need to pay attention to the airbag indicator light, which will illuminate if the airbag system has been deactivated. Along with the light, the occupants should also hear a chime and see an error message in the instrument panel. If the warnings come on:
- Have the front passenger sit elsewhere in the car.
- Do NOT use the front passenger seat going forward.
- Take the car to the nearest dealership as soon as possible.
Audi is still investigating the problem and has not determined what the repair will be. Owners will receive letters in the mail with more information about the recall on May 21.
Is your vehicle part of this recall?
Over 153,000 vehicles are included in this Audi recall. To see if your Audi is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.