Volkswagen recalls vehicles with defective auxiliary heaters


Auburn Hills, Mich. – Oct. 24, 2017 – The Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 216,000 vehicles possibly equipped with defective auxiliary heaters, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:

  • 2013-2016 Audi A4 sedans and A4 Allroad station wagons produced between March 2, 2012 and July 31, 2015.
  • 2013-2016 Audi A5 coupes and cabriolets produced between March 8, 2012 and July 31, 2015.
  • 2013-2016 Audi Q5 sport utility vehicles produced between April 7, 2012 and July 31, 2015.

The German automaker estimates 100 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected models contain auxiliary heaters with defective electrical connectors prone to contact corrosion. Mechanical wear and movement is known to cause this condition, which can lead to overheating, melting of nearby wires and even engine fires. This poses a serious threat to occupants. However, Volkswagen has yet to receive reports linking the defective auxiliary heaters to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

In February 2015, the car company received customer complaints detailing instances of overheating. From March 2015 to May 2016, Volkswagen investigated the claims and worked with its German supplier, Mahle Behr GmbH and Co. KG to identify a root cause and develop a solution. In June 2016, the Audi Product Safety Committee decided to conduct a service campaign to update the climate control modules in affected vehicles. The group also called for more investigations, which concluded in September 2017.

On Sept. 28, Volkswagen issued a voluntary safety recall to further address the issue.

The Solution

The automaker intends to direct dealers to replace the auxiliary heaters in models subject to the action free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Volkswagen has yet to release a notification timeline for dealers or owners. However, owners in need of immediate help can contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (88) 327-4236.

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