Volkswagen recalls vehicles with defective engine coolant pumps

Auburn Hills, Mich. – May 4, 2018 – Volkswagen Group of America has recalled more than 342,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective engine coolant pumps, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Administration. The campaign affects multiple models across the Audi brand, including:
  • 2013-2016 Audi A4 sedans produced between Feb. 20, 2012, and Dec. 8, 2015.
  • 2013-2016 Audi A4 Allroad sedans produced between March 12, 2012, and April 1, 2016.
  • 2013-2017 Audi A5 Cabriolets produced between March 9, 2012, and Dec. 16, 2016.
  • 2012-2015 Audi A6 sedans produced between April 4, 2011, and Dec. 22, 2014.
  • 2013-2017 Audi Q5 sport utility vehicles produced between July 4, 2012, and Dec. 20, 2016.
Volkswagen suspects all of the vehicles involved in the recall contain the defective parts.
The Defect
The models referenced in this action are likely to include engine coolant pumps prone to overheating and short circuiting due to blocked ventilation components or internal moisture development. Both conditions increase the likelihood of an engine fire. Consequently, the defective pumps pose a serious risk to occupants. However, Volkswagen has yet to receive reports linking the problematic parts to any accidents or injuries.
Owners operating vehicles equipped with the defective features may see an engine warning light prior to overheating or short circuiting, depending on the engine control software present.
Timeline of Events
On Dec. 23, 2016, the Audi Product Safety Committee issued a voluntary safety recall, filed under the NHTSA identification code 17V-002, to address defective engine coolant pumps in more than 342,000 vehicles. Dealers across the U.S. market executed the required remedy in the months following the recall, updating the ECU software installed in affected models with new programming designed to switch off the engine coolant pump power supply in the event of overheating or short circuiting. Between March 2017 and August 2017, Audi received multiple complaints from customers outlining instances of overheating and short circuiting, despite the existence of the updated ECU software. The automaker requested parts review following these reports.
More customers submitted identical complaints throughout September 2017 and October 2017. These instances prompted Audi to launch more exhaustive field tests and laboratory analyses to identify error patterns, significant mechanical variables and ultimately pinpoint the root cause of the issue.These inquiries revealed that moisture, in addition to ventilation blockage, affected engine coolant pump performance.
Members of the Audi Product Safety Committee convened April 4, 2018, to review the results of the field and laboratory tests. These stakeholders decided that the engine coolant pumps in the affected vehicles should be replaced along with the ECU software and chose to call for a voluntary safety recall.
The Solution
As stated above, Audi intends to replace the engine coolant pumps and ECU software in recalled vehicles free of charge. However, replacement parts are not currently available, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The automaker plans to notify both dealers and owners when these components are ready for installation. That said, Audi does intend to reach out to owners initially via first-class mail June 11, 2018, to prepare them for the forthcoming action. In the meantime, individuals in possession of recalled models can contact Audi customer service personnel at (800) 253-2834. Callers should use the internal recall reference code 19N3/19N4. Of course, owners can always contact the NHTSA directly using the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.
Sean ReyesVolkswagen recalls vehicles with defective engine coolant pumps