Volkswagen recalls vehicles with exploding airbags

Auburn Hills, MI  – July 17, 2022 – Volkswagen (OTCMKTS:VWAGY), which owns the Audi brand, is recalling 28,624 sedans over an issue with airbags made by Takata. These airbags may either explode and propel metal fragments toward passengers or fail to inflate as intended. Both situations increase the risk of an injury during a crash.

This recall comes on the heels of an ongoing U.S government investigation, which has seen over 2.5 million vehicles being recalled so far. It is, however, different from the much larger Takata airbag recalls which are caused by a different type of inflator.

This latest recall covers the following models:

  • 1998 Audi A8
  • 1997 – 1998 Audi A4

Recall summary

Because of a manufacturing issue, the airbag inflator can absorb moisture. This can cause it to either deploy slowly during a crash or rupture and send metal shards flying toward vehicle occupants. 

The component behind this recall is the “the driver airbag inflator” with part numbers 4B0.951.403 and 4B0.951.403 A. 

Different Takata issues, same risks

Even though this recall is technically different from the “much larger and ongoing Takata airbag recall” – which has resulted in at least 28 deaths and 400 injuries – it presents the same risks.

The difference stems from the type of inflator which is used in these airbags. The inflator which is responsible for deploying this particular type of bag is called the Non-Azide Driver Airbag Inflator (NADI). Unlike the Phase Stabilized Ammonium Nitrate (PSAN) – which is considered a “highly combustible and unstable chemical”  – NADI inflators were deemed generally safe until 2019.

However, that year, Takata issued a recall for NADI inflators saying that they too had the potential to rupture and hurt car occupants with metal shrapnel. 

So far, the issue has resulted in at least two deaths and several serious injuries and has caused nine recalls across five different manufactures, including this one. 

It is also subject to an ongoing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation. 

Recall risks

Improperly inflating airbags can provide insufficient cushioning during a crash, and exploding airbags may send shrapnel into the cabin. Either problem could result in injury or death.

Background of this recall

The Audi A8 and Audi A4 recalled cars should have been included in a larger 2020 recall, but were omitted due to a “clerical error.”

Other Volkswagen and Audi recalls

This recall is similar to previous Volkswagen Takata airbag recalls. Some newer Audi models have also suffered from airbag failures, although this issue has a different cause.

The repair

Dealers will replace suspected airbag inflators with updated ones. This repair will be free of charge. Audi has already notified affected owners of the recall. 

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

This Audi airbag recall affects more than 20,000 vehicles. To do a Volkswagen recall check and see if yours is one of them, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

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