Volkswagen Recalls Atlas Vehicles; Might Have Sudden Airbag Deployment

Water may drain from the HVAC system and damage the air bag control module

Volkswagen Recalls Atlas Vehicles; Might Have Sudden Airbag Deployment
Image: Volkswagen
September 7, 2018

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling 9,685 Volkswagen Atlas vehicles from the 2018 model year. Water from the HVAC system might drain into the air bag control module due to a twisted drain hose.

What's the problem?

In certain vehicles, an air conditioning evaporator (HVAC) drain tube may have been twisted during vehicle assembly. If this tube is twisted, it can lead to water draining inside the passenger compartment and also onto the airbag control module. If the airbag control module gets wet, it can malfunction and possibly lead to an unintended airbag deployment. An unintended airbag deployment can cause injuries to vehicle occupants and possibly lead to a crash.

What happens next?

Volkswagen will notify owners  and dealers will inspect the air conditioning drain tube.  If it is twisted, the drain tube and air bag control module will be replaced  free of charge. Some of the affected vehicles have had their drain tube previously replaced but did not receive a new air bag control module; the airbag control module will be replaced in these vehicles.

The recall is expected to begin October 14, 2018. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at (800) 893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 87F9.

If You Suspect Problems, present for repair immediately

A customer may notice wet carpet, a foul odor in the interior of the vehicle or the airbag warning  lamp may illuminate. Other warning lights may also illuminate depending on vehicle equipment and conditions. If any of this happens, owners are advised to contact an authorized  Volkswagen dealer without delay and arrange to have the vehicle inspected.

Problem Originally deemed not a safety issue

This issue was originally addressed in late 2017 by Volkswagen's product safety committee who, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), determined a safety defect was not present.  A service campaign was issued.  On June 14, 2018, Volkswagen was notified of a curtain airbag deployment that had no apparent cause.  Upon investigation, Volkswagen and the NHTSA re-evaluated the service campaign and determined a safety defect was indeed present due to the new information.