The VW Group of America may be frustrated that it is being required to start a recall campaign on 224,704 vehicles over an issue that it argued was “inconsequential.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) disagrees, however, and is making it fix vehicles it made between 2018 and 2019.
The wide-ranging recall is being undertaken as a result of an odd glitch affecting the tire pressure monitor. First discovered in 2020 during testing, the monitor may not detect when all four tires deflate at the same rate, at the same time quickly enough.
Fortunately for owners, the tire pressure monitor still works if just one of the tires starts to lose pressure, or blows out completely, or even if three do. It is only in circumstances where all four wheels simultaneously lose tire pressure that the monitor may not report that information in the amount of time required by federal regulations.
The specificity and unusual nature of that scenario may explain why Volkswagen felt that it should file a petition for “inconsequential non-compliance,” arguing that the issue “does not pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”
Its protests proved insufficient, though, and NHTSA found that the automaker had not met its “burden of persuasion” that the issue was inconsequential. According to the agency’s documents, if all four tires lose pressure simultaneously and the driver is not notified, the risk of a crash increases.
As a result, Volkswagen will initiate a recall on certain model year 2019-2021 Atlases, 2020-2021 Atlas Cross Sports, 2019-2020 Golfs, 2019 Golf Alltracks, 2019 Golf Rs, 2019 Golf Sportwagens, 2019-2020 Golf GTIs, 2019-2020 Jettas, and 2019 Tiguans. Audi will, meanwhile, issue a recall for the model year 2019-2020 A3 and the 2019 Q3.
The brands will begin reaching out to customers via first class mail on December 30. They will be asked to return their vehicles to a nearby dealership, where a software update will be applied free of charge.