Audi Passenger Airbag Sensor Problems May Prevent Deployment in Accident

Nearly 140,000 Audi vehicles have been recalled due to a risk that a body sensing mat may fail over time, causing the passenger airbag to fail to deploy when needed following a collision. 

The Audi passenger airbag recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on June 15, following several warranty claims of the passenger air bags failing to activate, even when a passenger was occupying the seat. To date, no injuries have been reported in relation to the recall.

NHTSA officials have received several air bag failure claims from customers who have reported the body sensing mat did not identify an individual sitting in the seat, or that the system turned off the passenger air bags while a passenger was present, increasing the risk of injury in a crash event.

According to Volkswagen Group of America, if the body sensing mat fails, vehicle occupants will be alerted to a Passive Occupant Detection System (PODS) problem by the illumination of the airbag monitoring light and by the status of the Passenger Airbag OFF indicator light. In this event, the PODS system may not make the correct, or any, deployment decision for the type of occupant in the seat.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. opened an investigation into the matter in September 2016 and escalated the issue to its PODs supplier, Lear Corporation GmbH of Germany, where the companies determined the sensor mats could be subject to failure due to stress or wearing of the seat.

The recall affects certain model Audi sedans that are equipped with a body sensing mat within the front passenger seat called a Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS). The system allows the vehicle to recognize when a passenger is occupying a seat and to activate the passenger airbag. They include certain model year 2012 through 2018 Audi A6, 2012 through 2018 Audi A7, 2014 through 2018 Audi RS7, 2013 through 2018 Audi S6 and 2013 through 2018 Audi S7 models.

The recall affects an estimated 139,249 vehicles equipped with standard seats, vehicles with upgraded seats are not affected.

The recall is expected to begin on July 31, 2018. Customers will be sent a mailed notification with instructions on how to schedule a repair at their local dealer. Dealers will be instructed to install a PODs system repair kit free of charge. Customers with additional questions or information may contact Audi customer service at 1-800-253-2834 and reference the recall number 74D5.

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