Some Volkswagen Atlas SUV’s may have a defect that allows the air conditioning system drain to leak into the air bag control module, posing a risk of an unexpected air bag deployment.
The Volkswagen Atlas recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on September 6, following an incident report indicating the air conditioning system drain tube may twist, allowing water to enter the air bag control module and cause sudden air bag deployment, increasing the risk of a crash and injury hazard to drivers and occupants.
Volkswagen first learned of the issue in August 2017, when several customers reported having wet carpets below the dashboard, or that the air bag warning lamp illuminated on the dashboard cluster, indicating the air bag control unit was deactivated.
The investigation discovered the air conditioning evaporator drain tube may have been twisted during vehicle assembly, allowing water to drain inside the passenger compartment. In October, Volkswagen classified the repair as a service campaign since there were no known safety risks related to the defect.
However, in June 2018, Volkswagen received a warranty claim indicating on of the curtain air bags deployed without any cause. The investigation was reopened and it was found that the air conditioning evaporator drain tube may leak onto the air bag control module. If this occurs, the air bags could unexpectedly deploy while the vehicle is parked or in motion.
The recall includes approximately 9,685 model year 2018 Volkswagen Atlas vehicles. They were manufactured by Volkswagen Group of America from November 17, 2016 through August 18, 2017.and distributed for sale throughout the United States to licensed dealers.
Volkswagen indicates it will begin notifying affected owners of the defect on October 14, and will provide instructions on how to schedule a free repair at their local dealer, who will be instructed to inspect the drain tube and air bag control module, and replace them as necessary.
Owners with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall may contact Volkswagen Customer Service at 1-800-893-5298 and reference recall number 87F9.