Volkswagen Passat Recall Issued Over Heat Shield Problems

A recall has been issued for nearly 85,000 diesel engine Volkswagen Passat vehicles, following reports that suggest the cars may catch on fire due to a defective underbody heat shield, which may allow leaking grease to come in contact with hot surfaces. 

The Volkswagen Passat recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on May 11, in response to several warranty claims where the vehicle’s underbody caught on fire. To date no serious injuries or hospitalizations have been reported.

The recalled Volkswagen Passat vehicles have the potential to catch on fire due to a series of complications that include the underbody heat shield not being long enough to sufficiently protect the right drive half-shaft grease boot from heat, which over time could lead to a grease leak from the boot.

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In addition, the upper boost hose may have the potential to fail, allowing metered and compressed air from the turbo charger to escape before entering the combustion chamber, that may cause more fuel to be injected than intended. In this event, an excessive amount of soot production may accumulate resulting in an overheating hazard.

The combination of the two events may pose a fire hazard, which could lead to serious and even fatal injuries to drivers and occupants.

Volkswagen first learned of the issue in July 2016, after receiving several reports of underbody fires in certain Passat diesel engine vehicles. A parts and system analysis was performed, however, no systemic root cause was found.

Further analysis ultimately lead to the discovery of the chain of events that could reproduce the occurrence of fires. Volkswagen concluded a safety risk was present and made the decision to initiate a recall on May 3, 2017.

The vehicles being recalled include model year 2012 through 2014 Volkswagen Passat TDI vehicles equipped with diesel engines. The vehicles were manufactured at the Auburn Hills, Michigan plant from April 11, 2011 through July 25, 2014, and are marked with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) beginning with 1VWBN7A39CC000123 and ending with 1VWBN7A36EC121534.

An estimated 84,262 Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel engine vehicles that were distributed for sale throughout the United States are included in the recall. Volkswagen announced it will begin notifying owners and dealers of the potential defects and the corrective action to be taken.

The company indicates it will have parts readily available to begin repairs in July 2017. Customers will be instructed to schedule an appointment at their local dealer to have the underbody heat shield replaced with a longer heat shield, and an improvement will be made to the middle layer of the boost hose.

Customers with further questions regarding the recall may contact Volkswagen Customer Service at 1-800-893-5298 and reference the recall number 23W5.


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