Safety Alert: Volkswagen Recalls SUVS Over Airbag Issue

May 10, 2023 | Recalls

A glitch in the airbag deployment system has prompted Volkswagen of America to issue a recall for 143,000 sports utility vehicles. The company is urging vehicle owners to avoid letting anyone sit in the front passenger seat until the problem is fixed.

The recall is for Atlas SUVS in model years 2018-2021 and Atlas Cross Sport vehicles from 2020. Volkswagen describes the problem as “sporadic” and possibly limited to a small percentage of the vehicles recalled. But it shouldn’t be ignored.

According to a consumer alert issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a fault in the wiring of the designated models that could deactivate the “passenger occupant detection system.” Typically, weight sensors detect if someone is sitting in the passenger seat and automatically deactivate the passenger airbag if insufficient weight is present, thereby protecting a small child from injury caused by airbag deployment. But the faulty wiring could result in deactivation of the airbag even when the seat is occupied by an adult.

“Volkswagen is currently developing a remedy and will notify affected owners as soon as the repair is available,” the NHTSA reports. In the meantime, Atlas owners should not allow anyone to occupy the front passenger seat.

Motor vehicle owners can visit the NHTSA recall site or call the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 and enter their 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if their vehicle is under recall.


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