By on August 2, 2019

2017 Audi A4 - Image: Audi

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that Volkswagen Group of America is issuing a recall on 144,092 Audi vehicles in the United States so their passenger-side airbag sensors can be fixed. Oxidation on the connecting cable of the system is causing software failures, leading to an inability to detect occupants and disabling the airbag from functioning.

Issued on July 24th, the recall covers Audi S5 and A5 vehicles along with some A4s — all manufactured between 2016 and 2018. Automotive News reported there would be an additional 26,040 vehicles recalled in Canada after speaking with an Audi representative. 

“The recall is in response to an oversensitivity of the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) connecting cable in the instance of a partial surface oxidation of the electrical shielding in the cable harness,” Audi said in a statement. “If this happens, the PODS will detect a malfunction and switch off the passenger airbag even though the seat may be occupied.”

Audi said it was not aware of any injuries related to the issue and was keen to note that affected cars will have their airbags disabled, not converted into a ticking time bomb.

“As designed, a warning light in the instrument panel comes on together with a warning sound and an error message is displayed in the instrument cluster,” the statement said. “The airbag indicator light shows ‘passenger airbag off.’ If this happens, customers are advised to contact an authorized Audi dealer to have the vehicle inspected/repaired without delay.”

Owners who have recalled cars can ring 800-893-5298 or visit the NHTSA’s website for more information. But the official recall will commence next month. As usual, the manufacturer will inspect and repair affected vehicles free of charge. Interestingly, the repair doesn’t involve replacing the rusty wires but rather updating the software that controls the airbag.

[Image: Audi]

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14 Comments on “Audi Recalls 144,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Airbag Sensors...”

  • avatar

    Taking a page from the 737 MAX solution…….

  • avatar

    Why would the airbag not default to armed if an occupant sensor fault was detected?

    Very unusual for safety equipment to default to a fail-deadly position…

    I suspect that the software fix will change that failure position to armed and remove the nuisance light/alarm.

    • 0 avatar


      The trouble with complex systems with limited CPU power or sensors is that sometimes, one default is deadly, and the opposite default is deadly also. The answer, more sensors and more CPU power. A more complicated system, to be sure, but TO BE SURE.

  • avatar

    The best thing to do with in a situation like this is not to care. That way the perennial-open-wound GM fans can pull out their victim cards over how unfair it is that only car companies that discover deadly flaws before a single car is delivered and then deliver a few million with the flaw anyway get a bum rap.

  • avatar

    If you want to talk about true scum, the European leadership knew about particulate emissions when they wrote laws to socially engineer huge numbers of Europeans into diesel cars. Then they blamed industry for the deaths they sentenced the frail to. Then they introduced unreachable emissions standards to show how righteous they were. Now they’re pushing child slavery in the Congo and a massive reduction in standards of living. Scum go along to get along.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      If the emissions standards were unreachable, there were at least 100 better ways to deal with it than cheating on the test. Telling people it couldn’t be done and giving them the info to either make an informed decision with their vote or shifting to other technology comes to mind. No, those politicians were doing what people elected them to do. Maybe we don’t agree, bit elections have consequences. VAG are the scumbags here

      • 0 avatar

        Have you paid any attention to European Union elections at all? The will of the people matters as much as mineral rights on Pluto. VAG weren’t alone. Everyone selling diesels in the EU did the same thing. The alternative was to shutter their factories.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          So you are saying that somehow they just aren’t counting the actual votes? I also assume you have a source for your ascertation that other makers were cheating on the magnitude VW was.

          Let me guess…that smoking man from the X files is pulling all of the strings.

      • 0 avatar

        Art Vandelay….”telling people it can’t be done….”

        It takes people of very strong character who are willing risk considerable financial loss to do this.

        People at VW were afraid to speak out that targets were unattainable.

        Many of us parrot and perpetuate ideas that we know are wrong or do not work, because it’s easier that way. Also, we don’t want to be tagged as ‘non-team players’ and lose our jobs. Unlike buying consumer goods, where one can (usually) substitute good B for good A, it’s not easy to find another job with comparable pay and benefits.

        IMO opinion, there are many things ‘wrong’ in the world, despite an abundance of information.

        Here’s one that readers here will probably overwhelmingly agree with: ethanol in gasoline. As a result of ethanol, older cars may not run properly. Newer cars will not go as far on a gallon of 90/10 as they will on a gallon of pure gasoline.

        So why do we have ethanol mixed in? Because big agribusiness has bought the right people in our government, who peddle lies about “energy independence” and “helping the farmers in Iowa”.

        So our government encourages and SUBSIDIZES ethanol, with our tax money, so that we can burn more fuel and risk damaging our older cars, also more money from us.

        And who benefits? Big agribusiness gets more money.

        And while we’re here, note that studies have shown that the energy INPUTS to create ethanol add pollution.

        I’d rather take that grain and GIVE it to needy people–or even agribusiness. It would be the lesser of the evils.

        So, as I wind down my soapbox on this lovely Monday, most voters are ignorant and easily conned–OR, they want to keep their little perk, so they agree to overlook 5 other perks that cost them. We want something for nothing, it seems. We will get a big nothing…soon.

        But this is TTAC! We like cars! So maybe we should all write our congressmen to F-Iowa and stop subsidizing ethanol. This will give us better gasoline, and make the world a better place for 99% of the public.

  • avatar

    Any idea who the part supplier is?

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