Audi Recalls 144,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Airbag Sensors

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Aug 02, 2019

    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.

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    • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Aug 05, 2019

      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.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Aug 05, 2019

    Any idea who the part supplier is?

  • Ajla No, with a "classic" I want the entire experience, not just the styling exercise so I'd have zero desire to remove the period engine**. With a normal 3-7 year old used car such a conversion being economical while I'm still above ground seems unlikely. **If the car is already ripped apart then whatever but otherwise I lean heavily to no major alterations.
  • Jalop1991 Whole lotta EV hate here.
  • 28-Cars-Later They were mocked as whales in their time but the last B-bodies really were ideally suited for decades of family use and long distance travel.
  • 28-Cars-Later "Naturally, GM turned to its most tech-forward engineering team to work on the [Cadillac] Northstar: Oldsmobile."The most GM phrase I have seen yet.
  • Carson D The automotive equivalent of necrophilia appeals to people who have no redeeming social value.