Volkswagen has issued a recall for Touareg Hybrid crossovers from model-years 2011 to 2015. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the batteries on some of those vehicles may short out and could cause a fire.
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The Touareg's problem stems from a design flaw that prevents water from draining out of the rear hatch area, which is where the hybrid battery sits. As NHTSA notes, "[A]ny water entering this area remains below the hatch floor cover in the battery tray and is not easily visible to customers. If too much water collects in this area, it could cause an electrical short in the high voltage battery."
In some cases, that short could increase the risk of fire.
The recall includes 2011-2015 Touareg Hybrid vehicles built between March 20, 2010 and April 11, 2015. All told, the recall affects 825 vehicles registered in the U.S.
Volkswagen says that it will mail recall notices to Touareg owners this month. After receiving those notices, owners will be able to take their vehicles to Volkswagen dealers, who will install a drain valve to help water drain properly. The fix will be carried out at no charge.
If you own one of these vehicles and have questions, you're encouraged to contact Volkswagen customer service at 800-893-5298 and ask about recall #53B8. If you prefer, you can also call NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #16V035000.