We're one month into the Dieselgate fiasco, and there's no relief in sight for Volkswagen owners. In fact, as more of the automaker's offices are raided and plundered by investigators, we wouldn't be surprised to see new and unpleasant revelations come to light.
Among those bombshells could be an expansion of the number of vehicles affected. So far, Volkswagen has said that its emissions-test-cheating software was installed on 11 million VW, Audi, Porsche, and Seat vehicles worldwide from 2008 to 2015. However, vehicles from the 2016 model year may also be equipped with illegal code or devices. (Probes have already been launched.)
So, given the evolving nature of the Volkswagen crisis, it's understandable to see a good bit of confusion among consumers. We're regularly asked by friends and neighbors whether their own cars are affected, and until recently, our best advice has been, "Wait and see".
We're happy to report that the waiting may be over -- or at least, the waiting to see if your car is involved in the Dieselgate scandal.
Like all automakers that do business in the U.S., Volkswagen is required to maintain a searchable database of all cars that have been or will soon be recalled. The automaker has now updated that database to include the 482,000 American vehicles equipped with Volkswagen's illegal software.
To find out whether your VW or Audi vehicle is affected, visit VW.com/content/vwcom/en/owners-recalls.html or web.audiusa.com/recall/, plug in your VIN, and the site should indicate whether or not your car is going to be recalled.
Of course, when Volkswagen will actually issue that recall is up in the air. As we've said before, a software update could disable the illegal code, but owners would lose performance and fuel economy in the process. If that were to happen, even more Volkswagen owners would be lining up to sue the company, and more federal agencies would launch investigations into the automaker's business practices.
By our best guesstimates, figuring out the fix is likely to take Volkswagen at least another month or two, with additional time required for approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It's going to cost Volkswagen a pretty penny, and the repair may cost you a good bit of time.
And if you're one of those folks who owns a gas-powered Volkswagen, don't feel too bad. There are lawsuits brewing on your behalf, too, insisting that the Dieselgate scandal has diminished the resale value of every Volkswagen vehicle -- even those that don't use diesel.
See? Everybody wins.