Volkswagen is recalling a wide range of VW and Audi vehicles from the 2009 and 2010 model years to fix a problem with their antilock braking systems. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 135,683 cars in the U.S. are affected.
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The problem is rooted in a control module supplied by Continental in South Carolina. Because of a manufacturing flaw, that module may fail when a car's antilock braking system or electronic stability control are engaged. A defect bulletin from NHTSA explains:
"Due to the use of an incorrect solder compound, the ground solder connection of a power controller unit/chip (PCU) may not properly resist to thermomechanical stress and cracks may develop. Such a crack may lead to insufficient electrical power flow when ABS or ESC engage as required by driving conditions. In consequence, the ABS [control module] may get deactivated due to lack of power flow."
Should that happen, drivers could be unable to control their vehicles, increasing the risk of a collision.
The recall affects the following makes and models:
- 2009 Audi A3
- 2009-2010 Volkswagen Jetta A5 Sedan
- 2009 Volkswagen Eos
- 2010 Volkswagen Golf A6
- 2009 Volkswagen GTI
- 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
- 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit
Volkswagen says that it will mail recall notices to owners, asking them to take their vehicles to dealerships for service. Dealers will update the software on the antilock braking system control module and run a diagnostic test. If a car fails that test, the entire control module will be replaced.
If you own one of these vehicles and have further questions, you're encouraged to contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Alternately, you can call NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #16V913000.