Audi is recalling more than 150,000 Audi A3 and S3 vehicles because their passenger-side airbag system could malfunction. According to a report in Car and Driver, the problem affects 2015 to 2020 A3 and S3 vehicles and could lead to the airbag shutting itself off even if a person is occupying the passenger seat. Parent company Volkswagen will issue recall notifications by May 21.
Details of the Recall
The automaker said the cars’ passenger occupant detection system or PODS may erroneously shut off the airbag even when someone is sitting in the passenger seat. The problem affects 113,164 U.S. market 2015-2020 Audi A3s, 9,573 of the 2016-2018 A3 e-ton, 14,532 2015-2020 S3s and 4,147 2017-2020 S3 sedans, according to Audi’s statement provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The 2013-2019 A3 was previously recalled for this problem in 2019 at which time the company says it installed “a new, more robust PODS connector and optimized cable routing.” Complaints came in again in 2020 on vehicles that had received this implementation. In spite of its research, Audi has been unable to pinpoint the root cause of the problem, the automaker said in its letter to NHTSA, and that it believes there is an additional issue within the PODS system beyond the issue that was addressed in the initial recall.
So far, there have been no accidents, injuries or fatalities reported as a result of this recall. Audi is still working on a solution to the problem, but will begin to notify vehicle owners starting May 21. Owners can check NHTSA’s recall site for updates or to find out if their vehicle is included in the recall.
Dangers of Airbag Defects
Airbags are meant to protect vehicle occupants, for example, by shielding an occupant’s head from slamming into the steering wheel, side window, dashboard or windshield. An airbag that functions properly in the event of a crash can save your life or help prevent catastrophic injuries such as a traumatic brain injury.
A defective airbag, however, can end up doing a considerable amount of harm. Sometimes, malfunctioning sensors could prevent an airbag from deploying in the event of a crash. This could cause major injuries or even fatalities. In other cases, defective airbags could randomly deploy resulting in head trauma, broken bones and an elevated risk of crashes because of the suddenly reduced visibility.
Auto manufacturers who are responsible for manufacturing defective auto parts or automobiles may be held accountable for their negligence. An experienced auto defect lawyer who has had a successful track record of holding negligent automakers liable will be able to advise injured victims and their families in such cases. It is important after an auto accident to preserve the vehicle in its current condition unaltered so an expert can examine it thoroughly for defects, malfunctions and other evidence.