Back in November Volkswagen began notifying its customers that it would be voluntarily recalling numerous of its diesel models for faulty fuel injectors. The car manufacturer estimates that this recall could affect more than 168,000 vehicles. While Volkswagen’s website has more information on the specific models the Volkswagen recall effects, they include:
• Volkswagen Golf models manufactured between 2010 and 2011,
• Volkswagen Jetta models manufactured between 2009 and 2012, and
• some Audi 3 models manufactured between 2010 and 2012.
Of the above models, only those vehicles containing the 2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel engine are included in the recall. According to Volkswagen, there is a possibility that certain vibrations will cause a fuel line crack in the engine, which could then cause a fuel leak. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that fuel leaks could lead to car fires, Volkswagen stated that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by fuel line cracks in its diesel engines.
As part of its voluntarily recall, Volkswagen has attempted to notify all of the affected vehicle owners via mail. Those owners have been asked to take their vehicle to an authorized Volkswagen dealership in order to be inspected and repaired. If Volkswagen finds a crack in the fuel injector, it will obviously repair it. However, the auto manufacturer also plans on installing engine vibration dampers on all its 2.0L TDI® Clean Diesel engines in order to prevent future fuel line cracks. Volkswagen assured its customers that all the work would be performed free of charge.
And while Volkswagen has stated that it knows of no accidents related to the faulty fuel lines, the NHTSA has launched an investigation into fuel leaks related to the 2011 Jetta TDI. While Volkswagen is taking steps to correct the faulty fuel lines, an investigation by the NHTSA ensures that there is some degree of government oversight in the recall process and that Volkswagen fulfills its duties to its consumers.
This is not the first time the NHTSA has done a recall on Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles this year. Back in February, the NHTSA launched an investigation of fuel-pump failures on the TDI engines after receiving complaints that the diesel engine either stalled or unexpectedly lost power. According to the NHTSA website, the Volkswagen investigation is still open and has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis in order to determine whether there are any potential design defects in the high pressure fuel pump.
However, Volkswagen’s recall problems pale in comparison to the 2009 and 2010 Toyota recalls, which set record breaking numbers for vehicle recalls. During the course of those two years, Toyota recalled over 8 million of its vehicles due to sudden acceleration problems that were allegedly due to defective floor mats. However, a personal injury claim arising out of the alleged product defect was decided in favor of Toyota, see Sitafalwalla v. Toyota Motor Corporation. The Toyota product defect lawsuits demonstrate that a car manufacturer’s voluntary recall does not necessarily translate into a viable product defect claim.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois automotive product defect cases for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas, including Waukegan, Grayslake, Orland Park, Morton Grove, Bridgeview, Alsip, and Warrenville.
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