A recent recall made headlines, not only because of how many drivers were included-it reached across car lines and across the entire country- but also because of the dire safety implications. Airbag manufacturer, Takata, is under scrutiny for supplying more than seven million airbags with defective inflator and propellant devices that can malfunction and shoot shrapnel into the occupant of the car during a crash. A New York Times report in September found at least 139 injuries related to the defective airbag components. To learn if your vehicle may be included in the recall check this list.
Fortunately for our customers, VW and Audi were not on the list of car models with potentially lethal airbags. That’s not to say we never have recalls. In fact, we often see cars come through our shop that should have a repair covered under a recall campaign. We make it a point to stay informed about what parts are under recall and we’re quick to let our customers know when they need to take the car to a local VW or Audi dealer for the free repair. Frequently, we hear from our customer that they had no idea there was an open campaign. How does that happen? Why don’t they know? How do you, the consumer, stay connected to the manufacturer and remain “in the loop” on any potential recalls or safety concerns? Sometimes, it’s a case of mislaying the mail. If there is a recall VW or Audi of America will send you a recall notice. It will describe the problem to you and will advise you to take the car to the dealer for repair. Please note, for the recall to be done at no charge-as it should be-you must take your car to a dealership for repair. I know many of our loyal customers don’t like to do that, but these recall repairs should not cost you a dime, so go ahead and schedule at the dealer, we want you to save that money! You will also see on the paperwork you receive instructions on what to do if you’ve already paid a shop to complete the repair. You will need to submit the form with your repair order and proof of payment to VW or Audi of America and you will be reimbursed. If you’ve lost your repair order don’t worry, we can always print you a second copy.
Now, what does it mean if you never received the recall notice? It means VW or Audi of America doesn’t know you’re driving one of their cars! When you purchase a car new you will get a lot of mail, advertising, and special offers from the manufacturer. Some of it is helpful, most of it feels like spam. But it’s a good indication that you’ll also hear from them if there is a recall. They have your address, and they’re not afraid to use it! If you purchase a car used, either from a lot or a private party, no one tells the manufacturer how to find you. While this can be a relief in the mailbox it also means if there is a safety recall you won’t hear a peep from them. They’re sending your recall notices to the previous registered owner. And what are they doing with them? Round file!
Fortunately it’s a simple fix. Call them, give them your VIN, and update their ownership records. That way if there are any service campaigns or safety recalls they can get in touch with you. The number to call is 1-800-822-8987. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to update their records and then you’re guaranteed to know about any future recalls. Stay informed and stay safe on the road!
Owner, Hillside Imports
Rene Rodriguez has over 25 years of experience working exclusively on VW and late model Audis. As Hillside Imports owner, and service writer, he’s dedicated the past 20 years to educating consumers about safety, reliability and performance.