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Nobody wants to see their shiny new car leaking coolant, especially a luxury model from Audi. One of its SUVs, the Q5, has won Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Award for four years straight. Audi is partially owned by Volkswagen, which makes several great vehicles of its own.

However, several Audi and Volkswagen models are prone to a severe problem. reports that both automakers face a lawsuit over a defective water pump. Is there enough evidence to justify a widespread recall of the affected vehicles?

The latest Volkswagen lawsuit details

Water pumps in certain Audi and Volkswagen vehicles are made of plastic that cracks easily in a short period of time, the lawsuit alleges. Once this happens, the coolant could leak onto the thermometer or melt the electrical plug attached to the car’s engine. The engine also won’t be able to operate at regular temperatures, resulting in engine failure.

One of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, Michael Zhao, purchased a 2018 Volkswagen Golf R that began leaking coolant in October 2020. At the time of service, the VW dealership confirmed a leaking coolant temperature control actuator caused the problem. Service technicians replaced the water pump assembly without issue, but it cost the plaintiff $1,340.82 in repairs.

Zhao’s Volkswagen Golf R had only 76,451 miles on the odometer, and some drivers might experience this problem sooner. A leaking water pump could also cause the engine to stop functioning while the car is in motion. Even if the driver pulled over, being stranded on the side of a highway waiting for a tow could be dangerous.

Cars from Volkswagen and Audi also aren’t cheap. For example, a new VW Golf R started at $39,785 when it debuted for the 2018 model year. Potentially defective equipment obviously hurts the vehicle’s value. The plaintiffs in this suit believe the automakers should adjust their vehicle prices accordingly.

Which vehicles have bad water pumps?

Several Audi and VW vehicles have plastic water pumps, but only ones with certain engines. 2015 to 2018 Volkswagen Golf and 2017 to 2019 Golf Alltrack models with a 1.8-liter engine could encounter this issue. 2015 to 2019 VW Golf SportWagen models could also have the 1.8-liter engine with the defective water pump.

The 2015 to 2019 VW Beetle and 2015 to 2020 Audi A3 might also have a potential water pump leak. These affected cars could have either a 1.8-liter or 2.0-liter engine. 

Every other car with the leaky pump on the lawsuit’s extensive list would have a 2.0-liter engine. This includes the Audi A4, A4 Allroad, A5, A5 Sportback, A6, and Q3. The Audi Q5, Q7, and A3 are also on the list, but not all-wheel-drive models. Only AWD versions of the Audi TT and TTS show up in the lawsuit.

The Volkswagen Arteon, Atlas, Golf R, GTI, and Tiguan could all have water pumps that leak. Model years for both the affected groups of Audi and VW cars span from 2015 to 2020.

Responses from Volkswagen

The plaintiffs are convinced Volkswagen knows about the issue but won’t fix it under the standard warranty. In addition, some pumps malfunction after the warranty has expired, making the coverage useless. The lawsuit also claims VW should be using aluminum instead of plastic to make the water pump.

Volkswagen settled a similar water pump lawsuit last year. However, the new lawsuit adds even more vehicles, claiming VW didn’t take responsibility for each car affected. So if you own any of these vehicles and have noticed leaking coolant, you might want to get it checked soon.

However, Volkswagen has yet to issue a recall for the problem, so expect to pay out of pocket if your warranty doesn’t cover it.


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