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On Thursday, February 22nd, Volkswagen announced a recall for 260,000 VW and Audi cars. The reason? Fuel leaking pasty a faulty pump can completely saturate the tank’s vapor recovery system and potentially start a fire. All this without a visible leak on the ground. Affected models include A3, Golfs, and even certain Jettas.

Recalls happen. From time-to-time, automakers receive enough complaints from dealerships and customers that they realize that a significant number of their vehicles have a manufacturing or design defect. They share all this data with the NHTSA and almost always volunteer to recall and repair the vehicles for free. I’ve written up many such instances. But to be honest, this specific case is worse than usual. Its a bit of a black mark on VW’s reputation for several reasons.

Audi's four-ring logo on the grille of a car.
Audi Logo | Dan Dennis via Unsplash

First of all, the problem is especially dangerous. Fuel can leak into what’s called the EVAP system and start a fire. You may smell a bit of gas when the tank is full. But you also may never see a leak.

Secondly, it affects a ton of vehicles. Almost everything VW or Audi built on the Golf chassis between 2015 and 2020. A quarter-of-a-million specific vehicles is a big recall.

Third, VW reported this issue way back in 2016. It actually recalled a bunch of these cars once. But it put in a factory fuel pump. Maybe it hoped few enough pumps were failing that no car would have the same problem twice. But guess what, the problem is cropping up again in “repaired” cars.

Finally, the timing of VW’s announcement is suspicious. Toyota announced three separate recalls that affect a total of 300,000 vehicles on Wednesday, February 21st. Analysts have long suspected that automakers will announce small recalls on the heels of another company’s big recall announcement to limit damage to their stock prices. But that means that VW considers this a “small” recall that it wants to trivialize, and that it has probably been sitting on this information for a while.

Here are the specific years and models that VW has announced are involved in the recall:

  • 2015-2020 VW Golf
  • 2015-2020 VW Golf GTI
  • 2018 VW Golf Sportwagen GP
  • 2018-2019 VW Golf Sportwagen A7
  • 2015-2017 VW Golf Sportwagen
  • 2019-2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
  • 2015-2020 Audi A3 Sedan
  • 2015-2019 A3 Cabriolet

If you are curious about open recalls on your vehicle, you can always call you local dealership and read them your VIN. You can also call the NHTSA’s toll-free hotline at 888-327-4236.

Next, read more about how automakers announce recalls at the same time, or see some ways to diagnose a fuel leak in your car in the video below:

Related Recall Alert: 280,000 Toyotas May ‘Creep Forward’ in Neutral

Recall Alert: 280,000 Toyotas May ‘Creep Forward’ in Neutral