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If you want a hot hatch in the US right now, Volkswagen is the strongest game in town. It might’ve discontinued the regular Golf, but the Golf R and GTI are still here. And they just got redesigned for 2022 in Mk8 form. However, while these VWs are indeed hot hatches, that doesn’t mean they should be literally hot. Yet that’s exactly what a new Volkswagen recall says is happening.

Volkswagen recalls 2022 Golf GTI and R because loose engine covers make these hatches too hot

A black-covered EA888 Evo4 engine used in the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R
EA888 Evo4 engine used in the 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R | Volkswagen

As part of their 2022 redesign, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and R have new versions of their previous engines. They still use VW’s 2.0-liter ‘EA888’ turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it’s now in ‘Evo4’, i.e. ‘Gen 4’ guise. That means more power and torque for both hot hatches. But for a select number of cars, the engine also carries an increased risk of fire, hence this recent Volkswagen recall.

According to the announcement, some 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and R engine covers could come loose during driving. Specifically, “during…’driving maneuvers with extreme high accelerating forces,’” Car and Driver reports. In other words, when you’re driving a hot hatch like a hot hatch. And if the engine cover comes loose, it might land on something hot, for instance, the turbocharger.

Since the engine cover is made of plastic, the turbocharger’s heat might melt it. And not only could that damage the turbocharger, but it might also cause a full-on engine fire. So, to keep that from happening, Volkswagen is recalling affected 2022 Golf GTIs and Rs.

As of this writing, Volkswagen lists 4269 cars in the recall notice: 3404 Golf GTIs and 865 Golf Rs. Owners should be getting recall notices in the mail starting May 13, Car and Driver says. But, if you’re understandably worried that your R or GTI is affected, check your VIN using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) online tool.

How is Volkswagen going to fix this 2022 Golf GTI and R problem?

Usually, you should leave recall work to the dealership. There’s a wrinkle in with this Volkswagen recall, though.

VW is working on a redesigned engine cover that won’t have this problem, but it’s not ready yet. But because it rightfully recognizes that engine fire risks are no joke, it has a temporary fix: remove the covers. Volkswagen even started building 2022 Golf GTIs and Rs without engine covers back in February to avoid complications, Car and Driver reports. Future cars will have the redesigned engine cover, though.

So, where does that leave afflicted owners? For now, Volkswagen asks that they bring their cars to official dealerships so technicians can remove the engine covers. However, if you notice a burning smell coming from the engine, shut the car off and pull over as safely as you can. Once the car has cooled off and the situation is safe, you can either call the dealership or try to remove the cover yourself. If you do remove it, take it to your local VW dealership for disposal.

Does this recall mean these VW hot hatches are unreliable?

Now, this isn’t the first time the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s had some engine problems. The Gen 2 version of the EA888 engine is notoriously troublesome, suffering from timing chain issues, excessive oil consumption, and even camshaft failure. And its failure-prone water pump earned Audi and Volkswagen a lawsuit.

However, it’s not unusual for first-year models to have some manufacturing glitches. Furthermore, the EA888 has evolved significantly since its Gen 2 days. In addition, as of this writing, there are no reports of any 2022 Golf GTIs or Rs catching fire. And while the 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is flawed, it’s also a great hot hatch, as is the 2022 GTI.

Still, if your R or GTI is part of the recall, just take it easy until the cover’s off.

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