There are a whole lot of components involved in a car's airbag system, and in a worst-case scenario, a faulty part might prevent an airbag from deploying or allow it to inflate at an incorrect time. That's the reason for Volkswagen's latest recall.
Volkswagen has issued a recall for 27,822 examples of the 2015-2016 Tiguan and 2015-2016 CC. The Tiguans were built between March 12, 2015, and Dec. 19, 2015, while the CCs in this recall carry build dates between May 6, 2015 and Dec. 17, 2015. Their VINs are not sequential.
The issue comes from the airbag control module, which in simple terms tells the airbag what to do and when. A faulty capacitor in this module can cause the airbag system to act incorrectly. Specifically, it might cause the airbags to deactivate, but it could also deploy the airbags,r the seatbelt pretensioners or both at an improper time. This can greatly increase the risk of injury, whether a crash is involved or not. The airbag warning light may illuminate, which will at least let the owner know something is amiss.
Volkswagen first received information from a single field case in late 2017. In 2018, the automaker received a second case from the field, and supplier ZF/TRW found that something was amiss. A third case was reported in late 2018, and after working further with ZF/TRW, Volkswagen decided the defect was worth a recall.
The remedy is a little more complex than usual. Upon receiving recalled vehicles at the dealership, technicians will flash the cars with a software update that is able to detect an increase in resistance within the module, which is what happens when the faulty capacitor in the module fails. If that increased resistance is found, technicians will replace the airbag control module. Volkswagen should be sending owners notifications via first-class mail by mid-September.