Volkswagen Group is recalling 224,704 vehicles for problems relating to tire pressure sensors. The recall affects certain VW and Audi models, which could have failing sensors that don't register a loss of pressure in a very odd, specific circumstance. As such, these vehicles fail to meet National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) motor vehicle safety standards.
Specifically, the recall applies to certain 2019, 2020, and 2021 models including:
2019 VW Tiguan LWB
2019 VW Golf Sportswagen A7
2019 VW Golf Alltrack
2019 VW Golf R GP
2019 Audi Q3
2019 Audi A3 Cabriolet
2019-2020 VW Jetta NF
2019-2020 VW Jetta GLI
2019-2020 VW Golf GTI
2019-2020 VW Atlas
2019-2020 VW Golf A7
2019-2020 Audi A3
2020-2021 VW Atlas Cross Sport
2020-2021 VW Atlas FL
The wording of the recall is a bit odd, so bear with us. There's no mention of possible tire damage or blowouts relating to the problem, but rather, how the sensors detect such situations. In a letter to the NHTSA, VW says the problem "does not pose an unreasonable safety risk, as every puncture (meaning a rapid tire pressure loss), as well as a diffusion (meaning a long-term pressure loss on multiple tires), will be detected."
Gallery: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI: First Drive
According to the recall, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in these vehicles "may not detect an air pressure loss in adequate time when deflating occurs among all four tires simultaneously." It's a strange situation for sure, as a driver probably wouldn't need sensors to know all four tires have deflated at the same time. But the condition is enough to cause these vehicles to fail in the eye of the US government.
A deeper dive into the recall shows that affected vehicles apparently had a hardware/software combination installed that included a specific brake control unit. As such, the fix is a simple software update to the TPMS, which will be performed by VW dealers free of charge.
VW will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles by December 2022. Owners may also call VW customer service at 800-893-5298 or Audi customer service at 800-253-2834.