Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda are recalling a total of more than 80,000 cars with DSG dual clutch automatic gearboxes because some are slipping into “limp home” mode and can’t be restarted without the help of a mechanic armed with diagnostics equipment.
Customers will be contacted in the coming weeks and invited to bring their cars in for inspection or undergo repair work free of charge.
Volkswagen Australia said the DSG gearbox’s “pressure accumulator housing” could cause a loss of oil and pressure in the hydraulic system of the gearbox and “cause an interruption to power”.
“If this was to occur, audible and visual warnings would immediately signal that the car was about to go into ‘limp’ mode,” said a statement from Volkswagen Australia. “Once the ignition is switched off in this condition the car cannot be re-started except after attention by a qualified Volkswagen technician.”
Volkswagen Group Australia Director of Customer Experience and Marketing Jason Bradshaw said it was initially thought the potentially faulty part was confined to approximately 23,000 Volkswagens and Skodas, plus a number of Audis.
However, Volkswagen sought and obtained the approval of the Federal Government to implement a recall on an additional 40,000 cars because some require a visual inspection, as the potentially faulty part can’t be pinpointed solely by vehicle identifying numbers.
“While we know that some 23,000 vehicles may have this incorrectly manufactured component, we cannot be certain of identifying these by Vehicle Identification Number alone,” said Mr Bradshaw. “We want to physically examine them and those with a potentially faulty component can have it replaced.”
Under recall guidelines, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda would have been within their rights to treat the fault as a “field service campaign” and fix the cars during a routine service rather than a publicly announced safety recall.
However, Volkswagen said, “we decided that a recall better served the interests of clarity and communications with customers and the media. So Volkswagen Group Australia has taken this extra step.”
This is the second recall for an undisclosed number of the same batch of cars equipped with the same DSG gearbox.
In 2013, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda recalled about 26,000 examples of the above cars with the same “dry clutch” DSG gearbox codenamed DQ200.
However, that recall was for a separate issue and required the replacement of the DSG’s mechatronics units (the computer that controls the gearbox).
It is unclear how many of those initial 26,000 vehicles also have a faulty “pressure accumulator housing” involved in the latest recall, hence the need for individual inspection of more than 80,000 potentially affected cars.
“It is possible … some vehicles involved then might also be affected now,” said a statement from Volkswagen Australia.