Both Audi and Jeep are in the proverbial hot seat for sizable recalls regarding unrelated but similar failures of occupant detection systems to trigger airbags. In Audi’s case, it’s the front passenger at risk; in Jeep’s case, both the passenger and driver airbags, as well as knee airbags, are at fault.
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For the Audi recall, 208,300 affected vehicles include model-year 2017-20 A4 Allroad wagons and A4 sedans; model-year 2018-19 RS 5 coupes; model-year 2019 RS 5 Sportback coupes; and model-year 2018-20 A5 and S5 cabriolets, A5 and S5 coupes, A5 and S5 Sportback coupes, and S4 sedans. Specifically, the cable connecting the seat heater to the passenger occupant detection system may have a contact fault, causing the software to misdiagnose a malfunction and disable the passenger airbag.
Jeep’s recall involves some 99,300 examples of model-year 2021 Grand Cherokee L SUVs, plus model-year 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs. The recently introduced vehicles’ plight is similar: The occupant restraint controller may have incorrect software that can disable the driver, passenger and knee airbags without warning.
Though the Audi recall affects less airbags, its remedy is slightly more complex: Dealers will replace the connecting cable and either the heating mat or the entire seat cover. In Jeeps, dealers will simply reprogram the occupant restraint controller. In both cases, however, the work will be done for free.
Audi manufacturer Volkswagen will begin notifying owners Jan. 7, 2022, while Jeep parent Stellantis will begin notifying owners Dec. 30. If you have further questions, you can call Audi at 800-253-2834, Stellantis at 800-853-1403, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit its website to check your vehicle identification number and learn more.
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