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Vokswagen recalls 420,000 vehicles for faulty airbags

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Martial Trezzini/Keystone/AP/File

(Read caption) The Volkswagen Golf GTI is shown during the press day at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva. A Volkswagen recall of 420,000 US vehicles includes several models, including Golf cars manufactured between 2011 and 2014.

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Volkswagen has issued a massive recall for 420,000 CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Passat, and Tiguan vehicles registered in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of those models could suffer from a flawed component that may prevent a driver-side airbag from deploying during an accident.

The component in question is the steering wheel clock spring, which was manufactured by Valeo Interior Controls, based in Germany. The clock spring is a cable that keeps power running to the driver-side front airbag as the steering wheel is being turned. If something should happen to the cable, the performance of the airbag is put in jeopardy.

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Unfortunately, that's what may be happening. As NHTSA reports:

The steering wheel clock spring could become contaminated with long hair or long fibers which may cause a displacement of the internal guide loops. When the guide loops are dragged out of position, they may apply tension to the internal flat cable and cause it to tear. Should the cable tear, the electrical connection to the driver's front airbag may be lost, causing the airbag monitoring indicator light to illuminate. In a crash that warrants a driver front airbag deployment, the airbag may not deploy, leading to a risk of driver injury.

The good news, as you can see there, is that if this becomes a problem in yourcar, you'll get a heads-up from the airbag monitoring light.

The bad news is that Volkswagen hasn't yet identified a fix for the problem. Also bad news: the problem could affect a lot of cars, including:

  • 2010-2014 Volkswagen CC
  • 2010-2013 Volkswagen Eos
  • 2011-2014 Volkswagen Golf
  • 2011-2014 Volkswagen GTI
  • 2010-2013 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2011-2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen
  • 2010-2014 Volkswagen Passat
  • 2010-2014 Volkswagen Tiguan

Unfortunately, that's about all we have to report at this time. If you have questions, you're encouraged to call Volkswagen customer service at 800-822-8987, or ring NHTSA at 888-327-4236 and ask about safety campaign #15V483000.