The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2020-2021 Atlas Cross Sport are being recalled due to an unexpected airbag deployment problem. In total, VW is bringing back 54,429 cars. Of those, 35,449 are from the Atlas population and 18,980 are Atlas Cross Sports.
The issue stems from air conditioning drain tubes that were not manufactured properly, causing them to be blocked. If a tube becomes blocked, water will then leak inside the vehicle and come into contact with the airbag module. VW goes on to say that if water leaks onto the control module, it could cause system malfunctions, the worst of those being a random airbag deployment. Yes, that means the airbag could go off at any time, if all of the above stars line up.
Volkswagen doesn’t say that it will in every circumstance, but the airbag warning light might illuminate if a malfunction of the module is detected.
Volkswagen’s fix will involve an inspection of the drain tube and a repair of the tube if necessary — VW says that it expects less than 1% of the recalled population to be affected. If the tube repair is necessary, VW will also replace the airbag control unit with a new one. As with any recall, all of the work will be done free of charge to the customer.
Recall documents say to expect to receive a notification around Jan. 14 if your Atlas is part of the recalled population.