VW, Audi recall SUVs for potential engine failure

More than 74,000 may have been built with defective connecting rods

Volkswagen and Audi have announced recalls of four models to address potentially defective engine components that may be prone to catastrophic failure. The campaign covers the 2022-2023 VW Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport models along with the 2021-2023 Audi Q5 and Q5 Sportback. In total, the population is more than 74,000 vehicles. The VW/Audi recall notice calls out connecting rods produced for the base engine (VW's ubiquitous 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder) as the culprit. Rods produced outside of factory specifications can cause unbalanced engine operation, which will likely lead to catastrophic engine failure if not immediately addressed. 

"Deviations in the mechanical production process of the connecting rods may have caused an increased particle occurrence in the engine oil circuit, which may lead to extensive wear and play and result in damage to the connecting rod bearings," the defect notice to NHTSA said. "A connecting rod bearing with continuously rising bearing play leads to excessive engine noise. If the excessive engine noise and engine warning light is ignored and the vehicle continues to be driven, this condition may result in engine failure, potentially causing a loss of motive power while driving, and in rare cases a loss of engine oil which may pose a risk of a vehicle fire," it said. 

VW and Audi say that any vehicles built after Oct. 6 of this year should be free of this defect, as new processes were put in place to control quality at the suppler who builds the connecting rods for these engines. A test is being developed that can identify failing engines prior to any symptoms, and the permanent fix (as described by the manufacturer) is a complete engine replacement. VW/Audi say that all affected models are currently still under warranty, so no reimbursement program is necessary. Notices to owners should be distributed in December. 

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