Volkswagen is now recalling gasoline-engined models but not to address emissions, unlike the recent uproar over diesel engined vehicles.
The recall centres on a faulty camshaft lobe that could shear off, resulting in a loss of vacuum pump power that will affect braking performance. The loss of power to the vacuum pump will result in loss of vacuum supply to the brake booster and an increase in the necessary power needed to apply the brakes. That could result in the driver not properly applying the brakes in an emergency situation, and a resulting crash. Volkswagen is not aware of any injuries resulting from the problem.
The recall affects 91,800 North American cars (17,240 of them in Canada) from the 2015 and 2016 model years. All of them use the turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine or 2.0-litre turbo “four.” Those engines were installed in Beetles, Beetle convertibles, Golfs, Golf wagons, Jettas and Passats. A stop-sell order has been issued for new cars still on dealership lots.
Volkswagen will alert potential owners to the problem around Christmas and advise them to attend the nearest dealership in the spring for repairs. The company doesn’t have the parts available to make repairs to all affected cars, but if the problem progresses to the point where a repair is immediately needed, the company will repair the car with available parts.
Owners are thus urged to be attentive to deteriorating performance. An early indication that something may be wrong, before braking performance deteriorates, is that the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) will come on.