The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2012 Audi A3, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Diesel Fuel Injector Line Leakage

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE11023

    Component(s): Fuel System, Diesel

    Summary: By letter dated October 3, 2011, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VW) notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will conduct a safety recall to address a defect in approximately 168,275 model year (MY) 2009-2012 Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Golf, and Audi A3 vehicles equipped with the 2.0L TDI Common Rail Clean Diesel engine (NHTSA Recall No. 11V-490).The recalled Jetta and Jetta Sportwagen vehicles were built from May 2008 through September 2011, the Golf vehicles were built from May 2009 through September 2011, and the Audi A3 vehicles were built from September 2009 through September 2011.According to Volkswagen, in U.S. applications of the above cited TDI vehicles including engine codes CJAA and CBEA, the fuel injection pulses could coincide with the natural frequency of the injector line #2 in specific load and RPM conditions.This resonance creates additional stress on the fuel line which a small number of parts (based on the statistic spread of line strength) cannot withstand over its lifetime.As a contributing factor, VW indicated that a supplier used tube material with scratch marks from a grinding process during certain production periods.Lines manufactured in these periods were installed in vehicles produced in the following 10 months:December 2008, January-February 2009, October 2009, March-April 2010 and September-December 2010.Injector lines using this material exhibit a significantly higher failure rate.Dealers will replace injector line #2 in all vehicles built in these months.In addition, as a precautionary measure, all recalled vehicles will have vibration dampers installed on all four fuel injector lines.Analysis of NHTSA complaints, VW complaints, VW field reports and warranty claims found allegations of injector line leakage in 443 subject vehicles.The leaking line was not identified in 62 of the vehicles.For the 381 that did provide information about which injector lines were leaking and/or replaced, 358 (94%) involved an injector line #2 leak/repair.Almost three-quarters of the injector line #2 leak/repair incident vehicles were built in the 10 months identified by VW, which accounted for approximately one-quarter of the recalled vehicles.The failure rate for injector line #2 in vehicles built in the 10 months affected by the supplier line scratching issue is 6.0 incidents per thousand vehicles (IPTV).The failure rate for injector line #2 in other production months of recalled vehicles is 0.8 IPTV.The leak/repair rates for the other injector lines are all well under 1 IPTV.The action taken by Volkswagen is sufficient to resolve the issues raised by this investigation. The agency will continue to monitor this issue and reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances. Accordingly, this investigation is closed.

  2. INVESTIGATION: High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA11003

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: February 07, 2011
    • Date Closed: March 27, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Diesel
    Fuel System, Other:Delivery:Fuel Pump

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investgation (ODI) opened EA11-003 on February 7, 2011, based on 160 complaints to ODI and Volkswagen involving high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) failures in model year (MY) 2009 through 2010 Volkswagen Jetta and Golf and Audi A3 TDI vehicles and questions regarding fuel sample results provided by Volkswagen as part of its response to PE10-034.During EA11-003, ODI analyzed design information, field experience and test data for MY 2009 through 2012 Volkswagen Jetta, Golf and Touareg and Audi A3 and Q7 vehicles equipped with TDI engines. Volkswagen has not identified any design or manufacturing defects in the subject TDI Clean Diesel pumps and has stated that the subject pumps were designed, tested and approved for use in the United States market, with substantial design margins for fuels that are out of specification.Volkswagen believes that misfueling with gasoline is the primary cause of HPFP drivetrain failures in the field.Only the Q7 vehicles were built with misfuel protection devices.In May 2013 Volkswagen initiated a service campaign to install misfuel protection devices in all MY 2009 through 2012 Jetta, Golf and A3 vehicles.Volkswagen implemented misfuel protection devices in all of the subject models beginning in MY 2013. ODI-s analysis of HPFP drivetrain failure incidents indicates that most failures do not result in engine stall while driving and, when pump drivetrain failure does result in stall while driving, it is usually preceded by numerous warning symptoms (e.g., glow plug warning lamp, chime, limp mode, and driveability symptoms).The failure data for the subject vehicles show relatively low stalling rates (less than one percent at three years in service) for each of the pump designs used in the subject vehicles.There have been no reports of crashes, injuries or fatalities related to the alleged defect. Based on these facts, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.For additional information, see the closing report in the document file for EA11-003.