— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to know if steering column problems in Volkswagen cars can cause the airbags to fail in a crash.
NHTSA opened the investigation into the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and CC models after complaints about steering wheel clock spring/steering column control module failures. The module is located inside the steering column and uses a ribbon cable to connect the steering wheel to the electrical system.
All of that should work seamlessly without interference to the steering wheel, horn, airbag and radio. A failure of the steering column control module can disconnect electrical devices related to the steering wheel, including the driver's side airbag.
Owners are reporting the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and CC experience steering column control module failures under normal driving conditions. The only warnings seem to be noise coming from the steering column and an airbag warning light illuminated on the dash.
The biggest concern is the possibility the driver-side airbag could easily fail in a crash.
The NHTSA investigation will determine if 30,000 model year 2012 Volkswagen Passat and CC cars should be recalled.