You want to assume that your vehicle is pretty safe. You probably also assume that it was designed in a way so it wouldn’t fall apart or suddenly fail. This, sadly, is not always the case, and recalls are then issued to address these issues. Recently, some Audi owners have discovered coolant pump problems serious enough to lead to a class-action lawsuit. Here’s what we know about the suit and the settlement that’s currently underway.
Defects in the Audi coolant pump of certain vehicles
In June 2021, a settlement was reached in the class action lawsuit against Audi (Sager et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-13556). The lawsuit charged that “turbochargers were affected by defects in the electric coolant pumps,” says CarComplaints. If the coolant pump overheated, it could start a fire in the vehicle, which would be really dangerous. In addition, turbocharger failure could also lead to engine failure.
The defective coolant pumps are installed in some, but not all, of these models:
Owners can check their car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at Coolant Pump Settlement, the class action lawsuit settlement website, to see if it is included in the settlement.
The class action lawsuit against Audi
According to the lawsuit, Audi found out about the problem with the coolant pumps by 2016, at the latest. Audi had announced a recall in January 2017. As part of this recall, mechanics checked the coolant pump and turned off its power supply if the pump had a blockage from debris. While this effort was intended to prevent the coolant pump from overheating and causing a fire, the lawsuit says it didn’t correct the issues.
Audi announced a second recall in April, but redesigned coolant pumps weren’t available until November 2018. Dealers did install replacement coolant pumps as necessary until the redesigned ones became available.
While the Audi owner who filed the class-action lawsuit didn’t have a problem with his coolant pump, he filed because of the long delay in redesigned pumps. The lawsuit says that Audi should have given owners and lessees free vehicles to use until the redesigned coolant pumps were ready to be installed.
Volkswagen, Audi’s parent company, “denies all claims of wrongdoing and maintains there is nothing wrong with the vehicles and no warranties were breached,” reports Car Complaints. However, the case has now been settled, so it doesn’t have to go to court.
The settlement terms of the class-action lawsuit
Under the terms of the class-action lawsuit settlement, certain Audi owners are eligible to have the warranty extended on their vehicle’s turbocharger (but not on the coolant pump). Four different categories can qualify. The four categories are connected to which recalls have or have not already been performed on the Audi vehicles as of April 12, 2021, and how long the turbocharger warranty will be extended. See the class action lawsuit settlement website for more information.
If an Audi owner did have to pay to repair or replace the coolant pump before September 14, 2018, the owner could be reimbursed once the settlement is final. Work done at an Audi dealership can be fully reimbursed, while work done at an independent service center can be reimbursed up to $542. Additionally, Audi owners may be able to request reimbursement if a rental car was needed while recall work was done on their vehicle’s coolant pump.
The final fairness hearing was held on June 16, 2021, and the final day to file a claim was June 26, 2021. If the court approves the settlement, owners don’t need to do anything to receive warranty extensions but will need to submit any claims before the due date for any reimbursements.