Owners of Older Audis Should Check Twice for Airbag Recall

A clerical error meant that some recalled vehicles may not have shown up on government websites

By Keith Barry

About 28,000 owners of 1997-1998 Audi A4 sedans and 1998 Audi A8 sedans should check the government’s official recall website to see whether their car has an unrepaired airbag recall that could cause serious or fatal injuries to vehicle occupants.

These vehicles were already recalled in 2020. However, due to a clerical error, some of the recalled vehicles did not show up on the federal government’s recall website when owners looked up the car by make, model, and year. This problem has since been fixed.


So, if you own a 1998 Audi A8 or 1997-1998 Audi A4 sedan, check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall—even if you’ve already checked it before.

According to documents Audi provided to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the automaker was able to notify all owners of affected vehicles by mail by September of 2021. In addition, the correct vehicle identification numbers (VINs) were added to NHTSA’s database. However, recall notices often go unnoticed, and NHTSA estimates that only about two-thirds of recalls ever get fixed.

Learn more about how to make sure you never miss a recall.

The Details

Vehicles recalled: Some 1998 Audi A8 or 1997-1998 Audi A4 sedans

The problem: These vehicles were already recalled in 2020, but may not have been visible to owners who searched the government’s recall website by make, model, and year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an airbag component—known as a non-azide driver air bag inflator, or NADI—may allow too much moisture in, which could cause the airbags to deploy without enough force or with too much force to protect occupants in a crash. Both situations could cause serious injuries and death.

The fix: If owners have not already had a recall repair performed, dealers will check the recalled cars to determine whether they need their driver’s-side airbag inflators replaced.

How to contact the manufacturer: Owners may contact Audi at 800-253-2834. Audi says it will not be sending out an additional notice to the owners of these vehicles.

NHTSA campaign number: 22V471. The original recall number was 20V056.

Check to see whether your vehicle has an open recall: NHTSA’s website will tell you whether your vehicle has any open recalls that need to be addressed.

If you plug your car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s website and a recall doesn’t appear, it means your vehicle doesn’t currently have any open recalls. Because automakers issue recalls often, and for many older vehicles, we recommend checking back regularly to see whether your vehicle has had a recall issued.

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