EPA Provides Information To Car Owners With Defective Emissions Devices

Friday, September 25, 2015

EPA has issued a list of questions and answers to vehicle owners with diesel cars that have defective emissions devices.

What happened?

    In September 2015, EPA issued a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen for producing and selling four-cylinder diesel cars that include a sophisticated software device that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have collaborated on testing these cars and have determined that vehicles on the road emit up to 40 times more pollution than emission standards allow.

What vehicles are affected?

  • Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
  • Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009-2014)
  • Beetle (MY 2012 – 2015)
  • Beetle Convertible (MY 2012-2015)
  • Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2015)
  • Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
  • Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
  • Passat (MY 2012-2015)

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What should I expect if I own an affected Volkswagen diesel vehicle?

    As the owner of an affected Volkswagen diesel vehicle, it is likely that you will receive a recall notice in the future. This notice will come from Volkswagen. It will provide you with information about the recall and with instructions about how to get your car repaired at no cost to you.  

Can I continue to drive my vehicle?

    Yes. These cars are safe and legal to drive. Owners do not need to take any action at this time.

Will EPA take or confiscate my vehicle?

    Absolutely not. EPA will not confiscate your vehicle or require you to stop driving. You will not be charged for any repairs made under any recall.

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Can EPA require Volkswagen to recall these vehicles?

    Yes. EPA has the authority under section 207 of the Clean Air Act to require a manufacturer to issue a recall when EPA determines that a substantial number of vehicles do not conform to EPA regulations.

Is EPA officially requiring Volkswagen to issue a recall now?

    No. EPA expects to compel VW to issue a recall in the future to reduce the emissions impacts of these vehicles. Owners will be notified of that recall once Volkswagen and Audi have developed a remedial plan and EPA has approved the plan. Manufacturers are given a reasonable amount of time to develop a plan to complete the repairs, including both the repair procedure and manufacture of any needed parts. Depending on the complexity of the repair and the lead time needed to obtain the necessary components, it could take up to one year to identify corrective actions, develop a recall plan, and issue recall notices.

Will I be required to have my vehicle repaired once it is recalled?

    That depends. Some states require proof that emissions recalls have been performed prior to issuing the vehicle registration. Even in states that do not have this requirement, it is important to have emissions recalls performed because without the repairs, your vehicle may be emitting harmful pollutants in excess of the federal emission standards. You are not responsible for repair costs related to an emissions recall.

I live in an area that requires periodic emissions tests. What happens if my car fails?

    It is unlikely that the presence of this device will cause your vehicle to fail. In fact, the defeat device was specifically designed to ensure that vehicles would pass inspection. The defeat device has been installed in the affected VW diesels since 2009. To date, EPA has no indication of any pattern failures with these vehicles during inspection and maintenance emission tests.

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How much will this cost to fix?

    Volkswagen will be required to implement corrective action at no cost to the owner.

Can I turn off the defeat device?

    No. The device is embedded in the software code that runs the engine control computer.

What pollutants are being emitted?

    Vehicles emit an array of pollutants. EPA standards control the allowable emission levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and certain toxic chemicals. The VW defeat device affects the way the NOx control system operates, resulting in higher NOx emission levels from these vehicles than from vehicles with properly operating emission controls.

How much more pollution is being emitted than should be?

    NOx emission levels are 10 – 40 times higher than emission standards.

Is this contributing to bad air quality in my city/area?

    All vehicles emit some pollution that, along with emissions from other sources, affects local air quality. Vehicles with high emission levels have a disproportionate impact. EPA emission standards are designed to protect local air quality and maintain clean and healthy air. The VW diesels with the defeat device do not comply with EPA emission standards.

Where can I get more information?


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