NHTSA Investigates 490,000 Volkswagen Passat Models Over Engine Compartment Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] has upgraded an ongoing investigation into the Volkswagen Passat with 4-cylinder turbo powerplants over reports of engine fires to include all sedans from the 2001-2007 model years and Wagons from the 2006-2007 model years. Last summer, the government agency had opened a preliminary examination into the 2002-2003 model year Passat amid concerns on fires caused by failing ignition coils. The upgraded investigation now covers some 490,000 VW Passats.

According to a document filed on the safety agency's web site, the Office of Defects Investigation [ODI] has received 14 complaints alleging that a fire started in the engine compartment of the vehicle that may be related to ignition coil failure, and 21 complaints of ignition coil failure that did not result in a fire. Volkswagen said it has received another 199 complaints for problems related to coil failures.

The reports received by the NHTSA state that the "vehicle hesitated or lost power, and the check engine or dashboard lights illuminated", and that "the vehicles were repaired by replacing the faulty ignition coil(s) while some of the complaints indicated that the ignition coils were replaced more than once".