VW And Audi Need to Put the Pedal to the Metal Regarding Ignition Coils
|Ask Craig your
question! Craig Thor Kimmel is a nationally recognized automotive
consumer advocate and managing partner of Kimmel & Silverman, P.C., the nation's
largest lemon law firm. For more information on automotive consumer issues,
I have a 2001 Passat and have had to bring the car in three times
due to my ignition coils shorting out. My car is still in the shop,
as the dealer is waiting for parts. I know the VW had identified
this problem, but is there anything I can do?
--Sarah Buffalo, NY
A: Yes, Sarah, there is something you
Unfortunately, you are not the only
one going through this problem. Volkswagen of America, Inc. and Audi
of America, Inc. have recently announced a customer service action
that will ultimately replace the ignition coils in 530,000 cars that
have been experiencing a higher-than-normal failure rate. This
affects 2001, 2002 and early 2003 models with certain engines. While
the manufacturer is taking action, it is important that consumers to
educate themselves on their rights. Many drivers may be entitled to
a new car or full or partial refund under State Lemon Laws and the
Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.
Ignition coils provide electricity to
the engine's spark plugs during operation. If the ignition coil
fails, a check engine light will come on. The vehicle may become
rough, the engine will lose some power and the car should be taken
to an authorized dealer for repair. Audi and Volkswagen are
currently notifying all customers potentially affected and are
initially replacing those ignition coils that fail at no cost.
The newly announced customer service
action, replacing all ignition coils whether they fail or not, will
happen in the coming months. In order to minimize inconvenience to
customers during repair, Volkswagen and Audi dealers will offer
alternative transportation at no cost.
As a result of this ignition coil
failure, many of these consumers have already been to the repair
shop several times in an attempt to fix this problem, or they have
been waiting over a month for parts to come in. Under the State
Lemon Laws and Federal Warranty Statutes, if a non-conformity of
this nature results in three repair visit while the car is covered
by warranty, the consumer may either be entitled to a new car of
full refund, under lemon law protection, or a partial refund and
continued ownership of the car for breach of warranty.
These laws also cover cars that are
in the shop for extended periods of time. The New Jersey Lemon Law,
for example, covers cars in the shop twenty days during the first
year, while the Pennsylvania Lemon Law covers cars in the shop for
thirty days. So, if you live in Pennsylvania, and your car has only
been in once, but it stayed there for 34 days, you are entitled to
seek a remedy under the Lemon Law.
The Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty
Act covers consumers who have taken their car in for three or more
repairs under the warranty for the same problem, but are outside of
the provisions defined by the Lemon Law. These consumers may be
entitled to a partial refund and continued ownership of the car.
Legal representation is cost-free under both the State and Federal
Vehicles affected in this action
include cars equipped with 1.8 liter engines, which includes the
Audi TT and A4; and the VW Golf/GTI, Jetta, New Beetle and Passat.
The companies also included the Passat W8 engine, all VW's equipped
with the 2.8 liter VR6; as well as the Audi 3.0 liter V6 engine. In
a press release issued February 4, 2003, Gerd Klauss, president and
CEO, Volkswagen of America, Inc, stated that "we know that some
ignition coils installed in our cars are not up to our high quality
standards, and we are determined to do the right thing for our
customers. That is exactly what we will do as soon as we have the
While I applaud VW and Audi for
taking this next step, it is important for consumers to know that
may be entitled to something much larger than just a fix if they
have been back and forth to the dealership in efforts to repair this
problem. Drivers should not be asked to wait one month or more while
these ignition coil parts arrive from another country.
The supplier is working triple shifts
and seven days a week to make as many new parts as possible.
Additionally, a second supplier has been activated. This action will
begin as soon as replacement ignition coil supply volumes will
If you have been in the shop three or
more times for this problem, or your car has been in the shop for
long period of time, make sure that you educate yourself on your
If you live in Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Delaware or New York, you can visit our website www.lemonlaw.com
for more information on how to apply your consumer rights. We also
have a special section about this problem at www.lemonlaw.com/volkswagen-audi-problems.html.
As you know, with our firm and several other consumer firms, if you
qualify for legal help, it is cost-free under the State and Federal
statutes. If you live in another state and you are going through
this problem, I suggest you visit www.lemonlawamerica.com,
a national website which provides information on Lemon Law statutes
and links to consumer attorneys across the nation.
Customers can also call VW Customer
Relations toll-free at (800) 822-8987 or Audi Customer Relations
toll-free at (800) 822-2834. However, it is highly unlikely that you
will be able to seek any sort of restitution without hiring a
consumer attorney. Safe driving!