Audi is recalling over 50,000 midsize sedans and wagons due to a potential risk of power loss in the event of liquid spills in the back seat. A gateway control module under the back seat of the 2019-2022 Audi A6 and A7 could cut power to the engine if a spill in the rear seeps into the electronics, and the unexpected power loss creates a crash risk, according to Consumer Reports.
The recall affects a total of 50,883 Audi sedan and wagon models, including the 2019-2022 Audi A6 and A7, the 2020-2022 Audi S6, S7 and A6 Allroad, and the 2021-2022 Audi RS6 Avant and RS7. The Audi A6 sedan is most prone to the water damage (or any liquid, for that matter) with a total of 32,585 A6 models included in the recall.
The gateway control module lacks a protective cover, as outlined by a NHTSA report. These modules have a failsafe that switches off the control unit in case of incorrect or erratic readings, such as those produced by short circuits in the system. Liquids could make the system short circuit, triggering its safety shutdown and forcing the engine into an emergency mode with reduced power. In this mode, “the vehicle remains steerable and the brake system is fully operable,” per NHTSA.
Audi tells NHTSA that it’s found 46 claims that could be related to the issue, which date as far back as July of 2019 through October of 2022. None of these claims have been associated with any crash or injures.
Audi issued a similar recall in 2021 that affected nearly 300,000 SUV models, including the Q5 and SQ5. The difference in that recall was that the issue wasn’t isolated to liquid spills in the back seat but could be caused by heavy rain or by driving through deep water. The issue was resolved by adding a protective cover to the module at Audi dealerships and during SUV assembly, meant to shield it from liquids.
Audi is going to resolve the issue in this latest recall the same way: the carmaker will tell dealers to install a protective cover over the control module in affected vehicles, all of which were assembled prior to April of 2022; these protective covers will also be installed in certain Audi models going forward.
Audi will start notifying owners by the end of January in 2023, but owners can track the recall by using NHTSA’s VIN tool. Or by using NHTSA’s SaferCar app, available here. You can also look into recalls by following our recall guide here.