• VW is recalling 271,330 Atlas SUVs in America after a fault was discovered with the passenger airbag wiring.
  • Owners of 2020-21 Atlas and 2020-24 Atlas Cross Sport models are being asked not to use the passenger seat if possible.
  • VW will replace the passenger occupant detection system sensor mat and harness.

In Greek mythology Atlas was condemned to hold up the sky for eternity. And now 271,000 Atlas SUV owners are being condemned to wait for what will probably feel like an eternity while VW technicians get around to fixing their faulty airbags.

The Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport are both being recalled because the passenger airbags might not inflate in a crash. But VW isn’t mailing owners until August 16, which is going to seem like a long way away if you’re reading this post in June.

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Okay, so the chances of you crashing are slim and the likelihood of the airbag not firing are equally svelte, but you can understand some owners not wanting to use the passenger seat until the fix is done. And VW itself is advising owners not to let passengers sit up front where possible.

Regular Atlas SUVs from 2020-21 and 2020-24 Atlas Sport Cross models are affected by the fault in a repeat of a similar recall issued on older models 16 months ago. The passenger occupant detection system in the front seats that controls when the airbag fires is linked to the seat heating equipment, and a contact fault in the wire has the potential to switch off the passenger airbag, even if there’s someone in the seat with their belt buckled.

 VW Tells 271,000 Atlas Owners Not To Use The Passenger Seat

Any defective Atlas will at least provide an audio-visual warning to let the driver know, sounding a chime, throwing an airbag warning light onto the cluster and showing an error message. VW says owners getting that message should head straight to a dealer. The fix involves replacing the passenger occupant detection system (PODS) sensor mat and wiring harness with improved parts.

VW recalled two Atlas SUVs last July over an unrelated airbag fault when it was discovered that some side impact bags had been incorrectly assembled.