How will Volkswagen’s “dirty diesel” recall impact your vehicle?
One unknown for Volkswagen diesel owners is how their vehicles will perform after the required recall fixes their engines. According to EPA, under normal driving the 2009-2015 models covered by the recall have been operating at 10 to 40 times the level of NOx (oxides of nitrogen) allowed under the law. Volkswagen will be required to make changes to the vehicles to ensure that the vehicles always operate within the legal limit. Three possible results are reduced fuel economy, reduced power, or both.
Consumer Reports had previously included two of the affected vehicles, the Jetta and Passat, on its coveted “recommended” list. Yesterday Consumer Reports yanked those two off the list, saying, “These recommendations will be suspended until Consumer Reports can re-test these vehicles with a recall repair performed. Once the emissions systems are functioning properly, we will assess whether the repair has adversely affected performance or fuel economy.”
Volkswagen’s alleged cheating (which EPA says it has admitted to), had some benefit to VW, or it would not have done it. One possibility it is that the cars had a performance benefit by not complying with the mandated levels of emissions. The second is that the vehicles may have had a fuel economy benefit by running dirty. Both performance and also fuel economy may be impacted by the required changes. Although the customers are allowed to drive these vehicle at 10 to 40 times the legal emissions limit until a change is implemented, customers will have to have them fixed at some point. In California, and the other ten states that follow its guidelines, owners of the “dirty diesels” may have a problem at the department of motor vehicles. The DMV “…may not allow the buyer to register the vehicle, and current owners may not be allowed to renew their registrations, until all the emission recall work has been completed.” According to Consumer Reports.