Volkswagen has issued a recall of 16,207 units of the 2023 ID.4, the fourth such safety action in the past six months. This time it’s about outside door handles that can allow water inside the door assembly. If the water reaches the circuit board in the handle and shorts it out, VW’s Defect Notice says this might “cause a situation where a vehicle door could open unexpectedly when the vehicle is subject to high lateral forces at speeds below 9 mph.” The compromised board would suffer “communication issues between the door handle and the door control unit” that lead to the control unit “signaling an open command” to the door.
There’s no indication of what “high lateral forces” means; our guess is that a sudden change of direction to grab an empty spot in a parking lot might do it. Whether that’s the case, doors opening on moving cars with passengers inside is not ideal. It’s possible occupants might become aware of the issue due to the clicking sound of a door being locked or unlocked.
Affected vehicles were built from March 3, 2022, to March 16, 2023. As of March 20, 2023, the door handle supplier switched to a revised production process for the inner membrane.
Automaker engineers haven’t settled on a fix yet. Dealers have already been informed, while initial letters to owners will begin going out on May 26. A second round of letters will go out to owners once the fix is in. Until then, owners can contact Volkswagen customer service at 800-893-5298 and refer to internal recall number 57J4. They can also get in touch with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 (TTY 800-424-9153), or go to www.nhtsa.gov, and look up campaign number 23V213.
A smaller subset of these same owners of 2023 ID.4s should also be aware of the recall over the 12-volt battery cable. This problem is thought to affect just 1,042 units of the rear-wheel-drive ID.4, but it’s serious enough for NHTSA to warn that these vehicles should be parked outside and away from structures due to fire risk. In some models, the 12-volt battery charging cable is in contact with the steering column. Repeated rubbing on the column will cause the cable insulation to wear down, potentially causing the system to short-circuit. Letters were sent to owners at the end of February noting VW’s internal recall number 97HA and the NHTSA campaign number 22V956.