A Volkswagen wiring harness class action lawsuit alleges that several Volkswagen Atlas, Golf, Jetta, Tiguan and Taos vehicles may be prone to random braking. According to the lawsuit, faulty wiring harnesses result in random activation of automatic emergency brakes, windows opening and closing by themselves, and other vehicle defects.
The class action lawsuit alleges that these vehicles should have been recalled. Volkswagen told the Associated Press that it was aware of faults in the wiring harnesses of several VW Atlas vehicles. Not only that, many owners of 2019–2022 Volkswagen Atlas SUVs have submitted complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
We have compiled a sample of these complaints, which have prompted the class action lawsuit.
Please note that the complaints on the Volkswagen Atlas wiring harness issues have been edited for grammar and clarity.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas
In January 2022, the air bag system error light lit up at start-up and remained lit. A first-available dealer appointment was made for 1/28, two weeks away. During those two weeks, the car started to issue a burst of random alerts during cold startup – driver door contact switch failure, cruise control (ACC) failure, start/stop system failure, and the rear driver side window would roll down several inches. Shutting off and restarting the car solved these alerts. The car was inspected on Jan 28; the dealer confirmed a faulty wiring harness in the driver side door. They also confirmed the random alerts were the same cause. The dealer stated that the driver side air bag was nonfunctional, but the rest of the airbag system was OK. A replacement part was ordered with an estimated delivery of 2-3 weeks. As such, we chose to keep driving the car.
Over the ensuing weeks, the random alert sequence got more frequent and started to show an electronic parking brake alert and engage the parking brake at startup. It then began happening on later starts when the car was fully warmed and would resume after the car was shut off and restarted. Finally, the alerts started to happen while moving, and instead of just a single burst, became a continuing sequence. The alerts are a rapid-fire volley of warning dings/dongs and accompanying messages in front of the driver. At the same time, the rear driver-side window is moving and the door contact switch is clicking randomly in the driver’s left ear. It is a startling volley, which combined with the other weird sounds, is a disorienting and panic-inducing 360-degree assault on the senses. After no word from the dealer, I called on Mar 4 and was told the part was on a nationwide backorder, with no ETA. I did some research and found numerous reports of the problem getting worse over time and the parking brake engaging while moving. As our experience matches the trend, I feel the car is no longer safe and have parked it until it is repaired.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas
The rear window rolls down by itself with nobody touching any of the buttons. The light pops up on the dash and says “faulty electrical.” The vehicle was in motion, in the city. The vehicle will suddenly attempt to stop in the middle of a drive/middle of the road. Almost as if the emergency brake has been pulled, only nobody has touched it. The emergency brake light does come on. Again, in motion, on the highway (has happened a few times). Now, the remote start does not work.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas
Alerts of door being open, back windows then go down and parking brake engages out of nowhere. The Check Engine Light comes on and there is a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark. “Driver Door Contact Switch,” “Attention: Engine is Running,” “Fault Electronic Parking Brake,” and the Emergency Brake automatically engaging.
2021 Volkswagen Atlas
My car check engine light came on, the car stated beeping loudly, the automatic braking system slammed the brakes on for no reason repeatedly and the windows were going up and down by themselves. The only way to get the car to stop all of this was to turn it off, put it in park, and restart it, at which point, it would move forward a little bit before the brakes would slam on again and the beeping and windows would repeat. I had two children in the car and it was very unsafe, as the car kept stopping itself suddenly in city traffic. There was nothing wrong with the car before this all started. I took the car straight to the dealer where I was told they do not have the part to fix it (door harness) and they have no loaners to offer.”
2021 Volkswagen Atlas
The driver door contact switch and door harness is faulty, which triggers several errors while driving. The Lane-Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning does not work when this is happening. Additionally, when braking, the car has several alarms that chime repeatedly, including low coolant, driver door contact switch, electronic parking brake failure, hill start assist, and dynamic cornering lights. The car beeps nonstop while the brakes are applied and the car is at a complete stop. The parking brake also engages when the brakes are applied, making it very unsafe to drive. When I called the dealership to schedule an inspection, they reported that they don’t need to inspect the car because they know exactly which part is causing the problem, and ordered me the part. However, the part is on back order, so I’ve had to drive the car in this condition, as they will not put me in a rental. The dealership has informed me there is nothing else they can do, and Volkswagen customer care will not respond to my requests to discuss.
If you have recurring problems with your Volkswagen Atlas emergency braking system, your vehicle may be a lemon. Read more about your California lemon law rights. If you would like more information, complete the consultation form below to request a free consultation.
Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2015–Present vehicle models only.
However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states. To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our California Lemon Law Guide for more information.