Volkswagen (VW) is to recall over one million British cars that have been affected by the company's emissions cheat scandal, the company announced on 7 October. Last month VW suspended the sale of more than 4,000 vehicles in the UK over fears that they could be fitted with a software used to cheat the emission tests, similar to the one that has been used in the United States. The scandal forced VW CEO Martin Winterkorn to resign.
The company has now launched a self-service checking system for people to find out whether their cars have been affected by the emissions scandal. VW vehicle owners can take matters into their own hands by visiting the company's website and following a few simple steps to verify that their car is not breaking legal emission allowances.
Vehicles likely to be affected by the scandal
Not all VW vehicle owners will be at risk, however. Globally 11 million cars are said to have the software to cheat emissions tests and it is worth checking if yours falls into this category. In the UK, this is the number of models affected from each brand:
Volkswagen Passenger cars: 508,276
Volkswagen Commercial vehicles: 79,838
If your vehicle was built between 2009 and 2015 and has a 189 EU5 diesel engine, it is likely to have been fitted with the emissions cheat software. An easy way to find out the engine type of your vehicle and when it was manufactured is by checking your V5C documents and service books. VW owners can also call the company's UK customer care hotline to confirm these details. Petrol models are not believed to have been affected by the scandal and Euro 6 diesel engines bought in 2015 could have also dodged the scandal.
Checking if your VW vehicle is at risk
The VW website prompts vehicle owners to input their VIN, which will then generate a message to let you know whether your car is one of the many to have been affected. Owners of VW Group cars will be notified immediately whether their model has been fitted with the EA 189 engine and is subject to a recall. VW have said that affected customers will be contacted directly to begin the process of having their vehicle corrected. Skoda, SEAT and Audi have also set up self-service verification websites.
Finding your Vehicle Identification Number
VIN numbers are included in your service booklet but you can also find it on the bottom-left hand side of your windscreen by looking in from the outside. Some vehicles also have the VIN number printed on next to the passenger's seat, visible when the door is open. VIN numbers follow this format: WVWZZZ1JZXW000010.
What to do if your vehicle has been affected
The VW Group has said that it will start recalling cars affected by the EA 189 engine in January 2016. Until then, cars are safe to drive and owners are under no legal obligation to take action to get their car fixed. However, the Department for Transport has said that it would be "in their interest to do it".