The defeat devices affected 1.2 million diesel cars in the UK
The defeat devices, installed to dupe emissions tests, affected 1.2 million diesel cars in the UK.
Limp mode is when a car almost completely loses power, resulting in juddering and rapid deceleration, often to speeds of around 20mph.
The BBC Watchdog probe follows Robert Sanderson, owner of a Volkswagen Group car who had elected to have the defeat device fix process completed on his vehicle.
He took his car to an independent garage prior to the fix, and testing showed good performance.
Testing at the same garage immediately after the fix flagged that part of the engine, the EGR valve, was working harder than it should be.
Mr Sanderson subsequently reported engine problems, including two instances of limp mode, whilst driving – and is now looking to have the defeat device fix removed.
This appears to contradict comments from Volkswagen UK Managing Director Paul Willis earlier this year to the Transport Select Committee that the ‘software fix’ has “no effect on real-world driving”.
Watchdog spoke to a number of consumers, who reported smooth running of their cars prior to the fix.
Limp mode is when a car almost completely loses power
Kirsty Blackwell, from Wiltshire, speaks to the programme and recounts her experience of limp mode after receiving the defeat device fix in February – driving her VW Caddy and travelling with her children and dogs at 70mph on the motorway.
Speaking within the programme, she said: “My children started to panic, because they didn’t know what was happening.
“It took a lot of concentration to get the car safely off the road, with lorries thundering past in the dark.
“It was a scary experience. And I don’t feel particularly confident with my car any more.”
Lisa Bryant-Jones, from Chepstow, also took her VW Passat in for the defeat device fix, and found that her car kept going into limp mode afterwards.
On one particular occasion when she was driving with her son on a dual carriageway the car went into limp mode and whilst Lisa was manoeuvring the car off the road, a lorry crashed into them.
She and her son were physically unharmed but both were shocked and the car was written off.
Ms Bryant-Jones said that she “will never buy another Volkswagen car again.”
Despite receiving thousands of complaints about engine problems after undertaking the ‘software fix’, Volkswagen maintains that there is no link between the repair procedures.
MP Louise Elman, who chaired the Transport Select Committee that questioned bosses earlier this year, said: “I was not at all satisfied with their answers, they are not credible.
“This is simply outrageous – Volkswagen should stop denying the problem they’ve created and put things right.”
Volkswagen said: “In the UK, the Volkswagen Group has implemented the technical measures in more than 720,000 vehicles and in over 5 million vehicles across Europe.
Volkswagen Group has implemented the technical measures in more than 720,000 vehicles in the UK
“To be clear, there is no systemic problem. The overwhelming majority of our customers have been fully satisfied.
“Implementation of the technical measures does not cause limp home mode to engage nor does it increase the incidence of limp home mode occurring.
“Limp home mode is a safety feature of our, and many other, vehicles. It is activated as a precaution if a vehicle experiences a fault.”
“Relevant authorities have confirmed that the technical measures have no adverse impact on the MPG figures, the CO2 emissions figures, engine output, maximum torque and noise of the affected vehicles.
“Nor does the implementation of the technical measures have a negative impact on the durability of the engine or the emission control system.
“Our customers are our number one priority and we are committed to investigating any complaints that are raised with a view to preserving customer satisfaction.
“If any of our customers do experience issues with their vehicle, whether or not they believe them to be related to the technical measures, they should call 08000 930049.”