US agency ends probe of VW fuel leaks without seeking recall

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s road safety agency has closed an investigation into fuel leaks in two Volkswagen SUV models without seeking a recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the probe in March after getting complaints about fuel injectors leaking in the 2018 through 2020 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs. The probe covered more than 196,000 vehicles with 3.6-liter engines.

The agency said in documents posted on its website today that its analysis of data found a relatively low failure rate, and no reports of any fires, crashes or injuries. Volkswagen’s analysis found that the vast majority of the leaks were into engine cylinders and not external. That could cause misfiring, but was not an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety, the agency said.

When it opened the probe, NHTSA said it had three complaints and 11 field reports alleging leaks near the fuel injectors. Some said fuel spewed from the engine compartment, creating the risk of a fire.