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VW Recalls 33,000 Golfs To Fix Worn Key Switch Problem

Volkswagen has recalled about 33,000 2015-18 Golfs to repair a problem with the ignition switch. It is possible that over time the contacts of the switch may become contaminated. This, in turn, can create a rollaway problem.

During the last couple of years, transmissions have made their share of news. For example, back in 2016, Fiat Chrysler Autos (FCA), a manufacturer of the Jeep, made its share of headlines when the transmission in Anton Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee remained in reverse when the actor ran out to do something. The unexpected result pinned Yelchin between the SUV and his driveway fence. He died instantly.

Young Actor Killed By Faulty Tranny

Part of the ensemble of young actors on the new Star Trek franchise, the 26-year-old actor was a victim of a software problem in the transmission. The problem with the monostable transmission is that there is no way to tell if the vehicle is in the setting that appears. For example, the car could be in Forward and Reverse was chosen and vice versa. And, there’s no way to tell that your Jeep isn’t correctly in Park, as well.

The reason for the problem is that the means chosen to set the proper gearing relies on a single-pole-double-throw switch. The driver selects the transmission setting and relies on the switch to set it. The problem is that unless you push the switch all the way home, there’s no way to ensure the vehicle is really in that gearing.

Likewise, the vehicle can remain in an incorrect gear, even though the driver has chosen the correct gear, which is what happened to Yelchin

FCA’s transmission problems have hit roughly 2 million vehicles and have resulted in another massive recall. FCA isn’t the only automaker involved; Ford recently recalled many Ford Fusion and Explorer models for a similar issue. Both solutions require software updates while FCA also added some hardware changes included better warning chimes and better hardware, as well.

Old-Fashioned Mechanical Failures

Sometimes, though, transmission problems are just the old-fashioned kind, the result of a problem with a key, for example. Volkswagen has recalled 33,168 Golf and Golf SportWagen models built from 2015-2018.

It seems that wear on the ignition key can result in the ignition key’s removal from the vehicle when it has not yet placed into Park. The result can be a vehicle rollaway, even though the indicator may say the Golf or Sportwagen it is Park.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the problem’s cause is key switch contamination.

VW Recalls About 33,000 Golfs

Volkswagen recalls 33,168 Golf (refer) and Golf SportWagen (refer) from 2015 through 2018 model years. It seems that in some cases the ignition key can be removed from the switch when the vehicle isn’t in Park. This can increase rollaway risks because the ignition switch comes out of the ignition switch accidentally. Removing the ignition key when it isn’t in Park can cause unexpected rollaways, says NHTSA.

The problem’s cause is contaminated ignition key contacts. The contaminated contacts, in turn, can keep the ignition key from setting up in the right gear and the result can be rollaway. The automaker was quick to remind drivers that Golfs and Sportwagens, equipped with push-button start, are not affected, the automaker said.

The fix, which VW dealers will take care of free of charge, is the installation of an extra switch and circuit board. The recall is expected to start on Sept. 8. Owners can obtain information from VW Customer Service at 800-893-5298. Or, you can contact the NHTSA through its Traffic Safety Hotline or on its website.

Finding All Recalls Possible

The internal safety campaign number for VW’s is 37L5. Or, if you do ask NHTSA for assistance, you must give the current campaign number, 18V464000. You can determine if there is more than one safety recalls on your vehicle. Just copy down the Vehicle Identification Number and enter it when prompted. The resulting readout indicates whether there are still open recalls on your vehicle.

Sources: Consumer Reports, research