- nhtsa filings state that late-model volkswagen beetle, golf, golf sportwagen, gti, and jetta models with physical ignition keys have an electrical switch defect within the gear selector.
- the cars can roll away only if a driver removes the key and does not shift into park.
- the newly announced recall expands on a 2018 recall for the same problem.
volkswagen is expanding a recall from 2018 to prevent drivers from removing the ignition key if their vehicles are not in park, according to filings with the national highway traffic safety administration (nhtsa).
the problem is electrical, a kind of issue that has plagued vw in the past, and relates to a defective switch contact in the gear selector housing. a silicate layer can form on the contact; and, because of higher resistance, prevent the switch from detecting whether the gear selector is in park. when that happens, the car might throw a warning message, issue a chime sound, or do nothing at all.
a total of 679,027 cars are affected in the u.s, including the 2011–2018 jetta, 2012–2019 beetle, 2015–2019 gti, 2015–2016 and 2018–2019 golf, and 2017–2019 golf sportwagen. however, only these models with automatic transmission, a manual-crank hand brake, and a flip-out metal ignition key—remember, the ones you used to stick in the steering column?—have the problem, vw said.
the company previously recalled 33,168 golf and golf sportwagen models in july 2018 and, through further testing, realized the problem extended to hundreds of thousands of extra cars. at this time, the company did not cite any injuries or accidents related to this defect.
as with that recall, the solution is rather extensive. dealers have to install a new switch inside the gearshift lever housing, disable the old switch without removing it, and connect a circuit board to the wiring harness that wasn't originally equipped on these cars. the board is supposed to limit the "current spikes" that were causing the problem, vw said. the company has made fixes to all current models in production and said it will begin notifying owners in mid-october.