VW Recalls 679,000 U.S. Vehicles Over Rollaway Risk

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

On Friday, Volkswagen Group announced the recall of 679,000 U.S. vehicles that could roll away due to an electrical problem. Apparently, silicate buildup can accumulate on the shift lever micro switch and trick the car into thinking the vehicle is in park.

As a result, some customers might be able to remove their key before the car has actually been made stationary — creating problems among the highly inattentive.

Documentation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the recall covering a bevy of VW models manufactured after 2011. Impacted autos include the 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, 2011-2018 Jetta, 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Volkswagen Golf, 2015-2019 Golf GTI, and 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen. All affected vehicles will have automatic transmissions.

While we doubt the defect will catch out anyone with a little experience in vintage trash, some drivers may not expect a key to even be capable of coming out of the ignition before a car has been fully immobilized. Fortunately, VW claims it isn’t aware of any injuries relating to the issue and noted that some models could produce warning sounds or error messages that help tip the driver off that something’s not right.

The fix involves installing an additional switch and circuit board, something VW dealerships will do free of charge once the recall gets rolling. Customers that previously had to repair their vehicle due to the flaw will also be eligible for reimbursement, even if the job was done while the car was out of warranty.

Expect customer notifications to begin after October 11th. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153) or go to www.safercar.gov and put in their VIN. Use NHTSA recall campaign code 19V615000.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Aug 26, 2019

    My wife and I had a recent Jetta rental - the one with the 1.4T engine - I was impressed enough with the mileage and handling (and legroom!) that I thought it would be a good city car to buy for her. With a manual... apparently. But I still fear the long-term mechanical worthiness though.

  • Turbo_awd Turbo_awd on Aug 26, 2019

    If I'm understanding this correctly - you could turn off the car and pull the key without being park, thus leaving the car in drive or neutral, which might cause issues? But, if you actually put it in Park, THEN shut it off, nothing strange should happen? I.e. the problem is in a "nanny" circuit that shouldn't impact any driver actually paying attention?

  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??
  • Slavuta "There’s also the problem of climate change, and the more intense weather that comes along with it"How could one even write something like this? We don't have more intense weather. We have better weather. When Earth started, it was a fiery ball. We don't know what weather was in 1700. And even if we know some of it in Europe, we don't know what was happening in Africa, South America, Oceania, etc. We have people living in places where they did not live before. We have news that report weather related events minutes later or during. This did not happen before. There is no evidence that we have an increase in intensity. I looked into historical records in the area where I live - there is not much movement at all between 1970 and now. And remember - none of the previous weather predictions have materialized.
  • VoGhost Very soon, every home will have a 240v outlet in the garage, which can function as your electric charger, just like a modern home has 120v electric outlets and light switches inside the house. This is where the market is going. You all would see that if you didn't have those oil soaked blinders on.
  • Slavuta "COVID-19 brought a level of brazenness behind the wheel"Covid 19 did not bring anything. This is people in charge brought everything we have today