Volkswagen Recalls Jetta for Ignition Problems
The feds are telling Wolfsburg to recall about 47,000 Jetta sedans in this country, all from the 2019 and 2020 model years, thanks to an issue in cars with the old-school ignition switch.
Unlike the ignition switch debacle at General Motors all those years ago, this problem seems to be exacerbated by temperature and not having five hundred souvenir key rings hanging from the tumbler. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, examples of these vehicles from this time frame whose fires are lit with an old-school key, a part described as a ‘polyfuse’ can fail, particularly when the vehicle is operated in high-temperature environments. If this happens while driving, the engine could stall and flummox the electrical system, increasing the risk of a crash.
Seeking more detail, a quick search informed this author that a polyfuse is exactly what it says on the tin – a type of fuse made from polymer. Apparently, these fuses are popped at high temperatures (which is in line with conditions in which the VW’s fault occurs as described by the NHTSA) such as in an overcurrent situation. This would be exacerbated by high ambient temps. However, the polyfuse composition means it doesn’t have to be replaced like a regular fuse; once conditions go back to operating norms, the polyfuse should work like normal again. The more you know.
Back behind the wheel of the offending VWs, may also see a brace of warnings appear in their instrument cluster if their car is affected, preferably showing up at idle instead of highway speeds: The first reads "Ignition switch off, safely stop the vehicle", while the other states "Starter system faulty, please service vehicle.” While affected model years are 2019 and 2020, documents suggest production dates range from September 2018 to December of the next year.
Dealers were notified on the first of this month and owners should receive official comms on the matter in late October. As for a fix, VW plans to simply replace the entire ignition switch.
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