Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 679,027 vehicles with automatic transmissions and keyless entry because “a build-up of silicate on the shift lever micro switch contacts may enable the key to be removed from the ignition when the transmission shift lever is not in Park.” ZF supplied the potentially deadly shift lever.
Affected are 2015-2019 GTI, 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Golf, 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen and 2011-2018 Jetta vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, manual handbrake and keyless entry. Volkswagen has been aware of the problem since July of 2018, but was silent about the number of complaints, accidents, injuries or fatalities.
Over time, a build-up of silicate on the shift lever micro switch contacts can result in an isolation-like layer that may be interpreted as an open micro switch. This open switch normally indicates that the shift lever is in “P” park position. If the build-up happens, it may be possible to remove the key from the ignition switch without the shift lever being in the “P” Park position because the system isn’t able to recognize that the vehicle is not in “P” Park. This makes the vehicle non-compliant with FMVSS 114 – theft protection and roll-away prevention.
To remedy this potentially deadly defect, a new switch (located outside of the gear shift lever from Recalled Component: housing) and an additional control unit will be installed. Additionally, the micro switch at the shift lever (already present in the vehicle) will be disabled. Part number of the remedy part is: 5Q0.713.128.A.
Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional switch and circuit board, free of charge as required by U.S. regulations. The recall is expected to begin 11 October 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen’s number for this recall is 37M2.
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.