Volkswagen is set to recall 679,027 cars as documents published with NHTSA on Thursday detailed a fault in the shift lever that poses a rollaway risk.
The affected vehicles include the 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Volkswagen Golf, 2015-2019 Golf GTI, 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen and 2011-2018 Jetta. Affected models are equipped with automatic transmissions, a manual handbrake and keyless entry. The vast majority of these are Jettas, at 541,376 cars recalled.
Per the NHTSA documents, silicate may build up on the shift lever micro switch. The components may identify this buildup as an open micro switch, which typically denotes the vehicle is in Park. Should this occur, drivers will be able to remove the key from the ignition without the vehicle actually being in Park. The build up of silicate becomes a false positive in this situation and any of the affected vehicles could roll away. Obviously, a rollaway risk increases the possibility of a crash and injury.
Volkswagen said some models may produce warning sounds or error messages while driving, which is a signal that the actual micro switch has failed.
For a fix, the German automaker said it will disable the micro switch already present at the gear lever. In its place, a technician will install an additional switch outside of the gear lever housing and another circuit board to ensure proper procedure. Since some of the cars may be outside of their factory warranty period, VW will also offer a reimbursement program for those that fixed the problem and paid out of pocket.
VW plans to begin notifying owners of the recall no sooner than Oct. 11.
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