If you or someone you know owns a Volkswagen made in the last 10 years, it could be the subject of an important recall. Certain Volkswagen cars have been rolling away after they’ve been parked. While the automaker has no reports of injuries or fatalities from the problem, at least not yet.
Recalled models are 2011 to 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Golf GTI, Beetle, and Beetle Convertibles with an automatic transmission, no keyless entry, and a manual handbrake. If your car doesn’t have those three elements, you’re in the clear.
The problem is that due to a fault, drivers can remove their keys from the ignition while the car isn’t in park. If the transmission is left in neutral by accident, the car can then roll away, causing a serious accident. Of course, if people would use and maintain their parking brake, the danger wouldn’t be nearly as high, but let’s not ask too much.
According to an investigation launched by VW, the problem is silicate buildup on the shifter lever micro switch. This can lead to the transmission not engaging park. Recall notices are going out soon, with dealers preparing to install an additional switch and a new circuit board while disabling the micro switch that’s at the heart of the problem.