VW recalls 679,000 cars for rollaway risk

Drivers may be able to remove the key while the car isn't in park.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2018 Volkswagen Jetta

Don't take the key out when you're not in park, please.


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 , 2015-2019 Golf GTI, 2012-2019 Beetle and , 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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