Monthly Archives: June, 2006

VW Stuck in Park

I see from my server logs; I am starting to get hits on people searching for help with the same VW stuck in park problem I had. In hopes that this helps others out, I’m posting the steps I got from VW’s roadside assistance below. These instructions worked on my 2002 VW Golf GLS with an automatic transmission, but may or may not work on any other vehicle. And I make no claim that they are safe to use on any vehicle. So if you follow these instructions, you do so at your own risk!

  1. Press down on the break pedal 5 times.
  2. On the 5 time, hold down the break pedal and start the car.
  3. Let the car run for 5 seconds, while still holding down the break pedal, and then turn it off.
  4. Again while still holding down the break pedal, give the key a one quarter turn in the ignition.
  5. Still holding down the break pedal, move the gear shift so that it is between Neutral and Drive.
  6. Finally, with your foot holding down the break pedal, start the car. Hopefully, you can now shift your into whatever gear you need and drive it to the nearest VW service center to get it fixed.

Trying to lose my business? (Part 2)

Perhaps I am old-fashioned but I feel when you say you are going to do something, then you should do it. Case in point, this morning I dropped the car off at the dealership to get that shifting problem fixed. I dropped it off at approximately 7:45 AM CST (-06:00 GMT). My appointment to have them look at my car was for 9:30 AM CST (-06:00 GMT). When I dropped the car off, they told me they would call me back when the car was done or if it would require parts/maintenance not covered by the warranty.

It is now after 4:00 PM CST (-06:00 GMT) and have I heard one peep out of them? Nope. Feeling more than a little indignant at this turn of events, I tried calling them. I got a hold of a receptionist who asked me a couple of questions; presumably to route my call to the correct portion of their service dept. Then I was put on hold…

For all of 60 seconds. *Grrrr* After which I got transferred to some nameless persons voicemail. *Grrrr^2*

I was polite and left a message simply asking them to call me back with an update. I even went so far as to give them both my work and home numbers again. And to tell them when I would be leaving work, so they would have a better chance of catching me. Not that I have seen any sign that they’ve tried calling, but I am still trying to be nice and give them the benefit of the doubt. Now, I’m waiting again for them to call me back.

Update: About 10 minutes after I called the dealership, they called me back to say the car was fixed. All the repairs fell under the warranty, so I didn’t have to pay a dime. For those curious as to what was wrong:

  • The brake light switch (what they call the sensor for the ASL) was bad.
  • Additionally when they checked the car with their diagnostic software; it reported there was a problem with one of the engine coolant temperature sensors. So they replaced that as well (again this was under warranty).

Am I pleased with the customer service I received? Not especially but now that we have the car back (and particularly since they didn’t charge us for any of the parts/labor); I’m not quite as upset about it as I had been. Would I buy another VW from this dealer? It’s a bit too early to say. Their sales and finance departments are great, but the so-so treatment from the service department makes me feel hesistant to say yes.

Jon Stewart, Cynical Youth and Voting

A Washington Post columnist posted an article last Friday covering a bit of research claiming that Jon Stewart’s popular comedy/news show on the Comedy Channel may cause people to stop voting. The report’s title was not given, nor was there any link to the results. So we have no way to read the report for ourselves to judge the accuracy of the columnist’s claims and have to rely on the quotes from the report he gave us. Quotes like this one:

“Ultimately, negative perceptions of candidates could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls,” they wrote.

Maybe I’m just a bit cynical myself but I’d think there’s also the possibility these youth will start working the political scene to replace the loser candidates we have now with somebody who might actually represent their interests.

Trying to lose my business?

Back in April, we bought a new car from Carousel Motors. And until yesterday, it’s been great. I let me explain…

Yesterday, I went home for my lunch hour. When my time was up, I went down to the car to get back to work. The car unlocked and started up without any problems. What was a problem is the ASL light turned on and stayed on. Normally, this light turns off once you press down on the brake pedal. It’s there to prevent you from shifting into gear without having the brake pressed to avoid accidents. Except now, my foot was on the brake and I was still stuck in park. I fiddled around with it for a bit, but couldn’t get aything to happen1. I rushed back inside, called by boss and worked the rest of the from home via the corporate VPN.

After work, I called the dealership but found out the service department closed an hour before I called. I talked to the salesman who sold us the car and he suggested calling the VW roadside assistance 800# to have them tow the car out. I called them up, waiting on hold for several minutes and then got to talk to *mumble, mumble #1*. He had me go out ot my car and try several things to get the car out of park. I was just nearing the end of his instructions when the battery in my phone died. *grumpf*

I tromped back up into the apartment and called back on a wired phone. Again I had to wait several minutes and then I got to talk to *mumble, mumble #2*. I explained what was wrong and what I’d done so far. He gave me the complete instructions and I wrote them down. Then I set down my phone and ran outside to try them. Success! I could now get my car out of park! Before I ran back inside to relate my success, I turned off the car and tried starting/shifting normally. No luck, that was still screwy. I went back inside, picked up the phone and… And nothing, all I got was dead air. *double grumf*

I called the roadside assistance a third time and once again had to wait several minutes for the privilege of talking to *unidentified pissy man*. This guy never gave me his name. I told him everything that I’d been through and the resuylts of their procedure for getting the car out of park. I asked if I was supposed to be ok now, or if I still needed to get it to the dealership? He grumpily answered that “of course I needed to get it to the dealership.” All this around, though not entirely their fault, was not exactly making my evening any better.

Today, I called the dealership and their receptionist was waaaaaaay to gorram happy for 7:45 AM. Fortunately, she quickly transfered me to their service department. And they answered the phone with a “Good Afternoon”. While time is relative and there was a period in my youth where I always used “Good Morning” as a greeting that was high school for crying out loud. Still, she could have just been tired by the early hour of the day, so I didn’t go off on her. I explained my problem and that the roadside assistance people had given me a procedure to get the car out of park. She said since I could technically drive it; their first opening to have somebody look at the car is next Monday. I made the appointment, but it left me feeling very disappointed. I think if this is the average level of customer service I get from them then when we replace our other car, it’s not going to be another Volkswagen. As much as I like driving the car and as good as their sales department is; if the rest of their team is lacking in customer service then it’s not worth it.

Or I could just be grumpy from having to handle all this so flippin’ early in the morning.

1 Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. All I did appeared to make things worse. After my fiddling with it, the EPC light came on. Though after following the instructions from roadside assistance that light went back out.

Father’s Day

Americans have set aside today as the specific day of the year we honor the fathers among us. Though my own father passed away a couple of years ago, I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the things he taught me.

  • No matter how hard you want it to, money does not grow on trees.
  • Respect is never given away, only earned. And the easiest way to earn it, is to give it.
  • Changing the oil & filter in your car can be a rewarding and bonding experience between a father and his child. And when it’s not, at least all the yelling and swearing should entertain the neighbors.
  • Plumbing is a noble art, best left to the professionals. As what you can destroy in minutes fix over several hours, they can fix in one (though they’ll probably charge you for more).
  • He really wasn’t kidding about that money/tree thing.

Oh and to my faithful readers out there, feel free to add something your dad taught you in the comments.

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