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!
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.
Today, I have to travel to my company’s home office to teach a class. The day before I’m supposed to drive over I find I’ve got a voice mail. As I do 99.9999% of my job either via emails, IMs or F2F, this in itself was extremely odd. Then I listened to the message and found out it was a sales manager from dealership where we bought the new car.
It turns out that they want to borrow the car for a bit to have to their insurance people look it over (since it was on the lot at the time of the tornados hitting Iowa City). I thought this more than a little odd. As I was busy getting ready for my trip to the home office, I kind of blew off the message. Then this morning, I got another call from the dealership asking for the car again. I called the guy back and explained that I’m driving out of town today. He said it should really only take about 20 minutes and they’d give the car a wash while they had it. He also said they’d bring a loaner by for me, just in case.
I agreed to let him do it and then immediately got a tad nervous about it. I checked their website and found him on it. A little bit later our receptionist called and said a guy from the dealership was here. I went up to the front desk and the only person around was a scrawny looking kid. But he was wearing a sweatshirt with the dealership’s name & logo on it. Then he held out a key to him and we walked to the parking lot. The key was to a 2005 Volkswagen Passat. The stationwagon version. With a dealer’s plate in the back window, a sales sticker on the same. I felt a lot better about giving him my key and took him to my car. He drove off, and I hopped into the Passat for a quick peek.
Oh my God! The wagon is fully loaded with all the goodies Volkswagen has to offer. Now I feel slightly cheated in that I won’t get to drive this puppy for my trip. Don’t get me wrong, I love our new car and our new car does have more gadgets in it than any car I’ve ever owned. But still, that Passat sitting outside if so dang plush and luxurious. I could definitely enjoy driving that card. 😀 Oh well, at least I’m getting a free car wash. Though, now that I think about it; I’m wondering if I should have asked them to top off the gas tank. With gas at $2.84/gallon, that would have been a nice bit of savings for me. *shrug* That’s probably being a little greedy and they’ve been good to me already.