Tuesday, July 18, 2006

 

Don't make me post this

Dear Volkswagen:

Don't make me do this. Don't make me use the power of my mighty blog against you. I really like the car I bought from you, so I don't want to have to slam you for a bad business practice.

I didn't need a fancy decorative chrome ring around the knob of the gear shift, but you chose to put one there. Recently, the chrome started to peel off. As a result, my spouse and I both got bloody cuts on our hands from the jagged edges where the chrome had peeled or puckered. Finally, I put this ugly piece of hockey tape over it.

The local Volkswagen dealer ordered the replacement part and now tells me it will cost $65 plus labor. They also say that it's not covered by warranty, even though the car is only 2 1/2 years old, because Volkswagen -- you -- considers the top of the gear shift knob to be "trim."

DSCN9148

Trim my ass. You have to put your hand on the gear shift knob in order to operate the vehicle, and your lousy "trim" defect is causing wounds. Are you saying you wouldn't replace the steering wheel if a big old rusty nail was sticking out of it?

Do the right thing, Volkswagen.

Stay tuned, readers.

Comments:
I can't help you on warranty legalities, however you may at least be able to avoid the labor charge: Try unscrewing the old knob. If it comes off w/o special tools, then you can screw on the new one yourself.
 
You are such a car afficionado! Does it take only one of you to unscrew a gear shift knob?
 
Tort! Tort! Product liability litigation will get their attention!!

wpk

mawjcyc - the cycle of meows from a hungry cat
 
Hi Oscar,

I recomend replacement with an aftermarket shift knob. There are lots of interesting ones available and if you put a stock one in it will probably have the same peeling chrome problem as the original.

Also, I am pretty sure that VW does not use the simple screw-on type connection common on domestic cars and trucks, plus they connect the boot somehow to the bottom of the shift knob. It could end up being a pain as a DIY, unless you like that sort of thing.

best regards,

dbp
 
You have two choices ...

1. Take it back and tell them that if they don't fix it immediately that you will contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is responsible for automotive safety issues. This is actually a safety issue; imagine if you got distracted on the road when your hand gets cut. Nasty expensive recalls have started with less.

There is the URL to file a complaint ...
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/Consumer.cfm

--OR --

2. Get an replacement shift knob; the store where you buy it can tell you how to replace it. There are lots of interesting ones.

Note -- I went to VW's site and sent their consumer relations department a link to the post.

Good luck!
 
I vote for an after market shift knob replacement. Like from this page. Like the eyeball. Or the skull...

But your other commenters' suggestions are also very good. (but they aren't an eyeball shift knob)
---
nkxlncme - 'nix link me' means "please stop sending me links to dumb web pages"
 
DBP may well be right. While our VW product is a mechanical relation of yours, is also an automatic -- so I have no idea how the manual shift knob attaches. Still, can't hurt to try, just don't force it.

The skull doesn't look like a very comfortable knob. (And don't forget about other dangers of shiny metal shift knobs.) The eyeball is more promising.
 
Oh, and one more thing... hockey tape? HOCKEY TAPE??? You know you are supposed to only use DUCT TAPE for ad-hock repairs like this. Please correct this deficiency as soon as possible.

--
wydfyu - whut i do fer you?
 
Maybe I should do a bad design series on gear shift knobs. Lacerations, 3rd degree burns... bad design of the dangerous kind abounds in this industry!

Tonya offered to knit gear knob shift cover for mine. Maybe we can get a discount if she knits two.

--------
dcvrm (d.c. verm): derogatory abbreviation invented by Yosemite Sam when he met Bugs Bunny's chiropractor--Doctor of Chiropractic, Vermin
 
(Blogger swallowed my previous comment, so this is a rerun.)
Rip the stick out and tell them you need a replacement.
(It's funny how deep in our innocent hearts we still believe that warranties are all about doing the right thing and being fair and nice and decent etc etc.)
 
What color do you want those gear shift knob covers to be? Dusty rose, lime green, or heather gray?
 
Thank you all for the wonderfully helpful comments! I'm particularly greatful to DBP for giving me a face-saving way not to follow the DIY advice of Tom and Wendy. I'm kind of lazy when it comes to car maintenance.

I note that the two torts professors, Nina and Warren, seem to give contradictory advice. Meanwhile, tomjedrz makes a great case for self-help activism and has already gotten the ball rolling by sending my post to VW -- cool!

Tonya and Janelle, can I get the gear shift cover even after I replace this one?

----
hbmzoae -- "homeboy-mezoae": single celled homeboys from the paleozoic era.
 
i've had my series of problems with volkswagen's service. i have about 20 repair receipts for my 2002 golf. i finally pursued the lemon law, and while i didn't get a buy back, i did receive a settlement. it'll be worth it when i trade-in that piece of shit. but i can't right now because the car is paid off and i'm a poor graduate student.

-matt
 
Do you think they mark up the prices for the people who accept it not being covered and don't balk at paying the replacement fee? That would be sad, though not your fault.

Nina's "advice" stinks. Why does it seem that people who have extra money to pay for things never have to? Is there every responsibility taken for choices made? (ie, you chose the VW, though I see your point about not wanting to pay. Still, I suspect most just do, then exercise their "power" by not buying a VW the next time around?) Still, it would suck if say Juan and Maria are paying more for parts because you and B refuse.
 
1) Nina was joking.

2) Are you suggesting that people should let themselves get ripped off so that the cost to the seller of giving fair treatment is not passed along to consumers who don't or can't assert their rights?

That's totally bizarre!

----
qarfbvk (pron. "kwarf-bi-vak"): the act of letting oneself get ripped off so that the cost to the seller of giving fair treatment is not passed along to consumers who don't or can't assert their rights.
 
For the filing fee and jury fees alone, you could probably buy 4 or 5 knobs and stock pile them.

Just a thought.
 
Threaten VW w/a complaint to your local Better Business Bureau (BBB)--the threat will work wonders as filing such a complaint is relatively simple for you to file and will prove to be a major pain for the VW dealership.

BTW--What model VW do you have?
 
<< Meanwhile, tomjedrz makes a great case for self-help activism and has already gotten the ball rolling by sending my post to VW -- cool! >>

They sent me an email TODAY asking about it because they could not follow the link .. my reply ..

I suspect that your comment program messed up the link. Try this one -- http://tinyurl.com/kezqv

Or .. find "The Columnist Manifesto" weblog (hint .. use Google) and look for the entry on 18-July.

Basically, the author is complaining about the trim on his shift knob getting worn, breaking, and cutting his hands. He thinks it is a safety hazard. I agree with him. The dealer out there (essentially) told him to pound sand. I told him to call NHTSA.

Take care ...

 
I googled "vw gear shift knob replacement" and found your blog. I stabbed my palm two days ago on my vw golf gear shifter (the little decorative chrome ring). I had to pull the metal out of my hand! I was bleeding! Anyway, I know that you posted the blog over a year ago, but I thought it was funny that this happened to someone else. I've been meaning to put electrical tape on the top, but keep forgetting. I have to awkwardly hold underneath the knob to shift. I think I'll look at eyeballs or skulls as a replacement! :)
 
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