The year that VW released the third generation of their popular Golf series it won the European Car of the Year award. From 1993 until 2001, the Golf—or “Mk3”—proved itself worthy of that award and satisfied customers with its spacious interior and Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) engine. Some Mk3 owners report problems with their ignition switch leading to interrupted electrical functions.
This malfunction often poses a real head-scratcher to Golf owners because it manifests itself in seemingly unrelated ways. Maybe the engine will crank without ever turning over, leading some to think that the battery is malfunctioning. The car may stall while driving, or it might stall while idling. Sometimes the door lights will turn off and on at odd moments, and the power supply in general seems to not be working right.
Whereas each things alone points to a unique problem, combined they implicate the ignition switch. The ignition switch acts as a gatekeeper for all the power in the car. When you turn the key, the ignition switch allows juice from the battery to flip your headlights on, run the control panel, and use sparks to ignite the fuel. When it malfunctions, all of these systems are immediately affected in the ways described.
Chances are that you don’t have the necessary spare hours and tools to fix this problem yourself. Therefore, you should take a trip to an independent Volkswagen maintenance technician. This person can A.) tell you for sure whether or not the ignition switch indeed needs a replacement, and B.) replace it for you.
Search for a local, independent Volkswagen repair shop with Volkswagen mechanics that have dealer-level expertise at a fraction of the expense.