For over a year I've had huge problems with every VW I've driven. The alarm goes off seemingly at random while I'm driving. I've finally figured out why, it's the damn key.

I've actually hesitated to review several cars because of the problem. It's happened at 85 MPH in the fast lane, at 4am in quiet rural neighborhoods, in front of the NYPD and, last weekend, it happened in front of my girlfriend's parents. Each time I've struggled to turn the alarm off, resorting to at-speed, in-neutral engine restarts, inserting and removing the key, hitting the lock and unlock buttons and nothing ever seems to work, eventually the alarm just turns itself off. I've contacted VW looking for an explanation to no avail. I was beginning to think there might be something to the "Volkwagen's all have electrical problems" stereotype after all.


It turns out the key's design and my anatomy just aren't a good combination. See the panic button mounted on the side of the key fob? My knee hits it, setting off the alarm. The trick is to insert the key with the panic button on the bottom, then as you twist it to start the engine, it ends up on top, safely out of reach of my 34" inseam.

Do I feel stupid? You bet, but I can't tell you how relieved I am to figure this out. I can enjoy driving Volkswagens again!

Special thanks to Big Phil at Mt. Gretna Lake and Beach for helping me figure this out.