Fix for when push to start button acts up

mikec944

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Location
Bel Air, MD
TDI
2012 Golf w/Tech
Another big +1 on this write-up. Like another poster, I have the extended warranty, but between the deductible and the time to go to the dealer, it made sense to do it myself. It took all of 15 minutes, and I used an eraser first, followed by De-Oxit. I already had the De-Oxit on hand, and you should too if you do any home repairs of anything electrical or electronic. It resurrects all sorts of switches and potentiometers, and even Apple Lightning cables and things like that.

Anyway, the car is starting up just like when it was new. Thanks for the great write-up!
:) Glad to have helped!
 

740GLE

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Location
NH
TDI
2015 Passat SEL, 2017 Alltrack SE; BB 2010 Sedan Man; 2012 Passat,
Another big +1 on this write-up. Like another poster, I have the extended warranty, but between the deductible and the time to go to the dealer, it made sense to do it myself. It took all of 15 minutes, and I used an eraser first, followed by De-Oxit. I already had the De-Oxit on hand, and you should too if you do any home repairs of anything electrical or electronic. It resurrects all sorts of switches and potentiometers, and even Apple Lightning cables and things like that.

Anyway, the car is starting up just like when it was new. Thanks for the great write-up!

That extended warranty seems to be working out quite well
 

Korte

New member
Joined
May 22, 2017
Location
Hungary
TDI
2.0 CFFB
Hi mikec944! Great posting, I'm very happy to find it. I could avoid replace the button, and also it was very useful how to get out the button. I have done the cleaning in 1 hour, and my vw starts and stops perfectly again! :) Thanks again! Andras
 

CR125Honda

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Location
Kentucky
TDI
2013 Sportwagen
So glad I found this thread. Thanks!

Daughters 2013 Sportwagen TDI (with 85k) started acting up about a two months ago.

She lives in a different state so I don't get to drive the car very often.
Noticed the change the last time she was home.
I remember when we first got it (15k), there was no monkey motion involved in starting.
No pushing and holding, no pushing twice, etc.

The first few years, when we pushed the button, it started cranking right away.
Didn't matter if it was cold or hot outside or if the engine was cold or hot.

Last month, the battery tested bad with my Solar BA9 meter, so I replaced it.
Seemed to help a little but still was not right.
Had a feeling it was the switch but the only thread I read on the subject back then I believe lead me in the wrong direction.
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=378124&page=2
Some said this "push an hold" was normal operation.

My guess is this is fix going to do the trick..
My next opportunity with the car, I plan on using an eraser and my squeeze bottle of De-Oxit.

Ken
 

mikec944

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Location
Bel Air, MD
TDI
2012 Golf w/Tech
You're welcome Korte and CR125Honda!

For an update on my car, I just cleaned the switch for the second time this past Sunday. It was just shy of 78k miles. The problem wasn't as bad as the first time, but I could tell the button wasn't working as well as it should. Less than 10 minutes to clean it and it works so much better (again).
 

CR125Honda

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Location
Kentucky
TDI
2013 Sportwagen
Default
Just an update..

Removed the push button switch and cleaned it.
Used alcohol, q-tip, and product called de-oxit.

Back to normal operation now.
Get in car, step on brake, push start button.
Car starts instantly.
 

dordal

Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Location
Oakland, CA
TDI
2011 Jetta Sportwagen; 2012 Golf
Cold Solder Joints

@mikec944 thanks for posting this. I did the cleaning, reinstalled the switch, and the problem was back... almost worse. Took it apart again and realized that one of the solder joints on the circuit board looked a little off. Tested it with my DMM, and it was bad.

Got out my soldering iron, and with a little new solder, reflowed everything, reinstalled the switch, and the car starts right up!



I also figured out how to bench test the switch; you'll need a digital multimeter set to resistance (ohm) testing. Following this diagram:

  • First connect your DMM to pins A & D, and push the switch. You should get contact (e.g. resistance drops to ~0 ohms).
  • Then connect to pins A & C... push the switch. You should again get contact ( ~0 ohms )
  • Pin B powers the LED in the switch so you can see to start the car in the dark.

It would appear that the car won't start/stop unless BOTH the Pin A-D and Pin A-C connections are working. In my case Pin A-D was fine but Pin C had the cold solder joint. If you suspect cold solder though, I'd just reheat and reflow all four pins.
 
Last edited:

SteveCA

Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Location
Bay Area
TDI
2004 GMC 2500HD, 2011 BMW 335d, 2012 Golf TDI, tecj package, DSG
Thanks a bunch for the nice write up! I just cleaned my contacts with an eraser and everything works like new. No more pushing hard on the button numerous times to start/stop the engine.

A couple of clarification points:

1. when pushing in the metal clips to disassemble the switch, the switch slides out of the housing by pushing it through the plastic housing. I spent a bit of time trying to pull it out of the housing before figuring this out.

2. To remove the metal clips from the switch, it is easily done by grabbing the metal clip on the bigger end with a needle nose plier and gently pulling it out.

3. Lastly, to dissasemble the actual switch, you have to gently pull/pry on three separate tabs to allow the switch to come apart.

It would have been a five minute job if I knew these details lol... It took me about 30 minutes of tinkering to figure it out, mainly because I was cautious and didnt want to break anything.

Thanks to everyone for contributing to this great DIY thread. I wonder what VW dealers charge to replace this switch..... I am sure they replace it and dont bother with cleaning it. More junk in the landfills and higher profits...
 

Lightflyer1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
TDI
2015 Beetle tdi dsg
Almost no one repairs anything any more. Just remove and replace. My AC was acting up on my 1999 Tahoe. Took it in to the dealer to find the issue. Asked for my old parts back. When I picked it up they had R&R the control head for $645. I glanced at the old one and immediately saw a blown resister. Drove over to Radio Shack and bought one to replace it with. Went home and replaced and put the head back in and it worked perfectly. Drove back to the dealer and managed to get my money back. I told them do you know how much someone would appreciate it if you told them it cost .25 to repair rather than $645. They just told me they don't do component repair. Alas fixing things has gone by the way side. Perfectly good stuff just going to the landfill.
 

SteveCA

Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Location
Bay Area
TDI
2004 GMC 2500HD, 2011 BMW 335d, 2012 Golf TDI, tecj package, DSG
Almost no one repairs anything any more. Just remove and replace. My AC was acting up on my 1999 Tahoe. Took it in to the dealer to find the issue. Asked for my old parts back. When I picked it up they had R&R the control head for $645. I glanced at the old one and immediately saw a blown resister. Drove over to Radio Shack and bought one to replace it with. Went home and replaced and put the head back in and it worked perfectly. Drove back to the dealer and managed to get my money back. I told them do you know how much someone would appreciate it if you told them it cost .25 to repair rather than $645. They just told me they don't do component repair. Alas fixing things has gone by the way side. Perfectly good stuff just going to the landfill.
You are 100% right. In the name of profits, dealers R+R everything and fix nothing. It amounts to highway robbery but it makes more money than fixing something. It fills our landfill with perfectly usable scrap which amounts to environmental terrorism but thats another story. Interestingly, in the Apple IOS scandal, the French government is going after apple for purposely making (perfectly good) phones obsolete and thereby violating strict environmental laws against any actions that prematurely obsolete devices. It may be a water shed case against big companies that practice planned obsolescence.
 

soterik

New member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Location
Seattle
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
Just wanted to say thanks for this thread. Was able to do the "fix" pretty quickly and now it starts like when it was new!

(newbie member, but loooong time lurker)

Eric
2001 Golf tdi
2012 Golf tdi
 

skyleralan

New member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Location
Iowa
TDI
2013 Jetta Sportwagen TDI
When I was having issues with my push button start, I had searched around and could not find anyone else with this particular issue. I would go to start the car by pressing the button once to turn on the glow plugs, wait, then push until it starts. For the first press of the button, it would occasionally take a few presses before turning the car on. Then, when pressing the button to start, same thing, it would take a few presses before cranking over. I tried the obvious things...new remote battery, pressing harder on the button, and holding the remote near the button as the manual states to do. Nothing worked. So I decided the problem was located in the switch.
(NOTE: This is not the same problem others are having with push to start where it starts then immediately shuts off. That is related to the button as well but is a different symptom.)
Over the past few weeks, I've read of two more people with this issue. Here is what fixed it for me.
First, remove the button assembly from the steering column and disconnect the wire connections. It pops off somewhat easily using a plastic pry tool. You can squeeze the top and bottom and pull back a little to give you some access to place the pry tool. You'll have to work it around the assembly where the tabs are. There are 4 tabs located at the top, bottom, left, and right. You can see them in second picture. The button scratches easy so now would be a good time to cover the button face with tape. Also, there is a circular antenna that slides over the switch that you will encounter. You can unplug it along with the switch to remove. Be sure it goes back on.

Here is the assembly by itself.

Remove the button assembly from the plastic housing by pushing the 2 metal clips in and sliding the switch outward. At this point, the 2 metal clips must be slid off of the assembly to access 2 of 4 plastic tabs in order to disassemble.

This is what you will find inside.

Take the rubber piece off of the electrical part. These are the 2 parts you need to clean.


What I did was sprayed plastic-safe electrical parts cleaner on a lint free rag and lightly wiped the gold contact points and the blue contact points. I'm not entirely sure the blue contact points even need to be cleaned; it is just the procedure that I used. WARNING: DO NOT spray the parts...use a lint free rag. (Edit: You could also use swmic's suggestion from post #4 and use a pencil eraser.) There looked to be some light build up on the gold parts before cleaning. Reassemble and that's it.
This problem started occurring with my car at about 36k or 37k miles. I cleaned the switch at about 40k and it is now at 42k with no occurrence of this issue since cleaning. I only had one issue within the first week of cleaning the switch. Twice, the car started and immediately shut off. It had not done that before, nor has it done it since. That is the other issue I mentioned earlier that people were having with push button start. This leads me to believe that issue is remedied by a switch replacement or maybe only a cleaning.
It seems like this might be an issue we see more of in the future. I hope this helps.
Anyway to get these pictures back? Needed to do this to my 2013 Sportwagen, but would like the pictures to help!
 

Arun Persaud

New member
Joined
Nov 3, 2018
Location
El Cerrito, CA, USA
TDI
Golf TDI 2013
Many thanks for the post. This fixed it for me too. The problem started around 40k miles and around 45k it got pretty bad (we still managed to turn the car on, but people at the shop didn't... you had to press the button in just the right spot ;)).



Taking the part out turned out to be a bit more complex, since the part installed in our golf seems to be held slightly differently. I ended up taking the plastic from the console out (the top just pops off and the bottom part is held by 3 screws), once the bottom part was off, taken the button out was easy. Taking the button apart also turned out a bit harder for me, it had 4 clips, that held it together (one behind a sticker) and sliding some thin plastic pieces into 3 of them helped opening the clips all at the same time. Once I had the button apart, it looked exactly as in the pictures above and I just cleaned the 4 contacts with alcohol and a cotton swap. Put everything back together and the problem is completely gone! All together it took perhaps 30 minutes, and avoided buying a completely new starter button assembly (suggested by the shop) for ~$500 with installation.



Thanks again.
 

piotrsko

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Location
Reno Nv
TDI
2013 Golf, 2000 F-250 (7.3)
The only problem I see with the eraser method: the process IS somewhat abrasive. After a couple of cleanings, you could wear out the printed contacts.
 

hephaestus

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Location
GNWFL
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagon
When I was having issues with my push button start, I had searched around and could not find anyone else with this particular issue. I would go to start the car by pressing the button once to turn on the glow plugs, wait, then push until it starts. For the first press of the button, it would occasionally take a few presses before turning the car on. Then, when pressing the button to start, same thing, it would take a few presses before cranking over. I tried the obvious things...new remote battery, pressing harder on the button, and holding the remote near the button as the manual states to do. Nothing worked. So I decided the problem was located in the switch.
(NOTE: This is not the same problem others are having with push to start where it starts then immediately shuts off. That is related to the button as well but is a different symptom.)
Over the past few weeks, I've read of two more people with this issue. Here is what fixed it for me.
First, remove the button assembly from the steering column and disconnect the wire connections. It pops off somewhat easily using a plastic pry tool. You can squeeze the top and bottom and pull back a little to give you some access to place the pry tool. You'll have to work it around the assembly where the tabs are. There are 4 tabs located at the top, bottom, left, and right. You can see them in second picture. The button scratches easy so now would be a good time to cover the button face with tape. Also, there is a circular antenna that slides over the switch that you will encounter. You can unplug it along with the switch to remove. Be sure it goes back on.

Here is the assembly by itself.

Remove the button assembly from the plastic housing by pushing the 2 metal clips in and sliding the switch outward. At this point, the 2 metal clips must be slid off of the assembly to access 2 of 4 plastic tabs in order to disassemble.

This is what you will find inside.

Take the rubber piece off of the electrical part. These are the 2 parts you need to clean.


What I did was sprayed plastic-safe electrical parts cleaner on a lint free rag and lightly wiped the gold contact points and the blue contact points. I'm not entirely sure the blue contact points even need to be cleaned; it is just the procedure that I used. WARNING: DO NOT spray the parts...use a lint free rag. (Edit: You could also use swmic's suggestion from post #4 and use a pencil eraser.) There looked to be some light build up on the gold parts before cleaning. Reassemble and that's it.
This problem started occurring with my car at about 36k or 37k miles. I cleaned the switch at about 40k and it is now at 42k with no occurrence of this issue since cleaning. I only had one issue within the first week of cleaning the switch. Twice, the car started and immediately shut off. It had not done that before, nor has it done it since. That is the other issue I mentioned earlier that people were having with push button start. This leads me to believe that issue is remedied by a switch replacement or maybe only a cleaning.
It seems like this might be an issue we see more of in the future. I hope this helps.
I registered on this forum just to say thank you for this advice. I just bought a 14 TDI Sportwagen and the only thing I've found wrong with it so far is that the push button required tons of force to get to work. After cleaning with a plastic pencil eraser it is exactly how it should be again. I added some dielectric grease between the boot and circuit board to try and prevent any future corrosion as well. Something to note is that there was almost no visible corrosion, but the difference is night and day so there must have been something there.
 

hephaestus

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Location
GNWFL
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagon
Maybe I spoke too soon? This morning I got in the car, hit the button, ignition turned on, let glow light go out, and hit the button again. Everything shut down instead of starting and now it's acting like the key fobs are not in the vehicle when they are. Both FOB's have new batteries. Any ideas?
 

hephaestus

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Location
GNWFL
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagon
It turns out that going above and beyond bit me in the ass. Before when I tested there was continuity between A-C and A-D when pressing the button. Now A-C wasn't working. I disassembled the switch again, cleaned out the dielectric grease, reassembled, and A-D / A-C was working again. Plugged it back in and car starts again. So it appears that this was not the correct application for dielectric. Since the grease is non-conductive I suspect that ti got between the contact area on the small circuit board and the pad in the rubber button membrane thingy.
 

JD_2012GolfTDI

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Location
CA
TDI
2012 Golf Kerma tuned
Perfect, thank you! I've been frustrated with the intermittent start/stop issues and this seems to have resolved it. Very easy to follow instructions. I just used a regular eraser very carefully and a q-tip with some rubbing alcohol.
 
Last edited:

Dilrods

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
Location
SF
TDI
None.
Just successfully did this whole process using an eraser, thanks! I like the above advice to go a little easy with the eraser to avoid too much wear on circuits. In my case, I felt I could see residue on the blue pads that was easily removed. It was so annoying to have to push SO hard before ... as far as DIY is concerned, massive bang for the buck!
 

mikerob97

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Location
Cary, NC
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagen
I performed this cleaning about a month ago an it helped tremendously. I did not use an eraser. I used an electrical circuit contact cleaner (Deoxit D5). Sprayed a little on a q-tip and used the q-tip to clean the contacts. Worked like a charm!
 

Jojo_13

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Location
Victoria BC
TDI
Golf sportwagen 2014 tdi
Quick question guys. Is it necessary to remove the steering wheel to get the switch out of the column or just take the top cover off? Thank you and more power!
 

mikec944

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2004
Location
Bel Air, MD
TDI
2012 Golf w/Tech
Looks like tinypic.com is no longer in service. I’ll have to find another image hosting site to keep the pics up. Hopefully this weekend.

Jojo_13, you don’t have to take the steering wheel off or remove the top cover. You just have to carefully pry the switch and its housing out of the side of the column cover.
 

Jojo_13

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Location
Victoria BC
TDI
Golf sportwagen 2014 tdi
Looks like tinypic.com is no longer in service. I’ll have to find another image hosting site to keep the pics up. Hopefully this weekend.
Jojo_13, you don’t have to take the steering wheel off or remove the top cover. You just have to carefully pry the switch and its housing out of the side of the column cover.

Thank you bud!
 
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