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I just bought a 2012 VW Jetta TDI. The dealer asked me to do a 2,000 mile check-up to make sure everything is within tolerances. At the check-up the service representative said my key-chain was too heavy and if I planned to keep the car for long I should reduce weight on the key-chain to keep from damaging the ignition. I only have six other keys, a hook and two small plastic electronic computer devices on the single key ring. It doesn't seem excessive at all compared to the usual key rings you see.

The question is, do new car ignitions still wear out due to key-ring weight? To me this seemed like the kind of advice that might have once been true and is dispensed long after it is no longer the case.

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You should also read up on the GM ignition switch fiasco. Heavy keys rings made things worse for them. Cars would shut off during normal driving, and when they crashed, there was no airbag deployment. – zipzit Apr 21 at 21:31
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I dont think you have much to worry about honestly.

I'd be more worried about the plastic link between the metal key and the plastic key fob breaking. (I have a TDi as well - a 2001.) My keys are heavy and have a lot of stuff, and i've never had an issue with it.

Is it possible? Sure.

Is it likely? No.

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Agreed. The weight you would need to do any immediate damage would be causing other problems... – Nick Jul 28 '12 at 19:50
About 2 years later, and this answer seems somewhat ironic considering the current GM recall. – Ellesedil Jul 11 '14 at 19:19
Heh. GMs problem was not faulty ignitions....not weight. – Applehat Jul 11 '14 at 23:41

I worked on VWs and Audis for a while, we had some mkIV's like yours with worn out ignition switches from heavy key rings. My advice is to keep the weight of the key ring to something reasonable.

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No hammers on your keychain! – Applehat Mar 1 '13 at 21:24

It is possible that the dealer has seen a lot of older Jettas coming in with worn ignitions and that or maybe one extreme case that justifies his warning. I would put this information in the "it is possible catagory".If you kept the car long enough it might become a problem,in a scenario where with a single key the ignition switch would last 250,000 miles put with several keys it will only last 200,000.Six keys doesn't seem excessive to me.In the grand scheme are you going to have the car long enough for it to be a problem for you.

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On Passat B4 (1995-1997) there were lots of ignition assemblies that failed due to heavy keychains. I believe this is a sound advice from the dealer.

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