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Volkswagen’s Radio Volume Knob Has an Infuriating Quirk

When a manufacturer designs an automobile, there are many controls the occupant interacts with that have to be thought through. These all have the potential to go very poorly. At this point, I have tested quite a few cars for RightFootDown, and I’ve found every vehicle to have at least one little user interface issue. Usually it’s something minor that makes me question what in the world the designers were thinking, but generally, most aren’t major issues and don’t affect the overall opinion I have on that particular car. However, I have since found the most bewildering, infuriating, quirk to date — and for that, I have Volkswagen to thank.

The Volkswagen SEL trim provides you nearly every option and results in an overall package that is quite nice to drive on a daily basis. The radar cruise is easy to operate, blind spot monitoring is seamless and the upgraded radio sounds great! But what Volkswagen did to ruin this perfectly fine system is just careless. Volkswagen allowed the power button symbol to rotate when the volume knob is rotated.

Volkswagen audio interface

It is quite common for the one dial to serve double duties acting as the power and volume control, but I have never seen another manufacturer allow an oversight so easy to fix make it all the way to consumers. It turns out, I am not the only person that has noticed this either. When googling this phenomenon, there are quite a few results where people are complaining about this on Volkswagen forums and the like. If you are still not understanding my annoyance, here is a link to a Reddit Thread also complaining about this, but with a GIF!

Now, you might be saying there’s a reason why it was designed like this, but I promise that nothing I’ve found can explain this issue. When the logo is in its proper, upright position, it doesn’t represent where the dial stops, as the button will rotate 360 degrees as many times as you like. It really doesn’t make any sense.

If you’re like me and you’re looking for a workaround, alas, there are a couple “fixes.” The easy option is to solely rely on the steering wheel controls. It might seem like a pain, but I found it relieved me of the bother of this annoyance quite easily. Obviously, when using these, the volume knob will not move, allowing you to keep it right where it should be: facing up. Great for those with OCD. This also provides a great reason to yell at the passenger who thinks that they should be in control of the radio. If you want the more semi-permanent option, one forum comment links to a set of stickers that can be placed over the knob. It’s not the most glamorous option, but only so much can be done to fix the annoying quirk.

I am sure Volkswagen is not the only perpetrator of such insanity. Have you found similar quirks a manufacturer did that made absolutely no sense? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. The fix for this is obviously when the connectors start to get dirty/fail (trust me, it’ll happen) and turning the knob yields inconsistent (if not opposite!) results. The steering wheel button will be the only thing you can rely on. 

  2. Thank you Doug, it has always driven me crazy that Volkswagen would allow such an awful knob.

    *Edit: I was almost sure this was Doug when I read it, my bad! Sorry Jacob.

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