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Volkswagen Cabrio Warning Lights and Problem Codes

ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222


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  • jesslsu1jesslsu1 Member Posts: 1
    Just bought a 98 Cabrio yesterday from a dealer 124K miles on it, but I got a good price.

    1. Took it through its first car wash (VERY minor leaks...YEA!!!!) but the check engine light came on immediately afterward. I let it dry out for a few hours and the light is still on. It was just checked by a mechanic yesterday and everything was fine. I guess I need to go have the codes run, but has anyone else had this issue?

    2. Where can I find an Owner's Manual? It didn't come with one...

    3. Does anyone have a maintenance schedule posted online? I can't find one.


  • nnyluhnnyluh Member Posts: 5

    I am wonder what you paid for your Cabrio. I have a 98 with 52K miles on it and I am thinking of selling.

    I have had the check engine light go on several times since I bought my Cabrio new. The first time the fix was taking off and putting on the gas cap a couple of times. Apparently if the seal isn't tight it triggers the light. Have you tried that?


  • wiltshirewiltshire Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2001 VW GLX. My Malfunction Indicator Lamp (GLX) keeps going off & on. Is this happening to anyone else, I know little to nothing about cars. I don't want to keep running to my mechanic. HELP.
  • rtc1rtc1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 1984 VW Rabbit Convertible with ~130,000 miles. At 123,000 miles, it was burning some oil and I decided to have the heads replaced since it was a relatively low mileage vehicle for its age. During the last couple of months, the oil pressure warning light on the dashboard (next to the oxygen sensor) has come on intermittently, always with the oil dipstick showing the oil being full and the oil pressure gauge by the stickshift showing good pressure. The first couple of times, the warning light was flashing for a couple of minutes but then stopped. The last two times, however, the warning light stayed on and made a hissing noise. Both the warning light and the hissing sound stopped after about five minutes of driving. As this problem had disappeared by the time I drove the car to the garage, the mechanic could not find the problem. He was thinking that it was probably more a panel light problem than an oil pump problem as there was no knocking sound coming from the engine. Curious if anyone has run across this problem before or might know what is causing this problem.

    Trying to decide whether this is likely to be a major expensive repair issue or not and whether to finally give up on this otherwise trusty runabout.
  • kukelkukel Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 VW Cabrio. I had an oil leak a few months ago. I had to have both (there's two) oil switches replaced. A few days after they were replaced, I noticed that the oil light would flicker intermittently, as well.
    BUT, as I further studied it, the warning light would flicker when I was idled. And as soon as I tapped the gas, the light would stop blinking.
    It just does it randomly now.

    I was reading online about vanagons the other day, just for kicks, and I happened to come across an oil pressure related problem that someone else posted. I don't know if this is any revelation to MY problem, or the problem you have encountered. But it seems to make sense. It might just be sending a wrong signal out.

    Here's what the other poster wrote:

    Problem: Oil pressure light comes on under 2000 RPM
    I recently experienced a problem with my Vanagon that seems fairly common. When the engine is hot and I stop at a light, the oil light begins to fade on. It doesn't go off again until the engine revs above 2000 RPM. (An explanation for this behavior is given below.)

    EXPLANATION: While there is a "high" pressure switch and a "low" pressure switch, they both cause warnings when the oil pressure drops too LOW. Since "too low" is a bit of a subjective thing in an engine, VW decided to implement two standards. The higher the engine RPM, the higher the oil pressure should be. If you have just one oil pressure switch with a setpoint low enough (say 4.4PSI, 0.3 bar) to not engage at idle, that leaves way too much slack for when the engine is at high RPMs when the engine should have at least 13.2 PSI (0.9 bar) . The "low" pressure switch is used to alert the driver if the oils pressure dips too LOW while the engine is running at less than 2000 RPM and the "high" pressure switch is used to alert the driver if the oils pressure dips too LOW while the engine is running at more than 2000 RPM.

    Mine seems to peculiar in that it comes on solid, not flashing. Nobody seems to be able to explain this.

    There are 2 categories of causes:

    Incorrect oil sensing system - Your low pressure switch may be bad. According to Ron Salmon of the Bus Depot, there are 2 specs of sending units from VW and one has a lower tolerance than the other. Your oil pressure may be hunky-dory, but the sender doesn't think so. It could also be a bad connection somewhere.

    Also, check the connections on the oil pressure warning systems. Sometimes connections to the idiot light and from the sending unit can get weak and cause a false alarm.

    Real oil pressure problem - don't panic yet, it may be simple. Some people have reported that Fram and other non-VW oil filters cause higher pressure drops because of restrictive flow. Try a VW "Autobahn" oil filter. Also, I was running SAE 30 oil; try 20W50. Another common problem is the oil pressure relief valve may be sticky.

    Does this make sense to anyone else?

    My car runs fine... it's just randomly the light blinks.
  • cabriobebecabriobebe Member Posts: 1
    Help! I just bought a 2001 Carbrio and the check engine light won't go off. The brake light will come on and the milage and clock by the speed o meter will go off while I am driving. I have trouble starting it and often when I put it into park the car will stall out. I have had it in the shop 4 times already and it isn't fixed. It goes in again next week. Has anyone found a soulution to this?
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    I recently bought a 2001 Volkswagon Cabrio. It has 42,000 miles on. .. The car runs very well but there appears to be some problems, but i'm not 100% sure.. From what I have read here, i'm not sure if I have made the right decision to buy this car. The engine light comes on (this is two weeks after I bought the car).. One of my friends says that it could be the oxygen sensor. Also the brakes are working very well, but are squeaky.. and sometimes when I start the car after about a day or so of not using it; there is a noise for about 20 min and then it goes away... I was just wondering if any of these things, could be major problems in the future... if anyone has owned this car and knows more about it, I would like to know .. . .thank you very much !!!!
  • jezebel1018jezebel1018 Member Posts: 2
    i have a 2002 cabrio purchased brand new and for 3 out of the 5 years ive owned it the check engine light remained on. i took it to two different vw dealers and an after market mechanic, no one could fix the problem. last year, in ny, it became mandatory for a check engine light to be off to pass inspection so i was in big trouble. they kept telling me it was the gas cap. after changing the oxygen sensor (twice) they eventually changed a $10 hose connecting the sensor to the more check engine light, that was last year.
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    thank you for your feedback . ..
    I was just wondering, what hose it was that had been replaced to get rid of the 'check engine'. ? .
    actually my 'check engine' light went off now, and the 'air bag' light came on; but i just want to know for future, in case it comes on again . .seems that it's just playing games. ...
  • cabrio98cabrio98 Member Posts: 8

    I have a 1998 cabrio that i bought used from the original owner. when i bought the car she told me that after it rains or if the car has been sitting for a while (a couple of days or more) the first few times that you press the brake, the car will make a screechy, grinding sound. And, yup, it's true. i've owned the car for 3 years, and it does make a scary sound after rain or sitting. i've been told that it's due to either a little bit of dust or rust on the brake pads. nothing to worry about. the brakes also squeak frequently, but that's b/c the rims get really dirty and the dust settles on the brake pad. if i am diligent about cleaning the rims, the sound disappears.

    hope this helps.

  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    thank you for your feedback :) ... was just wondering because it sounded like a belt or something.. but the weird thing was that the car was running very well . .that's why it was suspicious. .
    thank you again ...
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    Also, I was wondering. .. how has the car been running since you bought it ? .. I mean did you have any major problems. ..
    I bought this car over a month ago now.. (it's a 2001).. and it began making noises (as you have mentioned after rainy days usually).. the brakes were squeaky, the car engine light came on, and the airbag light came on.. then after reading some of the comments made by different people, i became worried that i might have got ripped off.. your feedback really helped me though. ..i feel better..
  • 01_vw_cabrio01_vw_cabrio Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know whether any of these things below are suppose to prompt the check engine light to go on?

    Headlight blew out one bulb
    The reading lights don't work
    The radio needs to be activated (new battery de-activated it)

    I hope it's gone on for one of these reasons nothing mechanical.

    Thank you!!
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8

    If the radio is in safe mode than you need to go to a Volkswagon dealer so they can give you the code for it.. .
    It's a safety option, so thieves can't steal it..I had to do it for mine. ..
    My engine light and airbag light is also on.. the car has been running very well though..
    hope this helps :)
  • 01_vw_cabrio01_vw_cabrio Member Posts: 2
    It certainly does, thank you very much.

    The coolest thing happened yesterday, the check engine light WENT OFF! WooooHoooo!!
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8

    My check engine light has been off for a while, but sometimes it comes back on again :mad: .. fortunately right now it's been off for a while...:)
    the airbag light doesn't seem to wanna go off though. .
    These lights just play games sometimes you know . .
  • driveacabriodriveacabrio Member Posts: 5
    It turned on last night after driving it for about 2000 miles since i bought it. I have a 2001 Cabrio with 67,000 mile. I check this forum last night ang got some ideas. This morning before i started the car, I opened the gas tank and let the pressure go out. I started the car and the check engine light is gone. I hope this will work.
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    thank you very much .. ..i will try that. .:)
    The engine light goes off and on 7 or 8 times a day on mine sometimes. ..
    umm... i've been having more of a problem with the airbag light.. it's been on forever..that's definitely gotta be a defect... I don't think it's an electrical problem..
  • mikkiwmikkiw Member Posts: 1
    I was trying to sell my 96 cabrio and it was working fine until i had someone test drive it and when they came back turned it off and went to turn it back on it would not turn over. So we went out a purchased a new starter thinking that was it but know it still doesn't start. :cry:
  • nemesis5nemesis5 Member Posts: 8
    i had the same problem with mine.. sounds like it could be your alternator.. but mine was just the battery that needed replacing.. .and now it works fine .. i haven't had any problems since.. :)
  • craffieldcraffield Member Posts: 13

    I just traded my 98 Wrangler straight across for a 98 cabrio. The car had 89,000 miles on it some surface rust, but overall very good shape. The dealer had the car listed for 4200.00. In the trade, I know I got the worse end of the deal but the gas in the wrangler was killing me.

  • hallkanehallkane Member Posts: 20
    I hope I can shed some light for a few of you about the check engine light issue.
    I have a 99 GLS and I kept getting a P1582 code when my check engine light came on. It was also hesitating when pulling up hills etc. It is a manual transmission, so I could control the "lugging-down" of the engine to minimize the hesitation, but I could not eliminate it. The P1582 issue has to do with Emissions. We tricked it many times to get it to go off, but eventually could no longer pass the DMV inspection. Over the course of a year or so, we did everything -- changed all hoses, spark plugs, spark plug wiring harness, updated the muffler etc. Here's what we eventually found:
    In the air intake and throttle assembly, we sprayed throttle cleaner and used a brass bristle brush to clean the crud that had collected there. The crud didn't let the throttle reach a fully closed or fully open position...hence the emissions problem. I also have a perpetually quirky position # 3 spark plug. It sparks "dirty" and usually requires the plug and plug wire to be replaced. Between keeping an eye on that plug and keeping the throttle and air intake area clean, I've not had further trouble. Good Luck. My Cabrio now has over 127K miles on it.

  • pstreckpstreck Member Posts: 3
    i have a 01 cabrio and the error code 1582 keeps appearring . idle adaptation at limit what does this mean
  • ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222
    Hi, pstreck, and welcome! You might also want to ask your question in the "Ask the Community" box on the right side of this page. It's a great place to get a quick answer to a quick question.


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  • hallkanehallkane Member Posts: 20
    Check my prior detailed message.
    It involves the flap in your air intake.
    It does not have its usual full range of motion.
  • charocflcharocfl Member Posts: 18
    Wow, sounds like I have a sibling to your 99 Cabrio. I just bought my 99 with 96K miles last month. I to am having the check engine lite go on, several times now after having it reset. I already have had an O2 sensor replace by the dealer before I bought the car but the codes I keep getting are
    P1582 ** Idle Adaptation at Limit
    P0171 ** Fuel Trim,Bank1 System too Lean
    P0442 ** EVAP Emission Contr.Sys.(Small Leak) Leak Detected
    & now P0506 (new) ** Idle Control System RPM Lower than Expected
    Note I found this link which lists all the code details for the 99 Cabrio at:

    My machanic said I need to have a new mass air flow sensor replace to take care of at least one of the codes. I need to do a smoke test to find the leak in the emission control system before he could give me an estimate for repair. But he not even addresed the idle issue yet as this code did not show he ran the engin check read out.

    PS: He also said that the crankshaft forward seal is leaking & should be replaced some time soon. Is this a difficult area to access & are the parts rather expensive as the current estimate is about $550. I am going to seek a few other estimates before I comite to the repairs.

    Also another good link I found....

    Again feedback & suggestions welcome.
    Char O.
    MI, FL
  • hallkanehallkane Member Posts: 20
    Hi Again CharO-- Recognize your name from the other thread.
    You can't speak for the care of your car before you bought it, but I'm the single owner of mine. We have kept a log of all repairs, oil changes etc on our 127K miles. We have never had a seal leak or mass air flow issue etc. If you have the engine hesitation we had, with the check engine light, using the brass bristle brush with spray carbeurator cleaner on the flapper in your air throttle seems worth a try before all the other expenses. The little rod that holds the flapper, had crud on the rod..and wouldn't let the flapper swing open and closed to its max. We were flabbergasted by the simplicity of the repair for all our headaches. To be sure, we've had other repairs (a starter, water pump, shocks, wheel bearings) but nothing as troublesome as the P1582 issue! I have no complaints about the repair needs of my VW -- except for that one.
  • kdeaneskdeanes Member Posts: 1
    Where can I find instructions on how to clean this part? My Check engine light is on and ran the diagnostics. This showed a problem with the MAF sensor. From everything that I've read it could just need a good cleaning. Does anyone know how much it would cost to have this part replaced?
  • mte2mte2 Member Posts: 1
    Sorry don't have an answer for you. But I wonder if you can tell me where is the connector to plug in the diagnostics reader. I just went to the auto parts store to get a read out for a check engine light on my 2001 Cabrio, but they cannot locate the plug in.

    Can you help out?

  • angelchicagoangelchicago Member Posts: 38
    The diagnostic connector can be found directly above the cigarette lighter. It is covered by a rectangular plastic cover, which if you look real close has a diagnostic emblem on it. It is easy to pry open and pop out, but be careful as it comes off with a jerk and I tend to scratch my hand everytime I pop it off.
  • hbullishbullis Member Posts: 5
    Anytime any car won't start make sure battery cables are tight and CLEAN. It is a common problem for a cable to become loose and loose connection. Especially if tehy are not kept clear of corrosion.
  • ldarden08ldarden08 Member Posts: 1
    when i start the car the a/c light flashes on and off and then it stops flashing while i am driving?
  • tbyirdtbyird Member Posts: 2
    I am experiencing a ODBII Code P0341 cam sensor problem. I believe this is the sensor on the distributor. There is no other sensors on the engine besides the crank. I replaced the sensor and cleared the code. The code reappears. The timing belt was replaced.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you Kurt
  • vapetevapete Member Posts: 2
    had my daughters car popped with two codes:
    p1296 - fuel air control
    don't remenber code number but is was coolant temp incorrect
    i cleared the codes as the car seems to be running fine and they have not returned

    any help?

    2.0L with 69500 miles. recently purchased.
  • dsinatoredsinatore Member Posts: 7
    My 2000 Cabrio just failed inspection because of the OBD. A few issues that needed to be addressed were taken care of. One was a new coil which caused the car to stall on the highway. Car has always been a tough car to start and hopefully the coil will repair this. Is this a nagging problem with the 2L engine? Back to the codes though, I have a total of 5 code issues. Three of them I think are related to the coil issue. P0300, P0302, P0303 Misfire cylinders. The 2 other codes appear to be a conflict on each other. P1128 - Long Term Fuel Trim mult.,Bank1 System too Lean and P0172 - Fuel Trim,Bank1 System too Rich. This is a bit confusing to me. One code too rich other code too lean.

    Anybody have this problem before?

    To top it off, the check engine light isn't even coming on. Did a bulb burn out?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • jcashelljcashell Member Posts: 2
    I was driving in the rain on the highway today and the car started sort of chugging and the engine light came on. The car died. now this happened on a winter day a year ago after I had gassed up the car. I used dry gas and it corrected it. Im not sure that the engine light had come on that time though. I can start the car and move it in the driveway. The light is still on though. I had it towed off the highway. Just wondering if anyone has encountered this problem. thanks Jean

    I gassed up the car yesterday, and it is a 99 cabrio.
  • celested9celested9 Member Posts: 1

    I just bought a used 2001 Cabrio and yesterday a warning symbol appeared on the dash. It looks like an engine with a lightening bolt through it. The car still runs but I don't want to damage anything by continuing.

    What do I need to do?

    Thx. Celeste
  • donewithvwsdonewithvws Member Posts: 47
    It's so funny reading all these posts because my 02 Cabrio has had most of these things happen. There's been so many that I can't really remember the fixes off the top of my head but if anyone is desperate for a fix they can't figure out, let me know and I will check with my repair guy (we've become good friends after my Cabrio has been in there so many time).

    The latest fixes I can remember:

    The stalling out problem in the rain was resolved by simply replacing the coil. I have had some similar issues in the past after filling up like some previous posts and one time I think replacing the fuel filter helped but we never really figured out what exactly the problem was there.

    Wheel bearings have always been a problem on this car and have had to repair/replace several times.

    In addition, the car's underneath always seems to get rusted out around the muffler, etc. and eventually leads to having to weld the pipes together or replace the entire exhaust sysytem..

    My little temperature light had been coming on, which ended up being a leak in the coolant tank.

    My check engine light is now on, which my repair guy says is because the car needs a new cadalytic converter (an emissions thing so will not pass inspection unless fixed) and also needs a new radiator (which is something that has to be done asap).

    My E-break light is now on as well which is something related to one of the e-break cables. The e-break still works however. I've always had problems relating to the e-break.

    So with several sensor lights on, and several problems on this car in the past, I feel your pain. I have had a lot of fun in this car, but for a 2002 and having been the sole owner of this car, seems like more problems than normal, especially compared with a Honda as mentioned previously. My repair guy agrees.

    This is why, despite my love for the car, I have finally decided to move on (after several years of my repair guy telling me to do so) to a Honda or Toyota.

    Again, if anyone has particular problems they want to discuss with me, I'm sure I've had them and can make a few recommendations, but my best recommendation would be to trade it in and get a more reliable car, unless you don't do much driving and just want a little convertible to chug around your town in. And NEVER go to the dealer unless your car is still covered under warranty. Go to some one you trust!

    I've decided to trade my 02 Cabrio with 138k miles in for a Prius 2010. I am only getting 2300 for my trade-in, which they say is the 'auction value' but you could probably get more if you trade-in at a car retailer that also sells VWs because the KBB trade-in value is more like 4-5k, and it helps to not have a bunch of miles and warning sensors on. I would not trade-in for another VW though. Too many problems and most private repair shops dont have the computers to read the german cars.

    Good luck!
  • detaildavedetaildave Member Posts: 7
  • rhondadrhondad Member Posts: 1
    My 2002 Cabrio also has that light with the lightening bolt through it- :cry: I have no idea what it means- have you figured it out yet?
  • detaildavedetaildave Member Posts: 7
    replaced oil pump,still have same problem.looking for pressure relief valve on a 95 vw cabrio.does anybody know where it is.
  • detaildavedetaildave Member Posts: 7
    i had the same problem with my 95 cabrio.Turned out to be the cam sensor.
  • craffieldcraffield Member Posts: 13
    I have gotten a No Link message on the emissions code reader device - actually on three seperate devices. I believe I have a problem with the computer that it reads. Has anyone else experienced this, and if so - What may be causing the problem.
    I just had the Catalytic Converter and exhaust to the rear of the car replaced and the place that did the exhaust said his two devices couldn't link to the computer either.
    If anyone has a clue, please help.

    Kelly in CT
  • peter45peter45 Member Posts: 2
    I had same problem it was related to the radio I unplugged all wires to radio and they were able to read the code something to do with the radio???
  • myvwhatesmemyvwhatesme Member Posts: 1
    The MIL is the least of the problems we have had in the only 5k miles we have owned this lemon, which only has about 54k miles in total on it. The code we get from our reader is P0455, aka evap. emission control. At times, the light has stayed off for weeks after a reset, which seems odd because either there is a leak or there isn't, I would think. We have tried all sorts of things, incl. the usual gas cap replacement. Currently it comes on regularly after a few drive cycles. Any thoughts on this?

    Today I had yet another disturbing interlude: after very heavy Florida cloudbursts, it suddenly stalled and died on me at a stop sign. I was able to start it again easily but a few miles later after going through a big puddle, it stalled and died again, and this time it took me a little longer to restart it. My husband sprayed WD-40 on all sorts of parts, and it didn't die on us anymore after that. Of course, he was driving because I wouldn't anymore.

    I could go on with more interesting anecdotes, but I don't want to bore you. :mad:
  • ceramicladyceramiclady Member Posts: 2
    2000 Cabrio convertible. OK. Talk about a rock and a hard place! Emissions says they can't test the car until the drive cycle is complete. The mechanic says we can't get a waiver until the car actually fails an emission test. We have taken it to a VW dealership and they have kept it for 11 days now. They think someone disconnected the engine light. It has never been on since I have had the car.(3 mos). Anyone else have THIS problem? :cry:
  • ceramicladyceramiclady Member Posts: 2
    I am going through the same thing. Emissions can't test it, mechanic can't give a waiver until it actually fails. I have owned my Cabrio for 3 mos and the check engine light has NEVER shone. The VW people think it is unplugged. Has anyone answered you?
    [email protected]
  • pinatapinata Member Posts: 2
    Boy, can I relate to your blog! However, my cute little red Cabrio convertible has only 25,000 miles (driven by a little old lady!) and yet I seem to have it at a mechanic every other month. Thus far, they have only replaced a hose, and some other minor thing, but usually they find nothing (even certified Volkswagon mechanics--NOT the dealer), the light is out for a few weeks and then suddenly it comes on again, and another trip to the mechanic! Luckily, unlike you, I haven't had any serious problems while driving, but that dashboard light is driving me so crazy, I, too, am thinking of telling my cute little car goodbye!
  • pinatapinata Member Posts: 2
    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, Celeste, but my 2002 Cabrio has less than 25,000 miles on it but has had that nasty red engine light lit up on dashboard more times than I can count. First few times, mechanic found minor adjustments, however, now the mechanics are at a loss for a solution, so they get the light off and two weeks later, it is back on! Very frustrating to say the least.
  • detaildavedetaildave Member Posts: 7
    its fixed.i dis-connected the wire going to the oil sending unit(the one sitting on top of the oil filter) and connected it to a good ground ,and the beeping and the light have stopped. it now has 205 k on it.
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