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VW Jetta Electrical Problems



  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    It is good to hear your "flickering" problem was a simply dirty battery terminal. It is too bad they did not check for this simple thing initially.

    I do not understand how corroded battery terminal caused 'stalling'... but I have seen stranger things than that. (Like bearings wearing out because engine was not electrically grounded - All the electric current was passing thru the bearings!!)
  • Hello, I have a 2005 VW Jetta 2.5. I just bought the car two weeks ago and am trying to work through the few kinks it has. I am trying to diagnose the reason my climatronic system is acting the way it is. The temperature read-outs do not display and the lights do not light up, most of the time. It will then be noticeably flickering if you turn the headlights on and drive around. It seems that as the two weeks have gone on, the flickering has happened more often and just tonight, the temperatures started to display. I have no idea what is going on. I thought it was a faulty climatronic unit, until this happened tonight.

    I believe it is likely some kind of electrical wiring issue or something. My headlights and overhead lights will occasionally get dim and then light back up to the original brightness. Also, for no explainable reason, once I turn the car OFF and have taken the key out, I can still click the power button on the factory radio unit and it turns on and plays just like the key were in.. Ideas?? I'm in desperate need of some help here!

    Thanks in advance!
  • The flickering lights/gauges that light or don't light sound like the voltage regulator is bad. I had a VW that did the same thing, whereby the headlights would dim, then get brighter, then dim etc. It actually burned out the headlights a couple of times.

    Have your favorite mechanic do a thorough electrical system check on the car.

    As for the radio, VW's used to wire the radios so they would be operational even when the car is off. I would either check you owner's manual on the radio operation, or the "accessory" setting function when you have the key in the ignition, but only turned one "click" so accessories will operate. It may tell you under what conditions the radio will operate. If you can't find any information, check with a service department at a VW dealer.

    Hope you enjoy your Jetta. Our family has 2 Jettas, and we thoroughly enjoy each one!

    Bel Air Car Guy
  • hi did you find out what was wrong with your jetta? im having the same problems with mine. the radio blinks, the alarms go off when i try to get out.. the car shuts off when im at stoplights... im so frustrated with this car now but i want to know what the problem is... so if you got yours fixed let me know what the problem was
  • Just recently after a rain storm my 2003 Jetta 2.0L GL has been acting up. When I switch on the left turn signal, the (ASL) Automatic Shift Lock starts engaging/disengaging with the rhythm of the turn signal indicator. The left tail light flashes normally, but the reverse light glows a little as well. Now, with the left turn signal on and when I press on the brake at the same time, the turn signal indicator flashes faster, along with the ASL solenoid engaging/disengaging at the same rhythm of the faster turn signal indicator and my tail light does some crazy light show with all the bulbs on the left tail light flashing. Note: None of these problems occur with the right turn signal. Also, the same issue occurs when I activate the hazards. So somewhere I have a crossed circuit, but I have no idea where. Is there a particular relay where these two circuits meet that could be malfunctioning? Since it's messing with all the bulbs in the tail light, I'm thinking its a wire connector somewhere that got wet or something of the sort. I have torn apart a small portion of my dashboard underneath the steering column to get to the wiring harness's and other hidden relays. Does anyone possibly have a solution or a place for me to start checking to resolve this issue?
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Obviously a bad ground connection somewhere.

    If it were my vehicle, I would clean-up EVERY ground connection I could find.

    By "clean up" I mean
    1) Remove screw holding down the wire-terminator
    2) use Dremel-tool to bare the metal where the connection is made
    3) Also use Dremel to clean up the termination itself
    4) Solder the wire to the termination.
    5) Reassemble

    Since I have the shop manual for the 2003 Jetta, I have the advantage of knowing where all the ground-connections are as well as all the electrical schematics. With some studying, I could isolate the problem to the specific connector which is the issue.
  • I am having some of the same issues as well. I too have a 97 Jetta GL and my power locks aren't working proper, I tried replacing ALL the fuses but it didn't help. I would try to take the door panel off and see if you can't find an issue.

    good luck!

  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    This has been answered several times in the past. Proper use of the "search" function would isolate the answers.

    For your convenience, I will summarize here:

    The microSwitches inside the doors tend to wear out and start sending false signals to the computer. (ie... The door is OPEN and CLOSED at the same time, -or- the door is LOCKED and UNLOCKED at the same time... etc) The computer can respond in unexpected ways.

    The proper "fix" is to tear into the door and replace either the individual switch or the entire circuit-board contaqining all the switches.

    Personally, when my wife took her Jetta in to the dealer and found out it would be several hundred dollars to "fix", she decided to use the key in the door instead of the remote from now on. Hence far, using the key in the door has been able to lock-n-arm the alarm for her.

    If you wish to tackle the problem yourself, there are several websites with step-by-step photos showing how to tear door apart and replace the $7 switches.

    BTW: I know for a fact that the problems with my wife's Jetta started the day after the window was left open during a downpour. Apparently, water got into the 'wrong' place and has been a problem ever since.
  • caneelcaneel Posts: 3
    Jetta 2011 TDI... since it has gotten colder on the east coast, when I leave my Jetta out at night, the driving lights will turn on at some time during the night. IF I park it in an enclosed garage, they don't. VW Princeton updated the computer, but nothing has changed. Still in need of a mechanic or exorcist.
  • You're not alone. My wife's 2011 TDI does the exact same thing (four times now). She parks it outside at work and luckily it's started every far.
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Hey caneel and creepylights: Every time I read another forum article about VW and Audi electrical "phantoms", I can feel my blood pressure and pulse increase. With all the supposedly wonderful Teutonic engineering that VW and Audi brag about, you would think that they could build systems that don't act in such a bizarre fashion. For a 2011 Jetta to have this issue is completely inexcusable, and for a dealer to NOT have an instant fix is even more egregious. I would go back to that dealer and DEMAND in no uncertain terms that they take this car and keep it until it's fixed, and give you a NICE loaner to use during the time they have it. I have owned five V-dubs and two Audis, and except for my 2005 Jetta TDI wagon, they have all had various combinations of power window failures, check engine light issues, oil pressure issues (make sure you use VW 502.00 spec synthetic!!!), wheel bearing problems, door latch "self-lock" phantoms, and other annoying issues. The positive thing...they just seem to keep on running, which I guess explains why, in a recent fit of temporary insanity, I just purchased a near-mint 2003 A6 Avant Quattro w/ 71k in Arizona. And I DO love least for now. Good luck! vwdawg/audiphile1
  • caneelcaneel Posts: 3
    Noticed that when I was in Maine this past weekend (very cold) and the car was outside, the phantom lights came on. Back in NJ, in my garage, they did not. Hmmm...
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Obviously - your car is not certified to be in Maine - LOL
  • Our '02 Jetta started acting possessed about a month ago. First, the "door open" indicator kept turning on while the car was in motion even when all doors and trunk were shut securely. It comes on and off several times a minute. If you shove the driver's door with your elbow, it'll turn off temporarily. Next, the power to the cd player/radio started turning on and off randomly. Using the turn signals seems to make it worse. Now the car alarm goes off at random times while the car is stationary and off. It just went off a moment ago while sitting in my driveway, even though it has been hours since we drove it. Today the car stopped consistently responding to the key remote too. Sometimes it locks the car, sometimes it doesn't. What on earth is going on??!
  • My wife took a video of the car with the lights on and then showing that the car was locked and the switch was off. She brought the video and the car to the dealer. After watching the video, they gave her an Audi to drive while they fixed her car. When she picked it up they said that four more people had contacted them about a similar problem. They replaced the light switch and she asked if that was really the fix or just a starting point they had nothing to say. It's warm today so we'll have to wait and see.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited January 2012
    Not an uncommon problem.
    The microswitches in the door are starting to get flakey. To fix, the door needs to be torn apart and parts replaced.

    BTW: When my wife found out how much it would cost to 'fix' her 2003 Jetta, she opted to NOT get it fixed. DOWNSIDE.... the alarm and keyfob is also affected. (Cannot lock doors with keyfob...must use key in door)
  • A little to late and missed to help you, but maybe some one else will like to have a professional answer. The problem you were having was the ignition switch. The steering wheel must come off along with the air bag and use a bearing puller to pull off a sleeve to get out the blinker switch mechanizm. Once out and placed on a bench there is a little screw that holds the switch into place. Change the switch and your back on the road. I hot wired the starter for a year before i took my precious time to do the job. After enough teasing it became an obsession. Just another hill to climb waiting for the next problem like the transmission shifting great, then out of the blue it dont like over drive or even some times third gear, shut the car off and back to brand new, change the transmission speed sensors, make sure all wiring isall up to par with no corrosion or bare wiring. Great car once your past the gremlins.
  • I just recently got this 97 Jetta and theres some problems:
    1st: the horn doesnt work
    2nd: you have to hold the brights on for the headlights to work.
    3rd: the check engine light is on but it runs fine?

    any ideas?
  • 1. The horn could be a loose wire, or even the horn itself.
    2. Try pushing the headlight stalk the other way. VW's normally have a "flash to pass" feature that you can blink the lights by giving the stalk a quick pull.
    3. Check engine light could be one of many things. No way to know until a mechanic hooks it to a computer and finds out what code the car is giving.

    Sounds like you will need to take this to a shop, at least for the check engine light.

    Bel Air Car Guy
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    You already have answers for #1 and #2

    For #3, most auto-parts stores will gladly "pull the codes" from the computer for you... no charge.

    Once you know the code which is illuminating the CEL (Check Engine Light), post it here so we may have to opportunity to help you.
  • caneelcaneel Posts: 3
    Ii finally noticed that IF you turned the light switch a hair clockwise, the problem did not take place. I then called the Princeton VW dealer, told him the problem again and he agreed to replace the light switch for free. Problem resolved!!!
  • char15char15 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 VW Jetta GL. The other day I took it to the gas station, got gas, and went to start it and it wouldn't start. What did happen was that all the lights in my dash started flickering like crazy, my automatic locks were clicking, a CD came out of my CD player, hazard lights in the dash went on and just a consant ticking sound. No turn over with the engine at all. I jumped it, cables were hooked up for a good 20 minutes and still nothing. I jiggled a few things, and then by the grace of god, it started! I drove it around for a while to charge up the battery (if this was the case). The next morning, I went out and it started right up. A few hours later I took it to the grocery store just fine, then when I went to leave the grocery store... same thing all over again. I sat for a few minutes and kept trying, and then again it started up. This morning I went to go to work, and the same thing again! The engine doesn't turn over at all just the dash lights go nuts and lots of ticking sounds. I do have an automatic car starter that was installed after I got it, but I've had that for 5 or 6 years and it's been fine. I have never replaced the battery, but since it randomly starts is it a battery problem?? HELP!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited March 2012
    Although I have never seen it on a 2003, it is easy to check for the Coolant Migration Problem

    If you are still running the original 2003 battery.... it does not owe you anything and may be ready for retirement.

    Oh-- check the snugness of ALL the connections within the PDU (Power Distribution Unit) which sits on top of the battery. (They are KNOWN to get loose and may actually MELT the plastic due to poor connection.) A 10mm wrench is the right size but DO NOT let it touch anything metal while tightening (direct short across battery will result with lots of sparks!)
  • omgfedupomgfedup Posts: 2
    Nothing is more frustrating than a drained battery I have been having to unplus my battery cables every time i exit the car. I too took it various places with no luck like i said i now just unplug battery.. :confuse:
  • omgfedupomgfedup Posts: 2
    Someone Please HELP!!The EPC Light came on in my car and then the car just shut down.. Looked it up its called Electronic Power Control sugguests I contact dealer ASAP has anyone else had this problem I donot have funds to take to dealer and really need car any and all advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank You :sick:
  • Just got back from 20000 mile service check to find that they still cannot detect the issue I am having with the radio, so I am trying here!!

    Within in twenty minutes of driving, a clicking sound will start from behind my steering wheel and then my radio will do one and/or a combination of the following things: sound will turn on/off; radio lights will flash; radio will just turn off by itself, all while the clicking sound continues.

    Anybody have any ideas??
  • t77t77 Posts: 1
    I own a 2009 VW jetta se with less than 21k miles on it, but the warranty ran out at the end of May 2012. A few days after I experienced my first problem where the rear passenger side window wound itself down by itself and when I tried to wind it up, it would automatically roll back down just before it was about to close completely. I finally was able to get it to stay up by pressing the button a second at a time instead of holding it down. Later that day, the windshield wipers started mpving rapidly on the slowest setting, then slowing down to almost a stop, then going rapidly again. Two weeks later my left blinker started moving rapidly during a short trip, but then was working normally the next trip. Also today, my dash showed a burnt out taillight which worked once I removed the panel and replaced it without changing the bulb. Not serious problems, but I'm worried that it may be electrical and could end up causing a bigger problem soon. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! I am hoping to avoid taking it into the dealership (only one close by and they are awful) especially out of warranty.
  • stix818stix818 Posts: 4
    I'm having a similar issue.. First battery went dead which was about 2 years old.. I took a spare Optima I had just to get me by.. Wife came home at lunch and when she went to go back to work the dash was flashing, can hear things clicking and so on.. The clock would blink on and off. I charged the battery over night no luck.. Put the charger to jump start and got it running but the Tach and other gauges kept coming on and off along with a blinking brake light.. Took the charger off the battery while it was running and it died instantly.. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!!!
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    edited July 2012
    Instead of just replacing things... figure out the problem and FIX it.

    Have you taken voltage readings?
    Is the alternator putting out ~ 14.8 Volts? (across battery terminals)
    Have you removed/cleaned every body-ground you can find?
    Is there any resistance: (voltage drop)
    - between the engine and the chassis?
    - between engine and battery minus?
    - between chassis and battery minus?

    The power-distribution on top of the battery is KNOWN to get resistive if you do not keep the bolts snugged on all of the fuses. In worst cases, fires have resulted. (The effects of underhood environment causes the connections to corrode and become resistive)
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