By November 3, 20060 Comments Read More →

Volkswagon Passat Engine Hard To Start – Dies at Idle Sometime

Reader Question

Hello – I hope you can help me because I have lost faith in the dealer’s service as well as the garages I have tried around here, on various things in the past – so I have not taken this problem to any of them.

About 6 months ago I went to Jiffylube for a routine oil change. This was my 1st experience with Jiffy. They said I should really put synthetic and I said ok. As soon as they finished it, when I started driving it, the engine started stopping almost every time I stop in a signal or put it in neutral. I took it back to them and the guy there swore their work had nothing to do with it. They said they’ll do the oil change free a second time just in case and they did it. I don’t know what all they did because in that shop they don’t let customers watch the work. Anyway, this time, the car didn’t stop in every signal but less ofter.

I took it to the VW dealer. They said the transmission fluid was low and took care of it. Along with it they also said I needed new CV something and a few other things and I ended up paying$1700!

After about a month or so I suddenly one day the car wouldn’t start. I towed it twice, thanks to the good peopel in AAA. Again took it to dealer. This time they said the battery has failed and for $180 they put in a new battery.

After about a week from when the battery was changed I started getting starting trouble – The battery was strong and it will keep cranking but the engine wouldn’t start. Then by tial and error I found that at a particular point when cranking if I give it gas it would start! The Check Engine light will come and go! One day when I stopped for gas and tried to restart the same thing happened. The gas stn attendant said it sounded like the fuel injenction needed cleaning and asked me to pour a bottle of STP with each tank of gas for a month. I did this religiously for 4 fillings and matters improved a lot – but something funny happens

Now when I start the car in the morning or after a 2 hour gap it starts just fine as if it is a brand new car. But if drive it for 10 mins or more and the shut the engine of, if I try to start it keeps cranking and I have to give it gas at an opportune time before it starts.

Sorry for the long email but I wanted to explain the history – any suggestion will be appreciated.

Hi there,

Wowow you have been through the ringer lately. First off I have to say I am not really experienced with VW, we just don’t see very many of them in my shop. To me, it sounds like the throttle body and the Idle speed control motor are probably dirty with carbon build up and need to be cleaned….at least this is what would probably cure the situation if this was an American car. If you want to just take a guess at something, I would have your local mechanic…even an oil change place, clean the throttle body for you, which should be cheap and easy to do. If nothing else, it really should be done as maintenance anyway regardless if it solves your problem.

I would also have someone look and listen for a vacuum leak under the hood with the engine running. There is a good chance that the first botched oil change knocked a vacuum connector or a sensor connector loose. I would take a hard look under the hood for anything that has come unplugged or broken.

Especially around the air filter area, also make the sure the air filter case is properly closed and there are no air leaks or sensor wires that are loose or broken. Those fast lube places love to sell air filters, so they probably took yours out to inspect it and there is a good chance they pulled something loose or broke something in the process.

There is also something called a throttle position sensor, and since you can manipulate the gas pedal to start the engine, and the fact that the check engine light is coming on…well, it would cause me to get the dealer….yes dealer, to at least diagnose the problem.

They can read the onboard computer codes and determine what is happening…or has happened. The computer system on this car is not something Jiffy Lube or any oil change place is going to have experience with…in fact, most general repair shops might not be able to diagnose this type of problem. So, I hate to say it…but you might want to revisit your dealer…or find another dealer in your area and build a relationship with them.


Austin Davis

Posted in: Won't Start Issues

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