VW Jetta Won’t Start Sometime – Starter Motor Burns up With Key Off

Reader Question I will give you all the details i have on this…maybe you can shed some light on what I should do…

I have a 1997 VW Jetta (auto) with a 2.0 L engine. About a month ago, the car suddenly wouldnt start. So a mechanic I knew helped me to replace the starter. We thought the problem was solved. It was not. One week after replacing it, on a trip to KY the starter went out again.

We figured the other one must have been faulty and so replaced the starter in the parking lot of a gas station so we could return home. We realized that one sign of the starter failing was the fact that the blower and windshield wipers wouldnt work even if the car was running at the time. (This happened the first time also). I took the car into the shop immediately upon returning home to have the starter inspected and make sure the flywheel was intact. The shop i took it too assured me my car had a clean bill of health.

Less than two weeks following that visit, my blower and windshield wipers quit on me again-so I drove the car immediately to the repair shop. Again-The starter had blown on it. Needless to say I was very angry. I paid to have them inspect the entire electrical system and repair the starter. They could find nothing wrong except that the ignition was “a little sticky” so they oiled it and sent me on my way.

25 miles and 12 hours later. I went to start my car and though it started, there was a strange noise from under the hood. I quickly turned the car off and took my key out of the ignition. The hissing continued. I popped the hood only to realize that my starter was still engaged and smoking as it burned up. I had the car towed to the shop and waited on their next verdict.

Two days later they informed me that my ignition switch was bad and was replaced along with yet another starter. I figured that my car was fixed. Not so.

That night my car would not turn over, though this time there was a clicking sound. We jumped the car and it ran fine for 2 days. When i tried to start it then it would not turn over. We figured my battery was shot, since we could hear the starter trying to turn over. We went out, bought a new battery and replaced. 3 starts later, I again heard that same hissing noise as before-my starter engaging. In an effort to save yet another starter, we unhooked the battery and called a tow truck to take it to the shop.

Now the repair shop is trying to tell me that the starter was faulty (the solenoid). They are keeping it for further testing, but I find it very hard to believe after all these starters and a new ignitoin switch that just a simple starter is bad.

I have a remote start that i have rarely ever used (someone else had it installed) and when i have used it it does not always work. Could it be this remote starter that is causing the problem or is it an electrical relay or wire problem. I do not trust my current mechanic and i want this problem solved as I am sick of it!!!

Thank you very much

Hey There Andi


Wowow…sounds like a great one!!! Before I got to the point where you told me about it…I thought…”does this guy have a remote starter system”?? I would remove the system and see what happens.

Definitely sounds strange, but something is supplying the starter battery power with the key off…the ignition switch does this, but you replaced it, so does a remote start system…so get it removed.

Keep me posted.


Austin C. Davis

Reader Update

I had the same thoughts as you, and as such had the remote starter removed asap. I have had the car back now for 10 days and so far no reoccuring problems. Hopefully we got it! Thanks for the advice


Posted in: Won't Start Issues

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