2001 VW Jetta - Out of Gasoline Issue


I need help with this weird issue. I have a 2001 VW Jetta GLX with the VR6 engine.

I will be driving on the freeway or surface streets and the car loses all power as if I ran out of gasoline. After about 5-7 seconds, something happens and the engine gets gasoline and full power resumes. the engine never dies, it just doesn’t have enough gasoline or something.

This always happens when the gasoline gauge hits around 1/4 tank. I know it’s not a bad guage since I can drive the car until the gauge shows empty and the fill-up light goes on.

Please help! I’m concerned with my safety since I have recently had to pull over on the freeway because it’s gotten worst.


a new fuel filter comes to mind.

any check engine light coming on?


It’s possible that your charcoal canister or your vent line to it is plugged and your tank is developing a vacuum as the gas is pumped out. The canister is often because it’s saturated from “topping off”, the vent line kinked. Your tank needs to breath in through those as the gas is removed.

Try removing the cap when this happens. If you hear a whooshing and the problem goes away, you’ve found the problem.


If if you don’t have a CEL (Check Engine Light) I would have the car checked for any stored error codes. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.


You may have something other than gas in your tank. (water?)


No, I’ve tried putting in gasoline additives to get rid of any water, clean the injectors, etc. and the problem is still there. This only happens when the gas gauge nears 1/4 tank.


If it’s a dirty gas filter, why would this only happen at 1/4 tank?


It sounds like fuel starvation, either from a clogged filter or a failing fuel pump, probably the latter. It takes more power to push the gas out of the tank as the tank empties.


read nybos post down at the bottom


Thank you everyone! I’m taking the car in this Friday. I found this post on another web site with the same problem as mine, so at least I’m not crazy!

  • Phong.

Fuel System Malfunction Happens sometimes Always

Q: Car is a 2000 VW Jetta. It’s a 4 cylinder with an automatic. When the fuel level gets below 1/4 tank the car sometimes stalls. Temperature has no affect and it will do it while idling or moving, low speed or highway speeds. It’s getting to be dangerous. Dealer has attempted to repair the problem 4 times. It goes in the 5th time this afternoon. Thanks! Alan AEossojr@aol.com

A: Either your electric fuel pump is mis-positioned and begins to cavitate even w/ what would appear to be plenty of gas remaining, or your gas level sending unit is hosed. I’d bet on the latter because I’ve replaced a defective unit on a '96 Passat that was showing the same symptoms (by “unit” I mean check the entire electro / mechanical circuit from your gauge to the actual level sensor).

A word of warning: Make the Dealer replace that electric fuel pump, regardless of what the root cause turns out to be. VW pumps are very sensitive to the effects of running dry, it’s hard on all electric fuel pumps but VW most of all. The lobes in their pumps are made of plastic and when they run dry the speed sprockets and that plastic distorts / burns. It may work for a week, or a year but it will fail on you based on the number of times you’ve already had it run dry on ya… Then you will be stuck, literally…
Good Luck


Before I even read the Q & A post from the website above, just like NYBo, I came to the conclusion that you had a weak fuel pump. After reading what you posted above, now I am even more convinced about your need for a new fuel pump.

However, the comment in the answer, “Make the Dealer replace that electric fuel pump” should be amended to read–“Have your independent mechanic replace the fuel pump”. On a 2001 VW, there is no reason to pay VW dealership prices for repairs, especially in view of VW’s well-earned reputation for lousy customer service.