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2003 1.8T Jetta - Shutting Down Intermittently

I am having a problem with my car stalling randomly. It happens when I am driving and it also happened when the car was idling in the driveway. I believe it to be an electrical problem as there are no lights on the dashboard when I try to turn it over, however after a few minutes it will start and run ok. At first I thought it was the fuel pump, but now I’m not so sure. There is no pattern to when it happens either. When driving the car will start sputtering then stall. i’ll let it sit for a minute or so, then it starts again.

Any ideas on what can be causing this?

It could be the ignition switch is starting to fail and getting intermittent. This theory is: Even when the car is idling in the driveway there’s current going through the I.S. and so it heats up, metals expand, and it fails to conduct electricity, and the engine stalls. let it cool down a while, metals contract, and it works ok for a while.

But there’s no need to wonder about it. You just need a proper diagnosis. Any shop can tell you if the ignition switch is the problem or not, provided you can get the car to their shop when it is failing.

I wouldn’t go on a parts replacing spree for this problem. You can easily run out of money before you run out of guesses. If you wanted to try something at least, you could remove, clean, and re-tighten the battery connectors. I had that problem on my Corolla one time and the symptom was the dash lights would go out, all of them, when I turned the key to “start”. The battery connections were the problem.

Yes, the battery connections are a possible problem. Clean both ends of the cables.

And a flakey ignition switch can cause strange problems. I had one where the switch would not make contact if the temperature was below 10ºF unless I repeatedly cycled it.

My 03 VW GTi just did this to me about a month ago… Since I am a mechanic I could tell it was my fuel pump straight away… the other clue was the fuel pump noise I was getting. I knew it was the pump…but like an idiot…I kept on driving. The day it finally failed I was on the way home and near my local U Pull It salvage yard… My car died about 1 mile from the yard. I pulled the pump plug and it was warm to the touch…so I let it cool a while…was able to get her running and went right into the yard… I installed the “new” pump in the parking lot…and all has been fine ever since.

The factory pump costs over $350 new… I got one out of a 1.8T Jetta and installed it straight away… All good.

When your car shuts down on you… Stop…listen…and turn your key all the way on…you should hear your fuel pump prime for about 1.5 seconds… If you do not hear this…it can be your pump or the fuel pump relay. There are several ways to test this theory…and you should test when the car dies on you.

Your fuel pump is just about old enough to start seeing failures… I just replaced mine in March and we have the same vintage VW’s


My car died about 1 mile from the yard. I pulled the pump plug and it was warm to the I let it cool a while...was able to get her running and went right into the yard... I installed the "new" pump in the parking lot...and all has been fine ever since.

Honda, you must be living a true & chaste life to have that kind of luck! I had to laugh when reading your story, years ago something like that happened to me. Driving my dad’s old work truck on the freeway, 30 miles from home, “bam” the upper radiator hose blew clean apart. Coolant pouring out, steam going everywhere. There was a freeway exit right there, so I turned off the engine and coasted to the end of the off-ramp. Once safely parked off to the side, I look up, and lo and behold, there’s an auto parts store on the other side of the street. They had the exact hose, and even lended me the hand tools I needed to change the hose right there on the off-ramp. I was back in business in something like 20 minutes total.

Lost a fuel pump in my 1972 f150 truck 300 miles into a journey, luckily made it to an auto parts store at 4, that closed at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon and notopen Sunday, changed the fuel pump in the parking lot, boy that gas is cold when it is 18 degrees, when good things happen to baad people.