2004 Volkswagen Jetta

I have three occasions when I have been driving my 2004 VW Jetta and it will not move once I have stopped at a red light or stop sign. I put my foot on the gas and the car won’t go. Does anyone have any ideas what this problem is?

NO, with the information you give, you are raising a number of questions.

  1. How many miles on the car

  2. Has the fuel system ever been serviced?

  3. Have the spark plugs and other electrical items been serviced?

  4. Does the car idle smoothly when stopped and in gear (automatic)?

As you can see, there are a large number of potential causes, but basically an engine needs the right amount of AIR, the right amount of FUEL, and it needs a SPARK at the rignt time.

If you tell us the exact maintenance history, we can zero in closer as to what your problem could be, The posters on this board are smart, but they are no clairvoyant.

Thank you for the response.

  1. 60,000 miles on my Jetta

  2. I bought this car used and to my knowledge the fuel system has not been serviced.

  3. No spark plug changes have been made. I bought the car and it had 52,000 miles on it. Bought from the VW dealer.

  4. Yes, the car does idle smoothly when stopped and in gear.

I hope this helps. I am learning along the way.

Thanks; I’m not a VW expert, but at 60,000 miles the plugs should still fire regularly. I would be zeroing in on weak fuel delivery, or improperly functioning mass air sensor.

When cars had carbuetors this was a common problem when the accelerator pump was not funtioning and the engine starved for fuel.

It would seem that you car needs the modern version of a “tuneup”. I would take it to a good mechanic, preferably one who knows VWs and let him diagnose what’s wrong. Since no CEL or other engine light comes on, we can only guess.

If your fuel pump was failing you would not be able to go at all. So sensois are a likely cause.

The dealer will likely replace everything that could be replaced, and stick you with a $800 bill. That’s why you need a good diagnostic mechanic. Be prepared for at least new plugs, air filter, perhaps one sensor, fuel filter, possible PCV valve. These are normal “tuneup” items.

I had trouble with my car in January and had to have the thermostat replaced along with the timing belt which cost me $1,000.00. I do know of a good mechanic, but he is not real close to home. I want to get the car fixed and sell it.

Wait a minute. I see all kinds of advice that can do nothing for what you’re describing.

Q: You stop the car …the engine is IDLING JUST FINE. No shaking. It’s RUNNING JUST FINE. You push on the gas pedal and NOTHING HAPPENS? The engine ignores your throttle input? IS THAT CORRECT?

A: Then you’ve got some throttle by wire issue - which I was unaware that VW used.


Q: You are driving along JUST FINE. Slow and stop and engine CUTS OUT/Carries on like a coffee can full of rocks and shakes and quivers when you push on the gas pedal??

We do need more specifics as to what is happening. ‘car won’t go’ can mean many different things. Does the engine rev, but it won’t move? Let’s get some more details as to what is going on before we continue to diagnose this issue. Knowing which engine you have would also be good. Four cylinder gas? Four cylinder turbo gas? Six cylinder gas? Four cylinder turbo diesel?

Having to replace the thermostat and timing belt does not mean you got a lousy car. Your timing belt is a maintenance item which has to be replaced at specific mileage/time intervals. Any car can have the thermostat fail. They are all basically the same: sheetmetal, a spring, and a capsule of wax. Let’s get some more details so we can try to shed some light on what is going on.

Sounds like your transmission is an automatic and that it has problems. Jetta’s have a sealed “no service” auto transmission. There is no trans fluid dipstick to check fluid level and condition. Your trans seems to be acting like it is low on fluid.

Take the car to an independant transmission specialty shop (not a chain shop like AAMCO, or Lee Myles) and they will drop the trans pan and see what is going on. Perhaps you just need more and new fluid, perhaps your trans is bad. If you take the car to AAMCO they will tell you the trans is bad that’s why you need to go to an independant shop.

I believe “A” is correct. VW does use drive be wire, in at least some of their cars.

Frankly I am amazed at the number of answers that seem to be replying to a different post with different problems.

Do your RPM’s rise when this happens? (look at the tachometer adjacent to your speedometer).

If they are not your car has drive by wire which means the throttle pedal is connected electrically to your engine (eg no cable) and likely has a fault. Usually this illuminates an indicator on the dash.

If the above is not the case I would suspect if automatic transmission it is slipping. You need to take it somewhere and get it checked including fluid level of transmission. There is not self check for automatic transmission fluid as it has sealed with “lifetime” fluid. Cross your fingers the “lifetime” has not come about.