My engine light came on about two weeks ago. I got in the car to go to work in the AM. It started ok but the engine started “chugging” the first couple of miles with the check engine light flashing on and off. The check engine finally came on and stayed on. Took it to the dealer. They ran a “scan” on it and spent 2 hours looking but couldn’t find the source. They cleaned the fuel injectors. Told me to buy a tank of Premium and sent me on my way. The car ran fine up until yesterday morning. Then this morning chugging and the check engine light flashing on an off. I didn’t stay on this time though. It seems to happen early morning when it’s cold and wet. Not freezing. Overnight into the morning there was a mix of freezing rain turning to light snow. Little accumulation but it seems to be the moisture that matters more. Similar weather condition to when it happened last time. I had a heavy duty super duper VW dealer tune-up done in April. Seems to run ok when it’s very cold or warm and dry. It’s when it’s wet and around freezing when the problem starts. I live up North so that’s about 9 month out of the year weather.
Is the CE light blinking at a steady rate? That means a serious problem and the car should not be driven as further damage could result, such as a damaged CAT converter.
But this sounds like a misfire due to an ignition problem. I’d check the high voltage wires. Just my guess… not an expert.
Not really. This morning it flashed about a half dozen times before going off. I have a bout a 30 mile drive to work and it never came back on.
If you don’t live in CA then most auto parts stores will read the codes for free. Have it done and post back. Seems like the dealer is not very competent either, tank of premium never fixes anything in a car that doesn’t need it.
Recommending a tank of premium gas is the default recommendation from someone who had no clue as to the actual source of the problem.
When that clueless party is a dealership, it is especially disturbing.
If, as I suspect, the warranties have expired I suggest that the OP take his/her car to an independent VW specialist. Because VW dealerships almost universally have such a dreadful reputation for (pick one or both): overcharging/incompetence, there tend to be more independent shops specializing in VW than in other makes, so it shouldn’t be that difficult for the OP to find an indy VW shop.
I wholeheartedly agree.
In my experience many new car dealerships lack the will to spend the time to search for the cause of a problem unless it’s obvious. Reputable independent shops seem to be much more interested.
The flashing light, a sign of misfiring, combined with the effect that the weather has, suggests to me also that it’s an ignition problem. Perhaps even a bad Crank Position Sensor misbehaving when cold and wet. But I’m just wildly guessing, which is all that’s possible from here. You may want to do a search of VW forums and sites for possible TSBs and/or relevant information. The problem may not be unique to your car.
Let us know how you make out.
Do you know what codes were stored in the ECM memory? I expect it was some kind of misfire code, like an p0300 . If you post the codes the shop read out w/their scanner you’ll get better help here. I’ll take a guess given your post. The association w/the wet weather is consistent with a high voltage ignition system problem happening. You could try spraying the engine compartment with a fine water spray from a spray bottle while it idles and see if that starts the problem. If so then you can narrow down the spot of the engine that is sensitive to the water spray, then your shop should be able to fix it for you.
I’ll add I had a later 70’s VW Rabbit and it was working fine, then one day it wasn’t… It started to completely stall out whenever I drove over a puddle of water. Not even a big puddle, just a little puddle, the engine would die. I’d wait 15 minutes, start it up, and it would go like nothing happened. To figure out what the problem was I took a garden hose and sprayed that engine compartment from every angle conceivable. It would never stall out … lol … Finally I decided to just remove the coil from the firewall and take a look at it on the bench. Sure enough a magnifying glass showed a crack in the4 ceramic body of the coil, on the underside. A new coil fixed the stall outs straight away.
If there were fault codes they would have sold you one or more coils. The problem is for misfires to record a fault it must occur on two consecutive trips. The next time you witness a flashing check engine light, stop and restart the engine. If the misfire repeats there will be a fault stored. Another way is if the check engine light is flashing read the codes before switching the vehicle off.