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Jetta 'powers out' while driving

I drive a 2002 Jetta with a turbo engine. In the past 2 months, my car has ‘powered out’ or shut down while driving - I can’t accelerate, it is hard to steer, doesn’t really brake well and although the dashboard lights remain on, my car dies on me. So far, I have been able to restart the car with little problem and she usually starts on the 1st or 2nd try. My dealer/mechanic had the car for a day, test drove it numerous times, checked the computer, battery, connections, etc. and can find no reason for this behavior. The last time this happened, it was raining outside; I don’t remember what the weather conditions were the first time this happened. I have kept the car well maintained throughout the years. Any ideas? Many thanks.

I would suspect (a) faulty ignition switch or (b) faulty coil. Do some online research looking for Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) from VW to see if there are known problems with these components on your model/ year. I know that VW did have a period of bad ignition coils, when they replaced a lot of them under recall.

This NHTSA summary is practically impossible to read, but what I think it says is that your year Jetta had a coil problem that resulted in your symptoms, and VW had a campaign to replace the faulty coils. Theydidn’t call it a “recall” but a “customer satisfactioin campaign.” Have your dealer replace the igntion coil pack under this “campaign,” and I’ll bet it will solve your problem.

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/problems/defect/results.cfm?action_number=DP05004&SearchType=QuickSearch&summary=true

jesmed - thank you! I’ll double check my maintenance receipts to see if this was ever addressed. I’m pretty religious in acting on ‘recalls’ or ‘campaigns’. I really appreciate your input.