Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Spun into a snow drift - what should I watch out for?

I was driving on a country road at about 45mph when I came over a hill and ran into about 6 inches of snow on the road. When I hit the snow, my car did a 180 and wound up in the ditch. The front end was still partially on the road with the rear sitting mostly in the ditch. Together with about 6 friendly passerbys, we were able to get it out of the ditch. We did ‘rock’ some, but never switched too quickly from REV to D or vis-a-versa.

On the way home, once the accelerator was hard to depress, as though there was something blocking the pedal, but there was not. This has happened since then as well, on occasion. The car also seemed to not want to shift once from 5/6, it revved a little higher than usual.

I’m wondering what I could have messed up in this spin out. Have any ideas? Why would the accelerator be difficult to depress? I’m nervous to take it to a mechanic and say what happened on the chance that they will run up unnecessary charges.

The car is a 2008 VW Rabbit, with about 25K on it. It has a AT with the sport shift (rarely used).

Steve: Lot of speculation here. take each problem one at a time. Check the accelerator linkage. I would bet you bent it. If like my dodge K car cheap. AT probably the same thing. bent linkage. Could be the linkage turned on the shaft but again it is part of an adjusting processs. Since you don’t have a Mechanic or friend capable of doing the work look in this web site for mechanics in your area. You can always take it to them for an estimate. That way you are not committed for big $. Get a couple of estimates to make you feel secure in your decision. best of luck

The accelerator probably has no linkage whatsoever mechanically. I believe most modern cars and especially VW are drive by wire.

If the problem persists with the AT I would visit your VW dealer. Don’t tell them what happened as it may not be related whatsoever. Just tell the symptoms clearly as possible.

Look in your Owner’s Handbook for “Electronic Throttle Control” (or, some similar wording). Some call this “drive by wire” because there is no mechanical linkage from the gas pedal to the engine throttle plate…it’s done with electric sensors (potentiometers) and little electric motors. So, the impact with the snow didn’t contact these components. The dealer may have a service bulletin on the Electronic Throttle Control problem (that doesn’t, necessarily, make it free).

I believe that the 2008 Rabbit is drive-by-wire. If this is indeed the case, it would rule out linkage would it not? I guess the problem would then be with the electronic sensors? I’m going to drive it for a few days and see if the problem persists and take it to the dealer. I may try to get underneath and take a look for myself. Thanks for your help!

Since this issue was not mentioned by anyone else, I will suggest that you have the exhaust system checked.

Going into a ditch could definitely lead to a separation in the exhaust system, and since carbon monoxide is odorless, you would not know that there was a problem until you began to suffer from physical symptoms–and that could be too late.

Have the exhaust system checked, and also have a friend drive behind you to observe whether or not you might have bent a wheel when you went into that ditch.

You won’t see any throttle components underneath the car. Look in the driver’s foot well—forward.