Volkswagen Pasat...burned engine harness


My son’s car started smoking inside the car. The engine harness/wires had burned.The dealer said a cell phone charger on the floor must have gotten caught in the seat track and the seat going back and forth started a spark that caused the wired to burn. IS THIS POSSIBLE? ( The charger looked fine) Thanks for any info.


Since the cell phone plugs into the cigarette lighter, this means it should be on a protected electrical circuit; the fuse and possibly a fusible link should have popped first before frying a harness.

That is the entire purpose of fuses and links - to prevent that happening.

Without a schematic I’m guessing a bit, but almost all electrical circuits on the car are fused and linked.
The ones that are not would be the battery cables to the starter and possibly the main wiring between the battery and alternator. The latter is a possibility if vibration, etc. chaffed through the insulation and bare wire hit metal ground.

Another possibility is if someone has been doing some dinking around with the wiring, adding things (extra fog lamps? etc.) that are overloading some non-fused wiring.

Offhand, I don’t see this seat track business as a possibility but then again, I’m not there.
One would think if this scenario was true that the cell phone charger wiring would be damaged and burnt.


Extremely unlikely. The lighter fuse would have blown first. That’s what it’s for. Plus, most accessories that plug into the lighter have their own fuses. And the charger likely steps the voltage down to 5 volts or so–if it shorted, it would blow an internal fuse or fry the electronics in the charger–not the car’s wiring harness. VWs are known for bizarre electrical problems–does the burnt wiring go to the lighter, or somewhere else?


thanks for your response…I should have side that the cell chargere was not plugged in…just loose under the seat…don’t know if that changes anything…thanks again sue


thanks for your thoughts I should have said that the cell charger wasn’t plugged in…just loose under the seat, if that makes any difference…thanks sue


I think the dealer has no idea why the harness burned and is just throwing a lame excuse out there so they can sound knowledgeable.

Unless the factory wiring has been dinked around with, all wiring should be protected by fuses and fusible links. The only thing I can think of would possibly be a bared lead from the alternator as these do not normally have a fusible link in line.



The engine harness/wires had burned.
A fried wiring harness ? that is going to cost a bundle to repair.


Is this vehicle under any warranty? If so this is not an acceptable excuse for VW to deny coverage.

However sadly if out of warranty this is an extremely expensive repair to one find the root cause and then fix/replace the harness itself.