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VW Beetle Lost Acceleration

I have a 2003 new beetle with a manual transmission. It has about 60K miles. I was driving down the freeway (about 60mph steady, not stop and go), and my car suddenly lost all acceleration. Pressing on the gas did not rev the engine. Otherwise, my car was on. I pulled over and put it in first and it still would not go. However, when I turned my car off and back on, it started like a charm and I was able to move and accelerate. .

I took it to the mechanic and they could not find anything wrong with it except that the battery was low. I don’t think that could be the problem, could it? I’d hate to bring the car back out on the freeway, but how can I fix it if there’s nothing wrong with it.

Check the simple, cheap things…Rodent nest in air filter box, plugged fuel filter. Then you can move on to water in the gas, plugged catalytic converter…

This car does use drive by wire I believe which may be failing. Basically a instead of mechanical cable an electronic version does does the work.

Thanks for responding :slight_smile: what is drive by wire? How do I explain this to my mechanic so he can check it?

Drive by wire simply means the throttle plate (which moves and admits varying amounts of air to the engine depending on what your right foot is doing) is controlled electronically rather than with a cable or as in the real old days, a series of metal rods and linkages.

It’s possible a drive by wire problem could set one of any number of codes so scanning it first would help.
If no codes are present it’s possible that given the low miles on the car for the age that the throttle body could be gummed up and the throttle plate sticking. Cleaning could possibly solve this if that’s the case; knock on wood.

I noticed this happened to me when is was in between gears in my automatic beetle, if it happens again you should let it drop a whole gear and accelerate when is it between gears. Accelerating in mid gear doesn’t accelerate the car for some reason.

This also happened to me on the freeway and is very dangerous!

I’m inclined to consider Raj’s suggestion an excellent possibility. If the ECU thought the oedal had gone to null, it’d bring the engine back to idle. With no other signal to tell it there’s an error, it’d also not store a fault code.

To the OP: you did the right thing, took the right actions. I don’t think you need to be afraid of the car. Your responses kept you safe. If it happens again, they may need to hook the accelerator pedal up to a meter and play with it to see what’s going on. Even then, this one might be tough to duplicate. Unfortunately, there’s no good definitive way to troubleshoot these unless they can be gotten to duplicate the problem.

It could also be a bad brake pedal sensor. The engine control module is receiving a signal that the brake pedal has been depressed, so it ignores the signal from the accelerator pedal and the engine drops to idle speed.

There may have been a recall on the brake pedal sensors for your year and model Volkswagen.