Question about 1997 Volkswagen Golf

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Runs fine and starts fine (new starter) but once on a while, when I turn the ignition key, nothing happens. No clicking sounds. Nothing. Where do I look?

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  • Volkswagen Master
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Soun like a starter solenoid or alternator problem; what better describes your situation when you turn the ignition key to "Start" position:

- Nothing happens, the starter won't crank.
If nothing happens when you turn the ignition key to "Start" position, means that the starter motor doesn't turn over the engine. Most commonly this could be caused by a dead battery.
However, if the battery is OK, but the starter still won't crank, there could be a number of possible reasons. Here are some of them:
* The ignition switch could be at fault - it's a common problem.
* The starter motor itself is common to fail.
* Starter motor control wire could have bad connection.
* Cars with an automatic transmission have a Neutral Safety Switch that allows the starter to be operated only when the transmission is in "Park" or "Neutral" position. When this switch isn't functioning properly, or for example, when the shifter is not fully engaged in "Park" or "Neutral" position, the starter also won't crank.
* Similarly, cars with manual transmission have a switch installed at the clutch pedal that only allow the car to be started when the clutch pedal is depressed. The problem with this clutch pedal switch could also prevent the starter from operating
* A problem with vehicle's security system or some other electronic control module (e.g, PCM, BCM) may also prevent the starter from operating.

- There is a click but the starter won't crank.
If you can hear a click (quite loud) from the engine compartment, but the starter won't crank, this also could be caused by discharged battery.
If the battery is OK, the starter solenoid, starter cables or the starter motor itself could be a problem.

- The starter cranks very slowly.
This also might be caused by weak or discharged battery.
If the battery is OK, starter cables could have bad connection or the starter motor itself could have a problem. Another reason, the engine could have an internal problem (e.g, lack of oil, very old engine oil, etc.)

- The starter cranks normally, but the engine doesn't start.
At least you know that the starter is working. If the starter cranks but the engine won't start, there could be wide range of problems. Here are some of the most common:
* Problems with fuel delivery system (e.g bad fuel pump, fuel pump relay, clogged fuel screen, etc.)
* Problem with engine electronics (e.g crank sensor, cam sensor, air flow sensor, power relay, engine computer, etc.)
* Ignition system problems, especially on older vehicles with the distributor (e.g bad ignition coil, commutator, rotor, distributor cap, etc.)
* Defective ignition switch
* Problems with vehicle security system
* Internal engine problems (e.g broken timing belt or gear, low compression, etc.)


Battery problems - Discharged or dead battery is one of the possible reasons for a car not to start. Very common is the situation when we forget to turn the lights off overnight (the dome light, for example), which causes the battery to drain. In this case when attempting to start a car, all you will probably hear will be a clicking noise - there won't be enough power to turn the starter. Here is the simple way to check if the battery is discharged: Turn the ignition on. With the engine off, turn the windshield wipers on. If they move way too slow, much slower than usual, the battery is probably discharged. Also look at the dashboard lights - if they appear very dim, the battery is probably discharged.
If the battery is relatively new, it can be recharged. All you need to do is to boost your car and let the engine run for a while to charge the battery.

However if your battery is more than three-four years old, you will probably need to buy a new one. Sometimes, an old battery may even die with no apparent reason, even if the day before it was OK.


Try it and tell us news.

Posted on Jul 29, 2010

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Sounds like your fuel pump is about to fail. Have pressure check run on fuel pump. If low then replace.

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Try cleaning and tightening well the battery connections along with the battery wires to the solenoid and starter motor.

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