I am not mechanically inclined anyway, but this problem is a new one. Just started few days aga, I only drive the car a few days a week, when it decides to act up, these are the problems I've noticed so far, they all occurr together: "brake" light indicater comes on, fan doesn't go on, no headlights, not even all day running lights, windshield wipers come on when I flick for high beams, they only come on for a few seconds while I'm press ing the arm, other than that they don't go on. I can park, turn the car off, come back and start it up, all of these problems will be gone, then next time I start it they may be back again. I'm not sure if I have noticed all of the problems yet,this is still quite new. when I mentioned it to my son, he thought it might be the relay, but the next time I mentioned it (don't think he was totally listening the first time), he thought there were too many problems for it to be a relay...asked if a chipmunk was living under the hood. Please Help!
I previously had a similar problem on a Toyota. Beleive it or not, the corrosion that started on the battery terminal worked its way into the wiring of the vehicle and eventually corroded all the wiring -- even fuse box. The car started doing strange things.
Maybe something to check on your car.
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You could replace the sending unit to cross it off the list of possible problems. You could check resistance cold and then with the engine at normal temp too. The gauge on the dash could be faulty too.
I assume the doors can be manually locked. The problem is in the electrical circuit. That means anything from a faulty switch (the lock / Unlock button) to a loose connection. If both switches don't work then look for a blown fuse. If one switch works and the other doesn't than remove the switch and inspect its connection. If it's ok then check the switch. If both switch and connections are OK then you'll have to remove the door panel and access the lock mechanism.
Since you are mechanically inclined, now is the opportunity for your electrical skills.
Disconnect the plug from the back of the dashboard switch, and using a VOM (Volt-Ohm-Meter) check the plug for current when you turn on the ignition key.
The hot lead should immediately work.
If the electric meter shows the same intermittent reading you are describing, it is time to fine the relay that controls the current to that switch.
It may be under the dash, or more probably under the hood. Perform the same tests with the plug to that relay.
You should find the problem either with the switch or the relay.
Oh, yes, one more thing.
I had these same problems and found rusted/corroded wires inside the plugs, look for those with a magnifying glass.
God bless your efforts,.
pop off the distributer cap and dry it out well. Put it back on and it should work. This happened to my 97 jetta too...also if I go through large puddles at a quick speed this may happen too. There isn't good electrical contact with the moisture.
It could very well be your ignition switch may be damaged/need to be replaced. common problem 97's I have seen 3 like this so far. if you turn the key to lock the car and your alarm beeps to tell u it is active then its not the alarm and is very likely the ignition switch. you can cross the terminals to start the car until it is fixed. also be sure to check the relays and fuses as well.
I had a similar problem with my Jetta, and it turned out to be the fuel filter. It was a cheap fix, just make sure you fill the new filter with fuel before installing so you do not have an issue starting it again.