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Old 24.02.2015, 18:46
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Advice from car enthusiasts please!

I have a VW Passat, bought second hand at the end of last year. I do not know too much about cars so suggestions and advice would be appreciated.

Last week my OH forgot to turn the lights off but was only gone for just over an hour and the car would not start upon returning. I am assuming that I need a new battery as surely after an hour or so with the lights on, the car should still start?

A friendly chap offered to help jump start the car but smoke kept on rising from the jumper cables and the car would not start with them so the car was finally started after being pushed down the hill and jump started like that.

But now there are lots of warning lights on that were not on before; the handbrake, ABS, service warning and another one I don't know are flashing. I took it to a local service garage in my area and was told that as the warning signs depicted - that I need a full service (service only due in another 15 000km), the handbrake and brakes will be assessed and will need work too. Whilst I am completely happy to have work done that is necessary I can't help but feel that there is likely nothing wrong with these areas of the car as all these lights only appeared at the same time after the battery issue! I tried to explain this to the mechanic but he was adament that if the light is flashing, there is a problem with that part and it needs fixing, period.

Not knowing about cars I just have to do what he says but surely the battery issue has caused the lights to flash and does anyone have a suggestion what and why this could be? If there was truely something wrong with the handbrake etc they would have been flashing independantly before and not all have come on simultaneously directly after the battery issue?

Thanks in advance for your responses!
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Old 24.02.2015, 18:54
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

If the vehicle can be driven safely I would suggest to get few other checks from different garages to see if its the same story .

If the initial diagnostic is free I would go to a vw official repair shop too.

Good luck.

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I have a VW Passat, bought second hand at the end of last year. I do not know too much about cars so suggestions and advice would be appreciated.

Last week my OH forgot to turn the lights off but was only gone for just over an hour and the car would not start upon returning. I am assuming that I need a new battery as surely after an hour or so with the lights on, the car should still start?

A friendly chap offered to help jump start the car but smoke kept on rising from the jumper cables and the car would not start with them so the car was finally started after being pushed down the hill and jump started like that.

But now there are lots of warning lights on that were not on before; the handbrake, ABS, service warning and another one I don't know are flashing. I took it to a local service garage in my area and was told that as the warning signs depicted - that I need a full service (service only due in another 15 000km), the handbrake and brakes will be assessed and will need work too. Whilst I am completely happy to have work done that is necessary I can't help but feel that there is likely nothing wrong with these areas of the car as all these lights only appeared at the same time after the battery issue! I tried to explain this to the mechanic but he was adament that if the light is flashing, there is a problem with that part and it needs fixing, period.

Not knowing about cars I just have to do what he says but surely the battery issue has caused the lights to flash and does anyone have a suggestion what and why this could be? If there was truely something wrong with the handbrake etc they would have been flashing independantly before and not all have come on simultaneously directly after the battery issue?

Thanks in advance for your responses!
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Old 24.02.2015, 19:13
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

You probably did something wrong when you tried to jump the battery. Try taking the negative pole out for about 5-10 minutes and then connect it again.

That's the black wire, noted also as (-) on your battery. Don't take out the positive one, you'll short it if it touches metal on the car.


It's highly unlikely that you need to check handbrake etc right after a flat battery. If one of the lights on your dash is this then you can easily diagnose it with an OBD reader and see what's wrong.

If you kept the jump cables on for an extended amount of time (i.e. more than mere seconds) and they were the wrong way round, you're lucky your car even starts. You could be looking at serious electrical damage. My brother was trying to jump my old BMW with my dad, put the cables wrong way round, and I had to replace 3-4 small modules. Electric windows/mirrors/seats, rear sunshade, and other small stuff thankfully - nothing too expensive. But if you fried any serious modules you could be looking at lots of money.

I would suggest you visit a car electrician for a diagnosis, they should be able to help. Bosch has service centres for cars in other countries, don't know if they also do that in CH.
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Old 24.02.2015, 19:34
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Most jump cables are cheap shit and given the amount of power modern cars need quite often melt, plus most people don't have a clue how to use them.

But if they where connect incorrectly then your in for a world of pain, take it to another garage, or get it to someone with an odb2 reader, I have one, I know others here also have them,

But first off take it to another garage for a second opinion
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Old 24.02.2015, 19:36
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

I have a vw as well .
When you take the battery out for a long time it's normal to see a lot's of lights .
Normally most of the to lights it will go away when you start driving your car .
There will be still some left and you gonna need diagnose .
Don't listen what this mechanic told you .He just want to take your money because you are forigner and they want to trick you .
The best it will be to go in VW dealer only for diagnose they will charge you 30 chf .
IF you still have some problems with your car I have a friend with software he can help you as well .
I wish you good luck .
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Old 24.02.2015, 19:43
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Also, have you checked all the fuses? You may be lucky and it's just one has blown
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Old 24.02.2015, 20:17
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Where are you OP?

Shouldn't be a big job to connect a reader - clear the codes - and see how it goes from there.
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Old 24.02.2015, 21:54
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

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You probably did something wrong when you tried to jump the battery. Try taking the negative pole out for about 5-10 minutes and then connect it again.

That's the black wire, noted also as (-) on your battery. Don't take out the positive one, you'll short it if it touches metal on the car.


It's highly unlikely that you need to check handbrake etc right after a flat battery. If one of the lights on your dash is this then you can easily diagnose it with an OBD reader and see what's wrong.

If you kept the jump cables on for an extended amount of time (i.e. more than mere seconds) and they were the wrong way round, you're lucky your car even starts. You could be looking at serious electrical damage. My brother was trying to jump my old BMW with my dad, put the cables wrong way round, and I had to replace 3-4 small modules. Electric windows/mirrors/seats, rear sunshade, and other small stuff thankfully - nothing too expensive. But if you fried any serious modules you could be looking at lots of money.

I would suggest you visit a car electrician for a diagnosis, they should be able to help. Bosch has service centres for cars in other countries, don't know if they also do that in CH.
I am most certain the cables were not connected correctly as they were apparently switched a few times before the go ahead was given to start the car by the gentleman who helped.

Thanks for the info and advice...I learnt a few things there..

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Most jump cables are cheap shit and given the amount of power modern cars need quite often melt, plus most people don't have a clue how to use them.

But if they where connect incorrectly then your in for a world of pain, take it to another garage, or get it to someone with an odb2 reader, I have one, I know others here also have them,

But first off take it to another garage for a second opinion
Oh shite, I hope it's not that bad...

The car runs fine so I will find a place with the ODB reader you mentioned to have a look, thanks for the advice!

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Also, have you checked all the fuses? You may be lucky and it's just one has blown
No, but I will mention this when I take it for second opinion.

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Where are you OP?

Shouldn't be a big job to connect a reader - clear the codes - and see how it goes from there.
I live in Rapperswil (SG) but go through to Zürich occassionally...
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Old 24.02.2015, 22:02
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

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It's highly unlikely that you need to check handbrake etc right after a flat battery. If one of the lights on your dash is this then you can easily diagnose it with an OBD reader and see what's wrong.
Yes, that is the fourth light that is flashing that I wasn't sure of!
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Old 24.02.2015, 22:55
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

I'm an Audi Tech, VW is the same cup of tea...

What motor is it? 1.8, 2,8, 5 Cyl?

Jumping the cables the wrong way around even without starting is not good. You get full juice running in a circle between the batteries, it's a big short circuit between them. Even if you don't start the car, errant current can make its way thru systems when the car is NOT running. As stated before, lucky you can even start it.

This is one of those problems that can't be diagnosed thru a forum, one needs to get their hands dirty and check every system one at a time.

Hmmm,

You said: ..."the handbrake, ABS, service warning and another one I don't know are flashing..."

The hand brake is a mechanical problem and unrelated. The closest thing is the red brake light that comes on when you pull the hand brake will also illuminate by itself when the brake fluid. But it will, more times than not, be accompanied with the yellow ABS light when there is a problem with the electrical side of the normal braking.

But, if you have the cluster I think you have, is the service warning saying for the brake system? If it is then those 3 are related to the electrical side of the normal ABS braking system.

If you have the following fuse panel on top of your battery...

http://newbeetle.org/forums/attachme...wwire_7724.jpg

Check the fuses. One of the 3 green fuses is for the ABS pump. The far left thick cable is for the alternator. The others are for other stuff that don't normally go kaput. It is a common problem for the fuse to be ok BUT the contacts within the shell are toasting up as you can see in the pict. I've had to replace and repair a few.

A flashing check engine light means there is a mis-fire condition. It's running on 1 or more less cylinders. If it is a 1.8 Turbo, a normal service will probably NOT fix the misfire. Especially if the Fieldaction for VW/Audi's old style crappy coil packs (Zundspule) was not done. But, I have seen coincidences over the years, but my money is elsewhere with this one.

I would tell the shop only look at what's wrong with the warnings being on. It may only be a fuse problem. Not to scare you, it is possible that there are other problems due to this friendly chap.

If you were in the Graubunden area near Chur, I'd point you to this blatant plug: www.garagestock.ch

Good luck and keep us updated. I'm curious to how it works out.

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Old 25.02.2015, 00:09
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Styger,

Normally the best way to address your issue is to visit garage asap to make sure you do not drive your car with some crucial systems not working (abs, esp, etc).

You can either go to a garage or to TCS. I recommend TCS since they have a well-defined services and for well-defined price they can make a diagnostics of your car.

For example, in canton Vaud they do these services: http://www.tcs.ch/fr/le-club/pres-de...-controles.php

(in French)

Lecture de défauts avec tester dans le cadre de la gestion moteur, de l'ABS, des airbags, des boîtes automatiques.

CHF 70.- pour les membres du TCS
CHF 100.- pour les non-membres


Which means they are going to search for issues with engine control unit, ABS, airbags, automatic gearbox and the price is 100 CHF for non-members and 70 for TCS members. I am most certain they are going to use OBD-2 scanner which may pick-up the problems you have with your car.

Now, I don't know if TCS in your canton is offering simular services, but I guess you can try to check their web-site or have them called.
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Old 25.02.2015, 07:54
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

In this case I would go to a specific VW dealer rather than a master of none service point.
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Old 25.02.2015, 08:04
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Stop. Do not touch the cars internals. Take it to VW.
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Old 02.03.2015, 12:52
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Thank you very much for the suggestions, information and advice!

I took the car to VW and after testing they confirmed that all the warning lights were signalling a problem with the ABS braking.

The car will go in tomorrow for 2 things (I don't remember exactly what it is) but the first issue is going to cost CHF 30 plus labour and then they will only be able to see the extent of the ABS issue - although we hope it will turn out to be a small/inexpensive problem the mechanic said worst case senario; it can cost as much as CHF 2000 plus labour. In that case it may not be worth our while to fix as the car is an older model and only worth double the cost to fix it.

An expensive lesson to learn about old/faulty or incorrectly used jumper cables....but I am hoping for good news tomorrow....
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Old 02.03.2015, 14:01
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

For future reference it's + to + and - to - when using jump leads - and keep the engine of the donor car running...
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Old 02.03.2015, 23:35
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

Styger,

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I took the car to VW and after testing they confirmed that all the warning lights were signalling a problem with the ABS braking.
Modern ABS systems are designed to shutoff itself if there is any malfunction. It means that your ABS is switched off so your car will be (or is) braking like the car used to do before ABS was invented.

Of course, it is more risky to drive without ABS working, but there are plenty of cars driving around in Switzerland where ABS was not fitted on the factory.

What I am trying to say is: driving with ABS is more safe. However if your car is not so expensive it may be acceptable to drive without ABS if the reparation will be very expensive. This, however, does not mean you should not try to fix the problem if the price is acceptable.

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The car will go in tomorrow for 2 things (I don't remember exactly what it is) but the first issue is going to cost CHF 30 plus labour and then they will only be able to see the extent of the ABS issue - although we hope it will turn out to be a small/inexpensive problem the mechanic said worst case senario; it can cost as much as CHF 2000 plus labour. In that case it may not be worth our while to fix as the car is an older model and only worth double the cost to fix it.
Can you ask the garage to write down both words for these "things" so that we can translate and check it? The thing is, in Switzerland most things are overpriced. Since you are using a german made car, it is possible that the spare part can be found at https://www.autoteile-meile.ch/ (it is german web-site and they ship to Switzerland) with acceptable price.
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Old 03.03.2015, 08:32
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

What codes were reported by the garage?

The only thing I can think of is that an ECU was fried when jump started. If you want want to check whether the ABS is working - large car park - 40kmh - drop the anchors VERY HARD.
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Old 03.03.2015, 09:40
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

dodgyken,

If Engine Control Unit (ECU) is fried, engine will not start at all.
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Old 03.03.2015, 09:50
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

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dodgyken,

If Engine Control Unit (ECU) is fried, engine will not start at all.

I don't think he's talking literally, I've heard of some modern cars having 24 computers in them controlling various things, its just less confusing to call them all an ecu, even my car from 1994 has at least 3 separate systems in (that don't talk to each other)
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Old 03.03.2015, 10:00
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Re: Advice from car enthusiasts please!

ECU = Electronic Control Unit

If the ABS is fried - and the dealer is talking big money to repair - this is really the only likely cause. Hydraulics or sensors aren't expensive to replace
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