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Old 07-05-09, 04:53 PM   #1
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Car starting up problem?

Garrr, so I've noticed for the past few weeks that my '04 VW Jetta usually takes a second or two longer to start up, and I have to hold the key turned until I know the engine is up and going. Today after I drove to Kroger, when I started the car it barely turned on, and then worked its way up to the normal resting RPM. I was going to get gas, but I feared it wouldn't start when I was done.

Does anyone have any input on what it could be? Also, if I call the VW dealership and set an appointment, how much would it cost for them to see what the problem is and fix it?
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Old 07-05-09, 05:34 PM   #2
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Garrr, so I've noticed for the past few weeks that my '04 VW Jetta usually takes a second or two longer to start up, and I have to hold the key turned until I know the engine is up and going. Today after I drove to Kroger, when I started the car it barely turned on, and then worked its way up to the normal resting RPM. I was going to get gas, but I feared it wouldn't start when I was done.

Does anyone have any input on what it could be? Also, if I call the VW dealership and set an appointment, how much would it cost for them to see what the problem is and fix it?
I would do some stretching before grabbing your ankles...and don't clench.
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Old 07-05-09, 05:36 PM   #3
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I would do some stretching before grabbing your ankles...and don't clench.
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Old 07-05-09, 05:37 PM   #4
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It could be lots of things
weak battery
weak fuel pump
clogged fuel filter
weak ignition system
and the list goes on
as far as the dealer, around here shop rates start at 100.00 an hour. You are for sure going to pay for the first hour or more to diagnose and then depending on what parts it needs it will be higher than that.

How many miles are on it?
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Old 07-05-09, 06:18 PM   #5
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Have you checked out any of the VW forums?

You still may not be able to fix it yourself, but at least you could go into the dealership better informed.
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Old 07-05-09, 07:12 PM   #6
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A little over 60k.

I did drive it about 1200 miles in three days from TX to VA...and the car went to the shop for a check-up and oil change before I left.

Darn Jetta
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Old 07-05-09, 07:48 PM   #7
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I'd put my money on battery- if you have a battery tester you could do it yourself, but a batteries plus/auto pars store should be able to do this for no charge
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Old 07-05-09, 08:06 PM   #8
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I'd put my money on battery- if you have a battery tester you could do it yourself, but a batteries plus/auto pars store should be able to do this for no charge
Oh ok. Should I drive my vehicle to autozone, and take it out in the parking lot? I'd rather not go to the dealership.
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Old 07-05-09, 08:14 PM   #9
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Oh ok. Should I drive my vehicle to autozone, and take it out in the parking lot? I'd rather not go to the dealership.
yeah, I'd just take it over there, tell them you need the battery tested. they should test it for free, considering when (if) you find out its a bum battery, you'll buy a new one from them.

btw, if it is the battery and you're making a lot of short trips, let it run for awhile (~30 mins) so the alternator has time to charge the battery.
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Old 07-05-09, 10:07 PM   #10
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Just to clarify.......around here you don't have to take the battery out of the car. They bring the test equipment to the car.

I would ask before you go to the trouble of taking it out of the car. If it is bad they will gladly take it out to sell you another one and if it is not the battery you have saved yourself some trouble.

Good luck.
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Old 07-05-09, 11:53 PM   #11
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DON'T take it to the stealership, unless maybe you have trustworthy friends who work there. Honest mom and pop garages could use your money, and they'll give you a better deal as it is.

If you get the battery tested, don't settle for some idiot hooking a voltmeter to it. This will tell you nothing about how good the battery is. I've seen numerous idiots at Murrays and Autozone try to tell me that's all it takes to determine battery quality. If you don't hook more sophisticated equipment to it, you can't tell for sure.

I agree with what gmule said, but also I must add to the list that it could be a bad starter, or even valve problems.
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Old 07-06-09, 06:45 AM   #12
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If you're using high-ethanol fuel, switch to non-ethanol fuel and see if that helps. (If you have a source near you.)

Our '06 Cooper S was stumbling on startup and acting wierd. The dealer said, "Stop using Mobil gas." I thought it was BS, but we filled it with non-ethanol, and the problem went away immediately. Ethanol tricks the ECU into thinking the mix is too lean, so it dumps too much fuel into the engine.

Mobil is using 10% ethanol around here. Doesn't effect my Tacoma, but boy the Mini hates it.
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Old 07-06-09, 08:26 AM   #13
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Mobil is using 10% ethanol around here. Doesn't effect my Tacoma, but boy the Mini hates it.
That is something they do in the Phoenix valley area at all gas stations. I found myself getting 18% better gas mileage when I went to Prescott.
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Old 07-06-09, 09:07 AM   #14
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Should I just have them charge the battery for me?

Since June 5th, all my trips have either been:

2.5 miles each way to the washerette. twice a week

7.5 miles each way to Kroger. once or twice a week.

14 miles each way to the movie theater. once every 2 weeks.


And when I got back from Kroger yesterday, I turned off the car. Waited about 20 seconds, and the car started up fine after. Do you think I don't drive it enough to charge the battery?
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Old 07-06-09, 09:28 AM   #15
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I highly doubt your driving habits are causing battery problems. Short and infrequent driving can cause other problems like condensation in the transmission not being boiled out, and a carbon fouled engine, but I'm not seeing that quantity of driving causing battery problems just by itself. However, if it's an older battery, it could definitely be having problems.

Much more important than charging it is having it tested. If it's trash it won't matter how you charge it.

If you do replace it, be sure to get the biggest and best battery you can fit in the battery compartment. The battery is the voltage regulator that stands between all of your cars circuitry and the alternator. The alternator can cause voltage spikes which can blow out electrical stuff, causing all kinds of expensive pains in the ass. A good battery will stop this from happening. I suggest that for any car, whether used or brand new off the lot. It's a cheap and simple way to try to prevent problems.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:06 AM   #16
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Should I just have them charge the battery for me?
Not really sure about that, I've always just gotten a new one. How old is the battery? at 60,000 miles (4 years?) if it hasn't been replaced yet its probably due.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:16 AM   #17
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My bet is on the battery. But +1 on finding a VW forum to ask the question. Here you're shot-gunning, hoping to get someone who knows. There you'll find 27 people that will give you a definitive answer, and half of them might even agree.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:40 AM   #18
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My bet is on the battery. But +1 on finding a VW forum to ask the question. Here you're shot-gunning, hoping to get someone who knows. There you'll find 27 people that will give you a definitive answer, and half of them might even agree.

I've worked on a few of these little taco rockets, and I assure you there is nothing special about them that would for sure be causing this. Yes, at that mileage the battery seems the most likely, but it could be a lot of stuff. Without doing proper diagnostic tests, all that EJ stands to do is waste money taking guesses at what might be wrong. Knowledgeable people at a VW forum will say the same thing, which is that the car needs to be tested before money is spent guessing at which parts might be bad.
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Old 07-06-09, 01:16 PM   #19
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DON'T take it to the stealership, unless maybe you have trustworthy friends who work there. Honest mom and pop garages could use your money, and they'll give you a better deal as it is.
If you get the battery tested, don't settle for some idiot hooking a voltmeter to it. This will tell you nothing about how good the battery is. I've seen numerous idiots at Murrays and Autozone try to tell me that's all it takes to determine battery quality. If you don't hook more sophisticated equipment to it, you can't tell for sure.

I agree with what gmule said, but also I must add to the list that it could be a bad starter, or even valve problems.
ya, did that and it cost me a car because this "reputable" mom and pop shop f'ed it up. Sorry to those of you who don't like dealers, but at least some of them have factory trained mechanics that actually do know what they are doing and are specialized in working on those specific models of cars. I will never take my car to a mom and pop shop again.
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Old 07-06-09, 07:00 PM   #20
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I will never take my car to a mom and pop shop again.
There are good ones and bad ones. Similarly, there are good dealerships and bad dealerships, except you can count on always paying top dollar at a dealer, regardless of the quality of service.

Anyway, I talked to a serious VW lover tonight, who has owned several Jettas, and has spent 30 years as a mechanic. He said he too agreed a battery is very possible, but that his primary thing he suspects is an ignition coil problem, because those are classic symptoms of a bad coil on a VW. He furthermore stated that in his long term experience, the coils can be counted on to go bad about every year with a daily driver. He specifically said they "sh** ignition coils", and that his Jetta had another coil go bad just this morning.

He said that the way to test them is to spray water at the coil while the car is running, and that if the coil sparks like crazy and the car starts running bad, that it confirms the coil is blown. I've never done this test, so I won't completely stand behind this procedure, but it is what he said.
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Old 07-06-09, 09:03 PM   #21
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Assuming the battery is the orginal, it needs to be replaced with a new set of cables. You should also have the fuel filter, EGR valve, and crankcase breather element replaced. If it is a gasoline engine, 60K is when you should replace spark plugs and wires.
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Old 07-06-09, 09:40 PM   #22
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I've found the majority of EGR problems can be solved by drilling the carbon fouling out with a piece of speedometer cable, and flushing it out with carb cleaner.

I definitely wouldn't replace one without a trouble code coming on and failing to be solved by cleaning it out, but that's just me.
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Old 07-06-09, 10:29 PM   #23
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2004 is OBDII compliant and would most likely turn on the check engine light if any of the failing parts were related to the emission control system. The EGR is an emission control device which is designed to lower combustion chamber temperatures reducing NOX emissions. So unless you have a specific code stored for that wouldn't be the first place I looked. I am not an expert VW person but I am going to say that most vehicles would also turn on the Check engine light for a misfire in the ignition system as well. most if not all OBDII vehicles will also tell you what cylinder has the misfire as well.


So back to the symptoms is it slow to crank and then the vehicle starts or does it crank fine and the engines sputters until the RPM reaches a point that it will run on its own?

If you do have a check engine light on you can have the codes scanned at most auto parts stores but beware that just because you have a trouble code that is not necessarily the part that it is bad. there are tests you can do with a volt meter to determine if the part is bad or not and there is also trouble shooting of other components that indicate what the failure really is. Replacing random parts can get expensive quickly Shop time and a proper diagnoses is the best and cheapest way to repair modern computer controlled vehicles.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:04 PM   #24
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Just drive the car to Autozone and have them test it. Their machine is simple enough that a monkey working the drive thru at McDonalds could operate it. They will test standing volts as well as the more important load test.
My bet is on the battery especially if you have the 1.8T as the heat from the turbo really takes a toll. My wifes 00 Passat needed a new battery after about 4 years as well.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:19 PM   #25
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I like the ignition coil idea the best of the ones on here. Mostly b/c it was sourced from someone who knows something about these cars.

While you're at it, pop open the air filter box and make sure you didn't get a toupe stuck on one side or something. Spark plugs really are cheap, too. All you need is a socket to change them. Plug cables are a little more, but easy to swap.
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