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Strange Electrical Problems with VW Beetle

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Lasagna Smoothie
New User

Dec 16, 2018, 10:59 AM

Post #1 of 3 (376 views)
Strange Electrical Problems with VW Beetle Sign In


I own a 2003 VW beetle convertible. Over the last week or so, I've been experiencing a variety of electrical issues, namely:

-After several minutes of driving, I sometimes begin to notice a faint, hi-pitched whine emanating from the car's speakers when the radio is on.
-Shortly after this, when I switch my headlights from low to high, the lights on the dashboard flicker for a moment. Over time, this tends to get progressively worse as the dashboards lights may go out for a full second or more and the car will actually stutter as though it has completely lost power for that moment. Often, after some time of continued driving, these issues abate.
-If I experience the whole light flickering issue described above, often when I park the car and turn it off, the car undergoes a sort of power "reboot" where the clock on the car resets to 12:00 and the door alarm system engages, so if I open the door to exit the car the alarm immediately goes off.
-As of last night my gas gauge has begun to read much higher than what the tank can possibly hold - it basically says I have a tank and half of gas. This may be an unrelated issue with the tank fuel gauge, but I suspect it's connected to the other electrical issues.

Finally a couple of extra details:
-A few weeks ago my check engine light came on. The code says I need a new catalytic converter. Other than that there are no other error codes, so I suspect this is unrelated. (I plan on having the catalytic converter replaced this week.)
-A few months ago I attached a device to my car's battery called a nano-pulsar. It's a battery conditioning device that's intended to dramatically prolong the life of the battery. Since I installed it so long ago, and since these issues only recently arose, I doubt that it's responsible. Nonetheless, as of this morning I've removed it. It's too soon to say if that will have any effect on the electrical issues, but I can say that my gas gauge is still reading wrong.
-The above electrical issues don't always occur. Sometimes the car drives normally, other times I get the whole headlight issue etc. So it's an intermittent problem.

Anyway, any suggestions on what might be going on would be hugely appreciated. Thank you.


(This post was edited by Lasagna Smoothie on Dec 16, 2018, 11:00 AM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 16, 2018, 2:28 PM

Post #2 of 3 (339 views)
Re: Strange Electrical Problems with VW Beetle Sign In

Before going too nuts check battery connections, both ends of both cables clean and good. Then test that it's charging properly if only volts while OFF and again when running turn some high use things on, headlights, blower for HVAC and a RWD is taxing it may not keep up?

Battery load test also suggested. If all test OK that far there should be grounds to dash metal you should reverse test with 12v power to a test light (incandescent type) would dim bulb of light if weak enough or even go out?

It's demonstration a momentary disconnect of power if clock resets as if you've disconnected battery with a MEMORY SAVER another thing you should use when disconnecting it to clean cable or put a new battery in many shops a rude enough not to do that.

In short (no pun) first is why does power or ground cut out like that triggered by radio or poor wire feeding into cabin is then a chase where but rule out doable stuff first,


Lasagna Smoothie
New User

Dec 17, 2018, 2:48 PM

Post #3 of 3 (306 views)
Re: Strange Electrical Problems with VW Beetle Sign In

Hi Tom,

Thank you very much for your response. That's an excellent set of suggestions. I'll give them a shot and see how things proceed. Thanks again.



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