Problems with your Volkswagen’s wiring harness can be frustrating. There are a number of symptoms that you might notice in your car if you have this problem, but they are often sporadic and difficult to be sure about. When you regularly maintain your vehicle and have it inspected by a qualified mechanic, you reduce the risk of having to pay for costly repairs or part replacements. However, it is still possible to run into problems over time. In this article, we will discuss problems with the wiring harness in Volkswagen and what you can do to take care of them.
What is the Wiring Harness
The wiring harness is the assembly of electrical cables that bring power to all of the components of your Volkswagen. It is a bundle of wires grouped together, and if the wires themselves become exposed it could cause serious problems. These wires run to various places in your vehicle and power a number of functions, including the headlights, the A/C compressor, the starter, and every other part that draws electrical energy from the battery. Not only can a failure in the wiring harness cause malfunctions in your car, but it could also cause car fires. This means it’s extremely important to ensure that it is properly maintained. You can prevent this kind of dangerous situation by paying attention for common signs of wiring harness failure so that you can take action.
Common Signs of Wiring Harness Failure
Dim Headlights or Taillights
If you notice that your headlights or taillights have reduced brightness while driving, or that the brightness fluctuates when turning on electrical components like the air conditioner, you may have a wiring harness failure. Of course, having dim headlights is unsafe for driving, so be sure to have this checked out by a trained technician.
Trouble Cranking the Engine
Since your engine requires electrical power to a number of components. If you turn the key and your engine cranks slowly or won’t crank at all, it could be a sign that your wiring harness has failed. The engine requires power from the battery to turn over, and that power is transmitted via the wiring harness.
Reduced Battery Life
When electrical wires are exposed it can create a short, and the current which normally would pass through the shorted wire wants to go somewhere. What this means is that the current will flow into other wires if possible. Each wire is designed to transmit a certain amount of electrical current, and if it takes upon the current from a shorted connection, the wire can become overloaded. In addition to being a fire hazard, this can drain the battery, causing it to die prematurely.
Smell of Melting Plastic
Overloaded wires get hot, and too much heat will melt the insulation which protects the wires. If you see smoke or smell something funny, there’s a chance that the wiring harness is failing, and that’s a fire hazard. If you notice this, bring your Volkswagen to a professional mechanic for service right away.
If the wiring harness is failing and the wires are transmitting power improperly, it can cause one or more fuses to be blown because of the incorrect amount of current flow. Just as wires become overloaded when they carry too much power, fuses fail when they are overloaded as well.
Some Causes of Wiring Harness Failure
You may be wondering what causes the wiring harness in your Volkswagen to fail in the first place. It is a problem that is more common in older VW’s, simply because parts tend to wear out with age. Normal wear and tear can cause the wiring to crack and crumble over time, and fluctuating temperatures take a toll as well. Going from high heat to intense cold causes the insulation and the metal wiring to expand and contract, leading to accelerated wear.
Hayes European Is Your Santa Cruz Solution
Here at Hayes European, our professionaltechnicians have been assisting Volkswagen owners since 1995. Our experienced team of mechanics attract drivers from all over Santa Cruz, Aptos, Soquel, and Capitola, CA, for their maintenance and repair needs. You can count on us for superior, affordable service with a smile. To schedule an appointment for your VW’s wiring harness repair, or to inquire about our state-of-the-art service shop, call us today at 831-269-5858. We look forward to seeing you soon.