Volkswagen Won’t Start? Here’s Quick Solutions to the Most Common Causes

Volkswagen wont start

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Let's face it, we've all experienced it, you've got places to be, you get in your Volkswagen, turn the key, and … drum roll please … absolutely nothing! Your Volkswagen won't start up! This an extremely bothersome scenario, however, don't stress, we've got you covered. There are lots and lots of reasons why your VW wont start, and for this guide, to save you time we'll cover the most typical factors along with providing you useful solutions to get your car back on the road!

If you're short of time, instead of reading, you’re always welcome to chat with a live mechanic 24×7 and get immediate help and guidance on figuring out what it is and fixing the problem, by clicking the “ask a mechanic” button in the bottom right of this page.

Understanding the Problem

Car Won't Start?

Before we get stuck into the causes and solutions it's crucial to first have a grasp of the problem. When you realize to yourself “my Volkswagen wont start”, this could be due to a multitude of things being wrong with your car. Maybe it’s a case where the engine is not starting at all, potentially it is turning over partially but then not starting, or possibly it's making a clicking sound when you try to start the engine, but in the end absolutely nothing happens. Each of these scenarios can indicate various issues with your car.

Common Reasons Why Your Volkswagen Won't Start

There are numerous contributing reasons why a VW won't start up. These issues usually include a weak or dead vehicle battery, a faulty alternator, starter motor problems, fuel system problems, in addition to electrical or circuitry concerns. Every one of these problems can manifest as a multitude of symptoms and require separate solutions to troubleshoot and resolve, so we can get your car back on the road ASAP.

Symptoms of a Volkswagen That Won't Start

Having the ability to identify and diagnose these signs, will assist you in discovering the underlying cause of the problem. For instance, when you turn the key in the ignition, and you hear a clicking noise but your Volkswagen still will not start, it is often an indication that there is an issue with the fuel or ignition system of your car.

Analysis of The Reasons Why Your Volkswagen Won't Start

The initial step to discovering a practical solution to the issue is understanding the underlying cause of that issue, so let's dive into the most common reasons your VW wont start.

Volkswagen Battery Issues

Auto mechanic replacing car batteryIn most cases, the most common reason why your Volkswagen won't start is often because of your car battery, it's either weak or dead, and you need to either charge the battery or change it. The car's battery provides the electricity required to start the engine, and power all the electrical parts in your Volkswagen. Symptoms of a bad battery issue in a VW, can be things like the vehicle being slow to crank the engine, dim headlights, or a lit-up battery warning light on the dashboard of your car.

Volkswagen Alternator Problems

is my alternator stopping my car from starting?

The alternator is for charging the battery from the engine while the car is running. A broken alternator can easily prevent your Volkswagen from starting as it won't have the ability to charge up the battery, from the engine, so it will drain all the way down till it's totally dead and you only realize it when you get in your VW and it wont start. Symptoms that the alternator is faulty include a lit up battery or alternator caution light on the dashboard, dim headlights when the engine is idling, and also a whining or grinding noise from the engine while it's running.

Volkswagen Starter Motor Failures

my car wont start is the starter motor?

When you start your Volkswagen, the starter motor is responsible for turning the engine over (cranking it). If the starter motor is damaged in some manner then the engine is not going to crank, and your Volkswagen will not start. You can tell if your starter motor has a problem or not usually by listening, if you hear a clicking noise when you turn the key or a grinding sound during the start-up, or your car only starts intermittently then the starter motor may very well be the problem.

Volkswagen Fuel System Complications

my car wont start but clicks

Now we're not talking about when you simply run out of gas here, but the fuel system itself having complications. Your Volkswagen uses a combustion engine, and because of this to start and run, it needs a mix of enough fuel and air. If your car problems are because of a faulty fuel system, this might be a clogged fuel filter or a failing fuel pump relay, which could suggest the engine might not be getting the fuel it needs to get the car going.

Volkswagen Electrical System or Wiring Problems

can electrics be a reason a car wont start

Modern Volkswagen's rely heavily on electronic components, which can mean there are lots of things that can potentially break and cause problems. Even in an older car, you can have regular issues such as blown fuses, spark plug problems, a damaged ignition switch, or a faulty sensor, and more. These can be a few of the various electrical explanations as to why your Volkswagen will not start. Signs of a wiring or electrical problem can differ greatly, however, can typically include the engine not cranking, or your Volkswagen can start but just intermittently, or various alert lights showing on the dashboard. To properly identify and repair these kinds of problems, you will require the abilities of a knowledgeable car mechanic in your area or online.

Solutions & Repair Tips

As soon as you have diagnosed what the cause of your Volkswagen being unable to start is. The next step is of course to try and fix it. Here are some pointers for the common issues we've covered up until now.

How to Troubleshoot and Fix Battery Issues in a Volkswagen

my car wont start i think its the battery

If it’s a battery issue you suspect is the cause of your troubles, then the first thing you ought to do is inspect the battery terminals. You want them to be clean, not corroded and firmly connected. If you find that the terminals are indeed corroded you can try to clean them up with a mix of baking soda and water. If the battery is just old or weak, you will have to replace it, otherwise, even if you charge it up enough to start the vehicle, it will probably deplete quickly once again in the not so distant future. You can use a multimeter as a way to test the life of the battery to see if it’s worth saving or if it needs replacing. You can ask a professional car mechanic online or locally to help you with this.

How to Diagnose Alternator Problems in a Volkswagen

car wont start, jumped and started alternator

If the alternator is what you think is the culprit, you can test it to see for yourself. If you can get the vehicle to start up temporarily (you may need to jump start the car for that), but when it’s going, let the car run, and while its running, disconnect the positive terminal of the battery. If you discover your Volkswagen is dying right away, then it's likely because of a problem with your cars alternator. You should be aware however that this method can be risky and dangerous, and may harm the sensitive electronic elements in your VW, so it's best to consult with a professional car mechanic in your area or online, prior to ever trying this.

How to Identify Starter Motor Failures in a  Volkswagen

car wont start starter and battery good

You should listen for a clicking noise when you turn the key in the ignition or press the start button if you suspect the starter motor is the cause of your Volkswagen not starting. In these cases, the solution is to have the starter motor changed for a new one by a professional mechanic.

How to Solve Fuel System Issues in a Volkswagen

clogged fuel filter car wont start

If you think the issue to be because of a fuel system problem, listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key to the “on” position, before starting the car. You should be able to hear a humming sound for a couple of seconds. It may be there is an issue with the fuel pump if you are not able to hear this noise. If you discover your VW is difficult to start, it stalls, or it has poor acceleration, it might be because of a clogged fuel filter. Both of these will likely require a reliable car mechanic in order to correctly fix.

How to Repair Electrical or Wiring Problems in a Volkswagen

fuses to check when car wont start

If you suspect it's an electrical wiring or electrical system problem, first examine the fuses associated with the ignition system, and replace any that have blown. If your VW starts after this, then it was an effective, cheap and easy repair! Nevertheless, if the car doesn't start, even intermittently it could be a problem with the ignition switch itself. It might be a faulty sensor if various warning lights are noticeable on the dash. These issues can be very complex and a professional car mechanic is most likely required to diagnose and have it properly repaired.

Preventive Steps

As my father always said “Prevention is better than cure”, so here are the best ways to ensure you prevent any VW car starting problems again!

Routine Maintenance of Your Volkswagen:

Regular maintenance on car to prevent starting issues

Regular upkeep of your Volkswagen is of the utmost importance to preventing future problems. This includes things like routine oil changes, checking the battery, cleaning up the terminals, replacing the fuel filter as recommended/needed, and having your car inspected by a reliable car mechanic regularly. You can consult a mechanic in your area or online if you find yourself unsure or confused about the regular upkeep tasks required for your specific vehicle.

Drive Your Volkswagen Regularly:

drive regular to avoid car troubles

If you happen to leave your Volkswagen off for extended periods of time without driving it, the battery can run out of charge as it's not receiving any electrical charge from the engine running being used. Try to drive your car regularly to keep the battery charged up. Take it for a fast spin to make sure there is still charge in the battery if you remember you haven't driven your VW in a while. Worth noting: letting the battery fully drain, is also damaging for the longevity of the battery, try not to do this.

Take Notice Of Warning Signs:

Check Engine Control Light on a Vehicle Dashboard

If you observe anything strange like uncommon noises, a difference in how it drives and the performance, or warning lights lit up on the dash, do not disregard them and get on with your day. These are usually early signs of an issue and it’s best to be addressed ASAP before they end up being larger problems down the line. Speak with a car mechanic locally or online about these problems and get advice on if they need to be addressed.

When to Ask a Volkswagen Mechanic Online

If you want to save time, want a specialist Volkswagen mechanic on hand assisting and advising you, or you have attempted to solve it yourself, but in spite of your best efforts your vehicle won't start, then talking with a Volkswagen mechanic online can be a great option.

Advantages of Online Mechanic Solutions

Happy mechanic repairing car looking at camera

Online mechanic services, like ours in the bottom right of this page, provide a number of advantages. You can get expert Volkswagen mechanic guidance 24×7 and without leaving your house, which is especially useful if your vehicle won't start and is stuck in the driveway. You can also save money as online mechanic consultations are more affordable than a physical visit to a local mechanic near you. Plus, you can get responses rapidly, which is terrific if you're in a rush, require a second opinion, or you simply like having an expert VW mechanic on hand.

How Services Like Can Assist You

Ask a mechanic online about my car not starting connects you with certified professional mechanics who can offer instantaneous assistance, guidance and suggestions. You have the ability to describe the problems you are having with your car, ask a Volkswagen mechanic limitless questions, and even upload images and videos so you are able to show the mechanic what you mean. You can talk with them by means of online chat or by call, whichever you choose. The Volkswagen mechanic will help you identify the issue, advise you on the best course of action for your specific circumstance and even guide you through basic maintenance and repairs every step of the way.


In a nutshell when your Volkswagen wont start, it can be a major disappointment and a huge hassle. However, having an understanding of what may be causing the issues, being able to troubleshoot them, and knowing what steps are required in each case, and where to get help if needed, will be a substantial help. Keep in mind that routine upkeep is key to avoiding all kinds of vehicle issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I do if my VW can’t start? 

Firstly, do not panic. Attempt to identify any signs that might show an issue, such as unusual noises, warning lights on the dash, or changes in performance. The cause of the issue is most likely among the typical causes gone over in this guide. If you can't find the problem yourself, you will require the aid of a Volkswagen mechanic in your area or online.

How to tell if my VW wont start because of the battery?

Signs of a battery problem in a Volkswagen consist of the engine being slow to crank, dim headlights, and lit battery warning lights on dash. You can also check the battery terminals to see if they are clean, not corroded, and securely connected. If the battery is weak or old, it might be best to just replace it.

How can I prevent my Volkswagen not starting issues?

In order to make sure this inconvenience never ever takes place again, regular upkeep is essential. This includes things like oil changes, examining the battery and cleaning it's terminals, changing the fuel filter as recommended / required, and having your VW inspected by a mechanic regularly. It's also an excellent idea to drive the car frequently so the battery stays charged.

Can I ask a mechanic online if my VW can't start? 

Yes, you can. An online mechanic service like ours can offer instantaneous specialist Volkswagen mechanic assistance and guidance, without you needing to leave your home. This is particularly beneficial if your vehicle wont start and is stuck in the driveway.

How can services like help if my Volkswagen will not start?

We link you with certified expert VW mechanics who can offer suggestions on your particular circumstance. You can tell them about your vehicle problems, ask unlimited questions, and even submit images and videos so you can effectively show the problem and describe it fully. The mechanic will have the ability to assist, troubleshoot, identify the issue, recommend the very best course of action and guide you along the way.

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