Volkswagen California Wont Start? Here’s Quick Solutions to Most Common Problems

Introduction

As a qualified mechanic with over two decades of hands on experience, I’ve helped plenty of people battling when their Volkswagen California Won’t Start. And I’ll be straight with you, not being able to start your car when you need to drive is extremely annoying.

But don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place, no need to keep googling searches like “Volkswagen won’t turn over“, I got you covered. My name’s Robby, a certified auto mechanic with over two decades of experience, and in this guide, I’ll explain the most common causes for why your California fails to start. I’ll cover all the typical suspects so you can pinpoint what’s causing issues, plus what to do to fix each particular situation. Drawing on my two decades of training and on the job experience, I’ll supply practical diagnostic pointers to get your Volkswagen California up and moving as soon as possible!

Quick Solution Alert! 🚗💡

To save you time, this might be the quick solution you need.

An online mechanic can help you solve the issue much faster, and save money doing it.

They help 1000s of people every day in your position, save a lot of time, money and risk getting their vehicle repaired. Having a friendly expert mechanic guiding and advising you every step of the way, is the best thing you can do. You will have your issue fixed faster, and likely cost much less.

Quick Solution Alert! 🚗💡

To save you time, this might be the quick solution you need.

An online mechanic can help you solve the issue much faster, and save money doing it.

They help 1000s of people every day in your position, save a lot of time, money and risk getting their vehicle repaired. Having a friendly expert mechanic guiding and advising you every step of the way, is the best thing you can do. You will have your issue fixed faster, and likely cost much less.

Quick Solution Alert! 🚗💡

You can read on, or get instant help with your issue. We have the best online mechanics, but before asking them, we recommend asking our AI mechanic first as it’s 100% FREE.

9 out of ten times the AI mechanic is able to help you solve the problem for free, and if it’s not, you can chat with a human mechanic on the next page anyway.  Try it for free below. 

Why Won’t My a Volkswagen Start?

Volkswagen California wont start

Before we tackle the list of possible issues and solutions, it’s key to first gain an understanding of the central issue. When you climb into your Volkswagen California and discover “it won’t start!”, there could be several components causing the headaches. Maybe the engine doesn’t turn over whatsoever, or maybe it’s cranking but not firing. Or you might notice clicking sounds when you try to start it, but sadly no ignition occurs. All these situations can signal different problems under the hood.

Common Reasons Why Your Volkswagen California Won’t Start

There are a host of reasons why your California won’t start up. Typical causes include a dead or weak battery, broken alternator, starter motor complications, fuel system problems, plus electrical or wiring malfunctions. Each of these concerns can present differently, needing specific methods of troubleshooting and fixing to get you back on the open road as quick as possible. All of which, we’ll delve into.

Symptoms of a Volkswagen California That Won’t Start

Recognizing these red flags will lead you to the main mechanical problem. Take for example, when you turn the key or press the start button and you hear it clicking but no ignition, it often signifies a fuel or ignition issue.

Analysis of The Reasons Why Your Volkswagen California Won’t Start

The initial move in remedying the no-start hassle is pinpointing the specific origin of the trouble. So let’s take a closer look at the most frequent reasons behind the California struggling to start when you turn the key.

Battery Issues in a Volkswagen California

car wont start but battery is good
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

In the vast majority of situations, the most frequent reason a Volkswagen California won’t start comes down to issues with the battery. Specifically, a drained or weak battery prevents the engine from turning over. The car’s battery delivers the required power to start the engine and activate all your vehicle’s electrical components. Signals of a dying battery entail labored or difficult cranking, faint headlights, or a battery alert symbol illuminated on the dash. A battery charger can recharge a dead battery if you don’t have the help of another vehicle to jump start it, but do have an electrical socket nearby like at home.  And a portable jump starter lets you charge p the battery without another vehicle, and by the roadside without the need for an electrical socket, so you are never stuck.

Alternator Problems in a Volkswagen California

car wont start alternator

The Alternator keeps the battery charged by harnessing engine power while driving. A malfunctioning alternator can easily stop your Volkswagen California from starting since it fails to recharge the battery, draining it fully so that one day you hop in your beloved Volkswagen California and it refuses to start up. Clues of a faulty alternator may include an illuminated battery or alternator caution light on your dash, faint headlights while idling, or a whirring noise from the engine while running.

Starter Motor Failures in a Volkswagen California

car wont start wont turn over

The starter is crucial for turning over the engine when you try and start up your Volkswagen. If the starter is faulty, the engine can’t crank, preventing your California from starting. Listen for clicking sounds when you turn the key or grinding while trying to start, possibly meaning starter issues.

Fuel System Issues in a Volkswagen California

car wont start fuel filter

We’re not talking about running out of gas like a silly goose. Rather, it’s issues with the fuel system itself potentially leaving your California unable to start up. Your Volkswagen California uses gas to mix with air and powers the engine. Issues in fuel delivery like a clogged fuel filter or failing fuel pump relay may mean the engine lacking the fuel it requires for ignition. Fuel injectors can also get clogged over time, so consider a fuel injector cleaner like Red Line to clean them out and improve starting.

Electrical System or Wiring Problems in a Volkswagen California

car wont start electrical issue
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

Ok, well yes that image is a joke, but I want to emphasize modern vehicles rely on electronics, increasing what can go wrong. With older models, the usual suspects include blown fuses, spark issues, faulty ignition switches, or broken sensors. Faulty wiring and electronics like these can all prevent your Volkswagen California from starting. Be on the lookout for intermittent starting, dashboard alerts, or failure to crank as indicators pointing to an underlying electrical issue. Diagnosing and repairing these often needs an experienced mechanic near you.

Solutions: Let’s Get Your Volkswagen California Starting Again!

If you think you might know what the issue may be, it’s time to figure out the cause of your car’s inability to start up, and then the next step is to attempt to repair the issue. Here’s advice for the common issues we’ve covered thus far:

How to Identify and Fix Battery Issues in a Volkswagen California

car not starting but battery is fine

If you believe a battery issue is to blame for your Volkswagen’s trouble starting, first check the battery terminals Make sure they are corrosion-free, secure, and properly connected. Should you find corrosion or gunk buildup on the terminals, a baking soda and water solution can help clean them.

Once you have checked the battery terminals, you can check to see if the battery is just out of charge, or worse, it’s old and weak, or dead and needs to be replaced. For this, you can charge the battery in a few different ways:

If the battery charges fully and performs as expected, the issue may be resolved. However, if the battery has aged or lacks capacity, replacing it will be necessary. Otherwise, even sufficiently charging it to start your California may only provide temporary relief before it runs out of charge again in the near future. Using a multimeter or OB2 scanner to evaluate the battery’s condition can determine if it’s worth preserving or requires replacement. Suitable replacement batteries for your specific Volkswagen can be found on Amazon here by entering your vehicle details to filter for the right fit and choosing a highly-rated seller.

Robby Recommends:

Portable Car Battery Jump Starter Charger - NOCO Boost Plus GB40

At Home Battery Charger - YONHAN - Fully Automatic

Jumper Cables by Energizer for Car Battery - Heavy Duty

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000A UltraSafe Car Battery Jump Starter

YONHAN Battery Charger Fully-Automatic

Energizer Jumper Cables for Car Battery, Heavy Duty

If charging your California’s battery fails to solve ongoing issues like frequent draining and recharging even after installing a new battery, an underlying problem likely causes the excessive drain. Professional diagnostic services would then be needed to inspect and identify the root cause. You can also consult a mechanic online through us or obtain an instant quote from a mobile mechanic.

How to Identify and Fix Alternator Problems in a Volkswagen California

Car wont start replace alternator needed

If you suspect the alternator is causing your vehicle to have trouble starting, you can test it yourself. If you can temporarily get the auto running (you may need a jump start), and while the engine is running, disconnect the positive terminal of the battery. It’s probably the alternator if the motor dies soon after disconnecting the positive lead. Keep in mind though this test can be risky and mess up sensitive electronics in your ride, so it’s best to talk to an experienced mechanic locally or online first since this test risks damaging the delicate electronic gizmos in your car.

If you figure out that the alternator is the problem, it’s a case of having it replaced. I recommend consulting an online or local mechanic as they will advise you on how difficult the repair is for your specific model, and you can work out if you want to try it yourself, or with the advice of an online mechanic

If you do want to try it yourself or take it to a local garage, you can often buy the replacement parts yourself cheaper than at the garage, but you need to know what to get for your model of Volkswagen California. You find all the information you need about your specific vehicle by searching online for something like “check Volkswagen vin free“, which is a purchasable report, that will give the specs for your vehicle and which parts are compatible, and then you can go get the alternator parts you need. However, an easier option is, Amazon probably has the alternator you need online, at a cheaper price, and their site easily shows which ones will go in your specific car model. Check the Amazon alternator page here

How to Identify and Fix Starter Motor Problems in a Volkswagen California

starter motor issues in a ford

If you think the starter motor is the reason behind your Volkswagen struggling to start, be alert for a clicking sound when you turn the key. If present, but the engine does not turn over, the starter motor likely requires replacing. You can take it to a local garage and have them repair it, or repair it yourself with the help and advice from an online mechanic guiding you. 

If you need it, one of the cheapest and easiest places to get a new starter motor, for your exact vehicle model is on the Amazon here.

How to Identify and Solve Fuel System Problems in a Volkswagen California

clogged fuel filter car wont start

If you suspect a fuel system issue might be to blame for the no-start, tune your ears for the fuel pump hum when you turn the key to “on” before attempting to start the car. The pump should emit a quiet humming for a few seconds. If you can’t hear that noise, the fuel pump could be faulty. Difficult starting, stalling, or lagging acceleration may also come from a problematic or clogged fuel filter. Filter and pump issues usually require a skilled mechanic to inspect and repair them properly, often involving fuel pressure testing and specialized diagnostic equipment. Later in this article, I detail the best ways to get help from a local Volkswagen mechanic near you. 

How to Fix Electrical or Wiring Problems in a Volkswagen California

fuses to check when car wont start

If you think it’s an wiring problem, first inspect the fuses for the ignition system, and swap out any that have blown. If your California starts after this, it was an effective, inexpensive repair! But if your Volkswagen California refuses to start, even sometimes, the ignition switch itself could be the cause of the issue. Warning lights on the dashboard could additionally mean a faulty component. These can be intricate problems needing a qualified mechanic to identify and properly repair (see below advice on local mechanics).

How to Prevent Starting Issues in a Volkswagen California

As dad would say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Here’s how to prevent future problems starting your California:

Routine Upkeep of Your Volkswagen California

Regular maintenance on car to prevent starting issues

Regular maintenance is critical to avoiding issues, including oil changes, battery checks, cleaning terminals, replacing the fuel filter as needed, and having a mechanic examine the vehicle routinely. If unsure about maintenance for your model, consult a mechanic locally or online for clarification.

Drive Your California Frequently

drive regular to avoid car troubles

If your Volkswagen California happens to sit parked in your garage or driveway for too long without being driven, the battery can reduce as it is not being charged up by the engine running, through the alternator. Try your best to drive your vehicle regularly to keep a charged battery. If you remember you haven’t driven your car in a while, take it for a brief drive around town to ensure there is still a charge left.

Note: Letting the battery entirely drain is also bad for its longevity, so try to avoid that.

Take Notice Of Warning Signs

Check Engine Control Light on a Vehicle Dashboard

If you notice any irregular things like unusual noises, changes in driving and performance, or warning lights lit up on the dashboard, do not ignore them. These are often early signs of an issue that should be addressed ASAP before they escalate into larger problems later on. Consult with a mechanic locally or online about these problems and get advice on if they require attention.

When to Ask a Volkswagen Mechanic Online

If you have limited time available, or despite putting in real effort on your own, you still can’t get your car to start, consider consulting a Volkswagen mechanic online. It delivers quick professional advice from the comfort of home, and is far less expensive than a tow and diagnosis at the local garage.

Benefits of an Online Volkswagen Mechanic

Happy mechanic repairing car looking at camera

By detailing what you’ve already tried and sharing specifics on the no-start issue, online mechanics can then offer a custom action plan to help get your car started again. With so many Volkswagen mechanics available they can help fix nearly any problem, it doesn’t if matter it’s your California that’s having issues or a Volkswagen Caddy won’t start, the online mechanics can help sort anything in no time. And with many household budgets tighter these days, the convenience and affordability of online mechanics help, keep your wallet happy too.

You can explain the issues you’re having, ask Volkswagen mechanics unlimited questions, and even submit images and videos so you can demonstrate to the expert what you mean. You can talk to them via online chat or voice chat, whatever you like. The Volkswagen specialist will diagnose the issue, recommend the best fix for your specific case, and even walk you through basic repairs step-by-step.

Whether you want an expert second opinion or are simply short on time, online repairs assistance is there when you need it. Give it a try – you may be surprised just how easy and stress-free it is.

So feel free to try out our Volkswagen repair questions service and see for yourself!

When and How to Get a Local Volkswagen Mechanics Help

automobile mobile mechanic

When your Volkswagen California won’t start, and you are unable to repair it yourself, thinking about how to get your vehicle to the garage can be a nightmare. There are options like roadside services, that come to you and can provide simple fixes to get your car moving enough again, so you can get it to a mechanic garage for proper repairs. You can also use a towing service, but these can be costly, easily into the hundreds of dollars. A much better option is the use of a mobile mechanic, who will come to you at your home, place of work, or by the roadside, and carry out repairs there and then for you, so you can get your California started again ASAP.

So if you think a mobile mechanic is the best solution for you, instead of searching on Google something like  “cheap mobile mechanic near me“, the best in the USA that also covers most towns is YourMechanicI have personally recommended them to countless people across the country and they always have a great experience.

Reasons I recommend them:

  • They use experienced ASE-certified mechanics
  • They come to you, which is super convenient
  • You see the price upfront, no surprises or hidden fees
  • Low Cost compared to regular garages

If you would like to know more, the process to use them is this.

  1. Visit their official website here: YourMechanic
  2. Get an instant free quote for what you need
  3. Book a time and place for the mechanic to come to you
  4. The mechanic will arrive in a fully stocked repair van and repair it right in front of you
  5. Pay when the job is completed.

Super easy, super reliable, super convenient, and highly recommended.

Conclusion

In short, when your Volkswagen California won’t start, it can be a total bummer. However, grasping what might be triggering the problems, being able to troubleshoot them, and knowing what steps are needed in each case, and where to get help if needed, will be a huge help. Remember that routine maintenance is vital to preventing most car issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) When a Volkswagen California Won’t Start

Volkswagen California won’t start but lights come on?

If your Volkswagen California‘s lights illuminate but it still won’t start, the issue is likely not related to the battery. More than likely there is a problem with the engine starter. Check to see if you hear any clicking sounds when attempting to crank the key. If so, the starter motor is attempting to activate but failing. Get a mechanic examine the starter motor – it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Volkswagen California won’t start but has power?

When your Volkswagen California has power (lights, radio etc work) but does not start up, there may be a fuel delivery problem. Issues like a faulty fuel pump relay could prevent fuel getting to the engine. Without enough fuel, combustion can’t happen and the engine won’t start. Check around the back seat when turning the key – you should hear the fuel pump prime for a few seconds. If not, get a mechanic check the fuel system.

Volkswagen California won’t start but battery is good?

If your Volkswagen California‘s battery tests fine and is fully charged, but the car still refuses to start, the underlying cause is likely electrical. Possible issues include a bad ignition switch, broken sensor, or wiring problems. As electrical issues can be tricky, diagnosis by a professional mechanic is best. They can accurately identify the specific electrical fault and have it repaired.

Volkswagen California won’t start just clicking?

When you turn the key and just hear clicking but the engine doesn’t crank, the most common cause is a faulty starter motor. The click comes from the starter solenoid trying to engage the starter motor, but the motor itself fails to spin up the engine. As the starter motor needs physical fixing or swapping out, seek help from a reliable mechanic to get your Volkswagen California running again.

What if my Volkswagen California won’t start up?

First things first, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Look for any odd noises, flashing lights, or changes in how it runs that could point to the issue. Most likely the culprit is one of the common problems we will talk about here. If you still can’t locate the exact issue, you’ll have to consult a trusted Volkswagen mechanic locally or online.

Determine if my Volkswagen California won’t start because of the battery?

Clues that your Volkswagen’s battery is the issue are, a slow cranking engine, dim headlights, and battery warning symbols lighting up on the dash. You can also make sure the battery terminals are clean, corrosion-free, and tightly fastened. If your battery is exhausted it’s probably best to just replace it completely.

How to prevent my Volkswagen California from failing to start in the future?

To prevent this frustration from happening again, scheduled upkeep is essential. This includes oil changes, testing the battery and scrubbing its terminals, replacing the fuel filter when needed, and getting your Volkswagen California inspected by a mechanic on a regular basis. Also, be diligent about drive the car often so the battery stays charged.

Can I consult an online mechanic if my Volkswagen California fails to start up?

Yes, you can. An online mechanic service like ours can offer immediate expert Volkswagen mechanic help and advice, without you having to leave your home. If your vehicle fails to start and is immobile in the driveway, this is particularly useful.

In what ways can services like MechanicAnswer.com be of service if my Volkswagen California fails to start?

We connect you with licensed Volkswagen specialists who can provide proposals particular to your exact predicament. You can inform them about your vehicle issues, ask as many questions as needed, and even submit videos or pictures so you can fully detail the issue. The mechanic will be able to help, identify the problem, and propose the ideal plan of action and talk you through it.

Interesting Volkswagen California Facts

Did you know that the Volkswagen California is actually the only factory-built camper van available from a major manufacturer? It’s like having a home on wheels! And get this, the pop-up roof is so cool because it provides an extra sleeping space for two people, making it perfect for family adventures or road trips with friends. Plus, the California comes with a built-in kitchenette, complete with a fridge, sink, and stove, so you can cook up a storm wherever you go. And if you’re a tech lover, you’ll be thrilled to know that the California also comes with a digital dashboard and a state-of-the-art infotainment system. It’s like driving a futuristic spaceship, but on the open road! No wonder you’re eager to get it started and hit the road.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a Mobile Mechanic. We  recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Choose Your Mechanic

1. Chat with A.I. Mechanic (Robot Robby)
  • Free 7-day trial
  • A.I. Mechanic that is trained by our human mechanic writers. As helpful as a human mechanic for expert advice, troubleshooting, and repair guidance.
2. Chat with a Human Mechanic Online
  • Join for just $5, and $39/month. Cancel anytime
  • Real human ASE-certified mechanics available 24/7

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a Mobile Mechanic. We  recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Where Can I Find My VIN?

Your vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the title document, the vehicle registration, and the insurance policy. It is a series letters and numbers like this as example: WAUGC0896JA235262. The VIN can also be located on the following locations on the vehicle itself:

how to find VIN on vehicle