Dead VW
August 17, 2006 5:54 AM   Subscribe

Remember when I asked this question? Well my girlfriend's Jetta just crapped out on her the day after her move to Minneapolis. Can you recommend any good VW dealers/service depots in Minneapolis?

Overnight, my girlfriend's 2002 Jetta decided to drain its battery to nothing. She is unable to start the car (no noise when the key is inserted) and it won't unlock the doors from the FOB or from inside the door. The car was running fine yesterday, she said. My limited car fixit knowledge tells me that the battery is dead and there's a short in the system somewhere that caused the drain.

So, two questions: Is it safe to jump-start the car if there's a short somewhere?

Do you know of any reputable VW service depots in Minneapolis/St. Paul area?
posted by yellowbkpk to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
It's probably not a short, it's either a dead battery or a dead battery and a dead alternator. Not a very expensive repair, in the grand scheme of things.

toldja so! :-)
posted by popechunk at 6:29 AM on August 17, 2006

I don't think you need to go to a VW dealer for this, necessarily. The Car Talk guys maintain a site called the Mechanics Files where folks rate their local mechanic.
posted by popechunk at 6:39 AM on August 17, 2006

Oh sweet Jesus. This happened to me. You can jumpstart it once, BUT ONLY ONCE. Something special about the battery. And you can't put a new one in yourself. At least I couldn't with mine (99 1/2 - new body style). It has nothing to do with your technical ability -- they have to sync it to the computer or something asinine and costly.

$45 for the tow and then the dealer had to put the new battery in.
posted by Atom12 at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2006

The two folks in Minneapolis I know with VWs have taken them to the dealership at the intersection of I-394 and Highway 100 -- that would be the Luther Westside VW (Google Map)

I can't speak to the quality of the experience personally, but both of those folks are still driving their cars and I haven't heard any gripes (about the vehicles or the service)
posted by nickmark at 7:01 AM on August 17, 2006

/me digs back in head for buried VW knowledge....

Ah yes I see that VW electrical systems are just as stable as they ever were. Once you get it to the mechanic, ask if he would mind checking something called a "ground strap." On a Scirrocco I once owned (did I mention I'm a recovering VW addict?) we needed to run a cable from the battery terminal to the frame of the vehicle to ground it. That car always had the wackiest electrical problems! Oh, and the "can't put in a battery yourself" thing might have to do with the radio.
posted by ilsa at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2006

You might try posting on the VW Vortex Jetta forum.
posted by sad_otter at 9:10 AM on August 17, 2006

Don't go to Denny Hecker VW in Inver Grove Heights. Those guys are snakes.
posted by Coffeemate at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2006

Newer VWs have an RFID chip as part of the keyfob. It connects to a transponder near the ignition switch in order to start the car. I'm not sure if your model/year has this, but its likely. If so you may need to take it to the dealer so they can reset the car's computer to accept your keyfob. Without doing so, the key will open the doors but the car will turn over w/out starting.

You may also need to reset the keyfob in order to have the remote work. You need 2 keys. I think the procedure is put one key in the igniton and another one in the driver door. Turning the key in the door in to the lock position and pressing lock in the remote for 2 sec, relasing and pressing again until you get a beep. This should be in the manual.....
posted by pgoes at 12:14 PM on August 17, 2006

I don't know anything about the place, I've just driven by it, but there's the VW Man in Minneapolis.
posted by hootch at 1:41 PM on August 17, 2006

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