With the simple push of a button, Volkswagen owners can enjoy an array of automated features made possible through advanced computerized systems. These systems use electrical power to function via wires connected to a source of power, oftentimes the battery. The vehicle’s wiring harness houses various cables which contain these wires. This harness can frequently fail due to regular wear over time, but it is important to repair them quickly. When a wiring harness fails, it can critically affect numerous automated features. This article offers possible causes and symptoms of a Volkswagen’s failing wiring harness to help prevent substantial damage from occurring.
Causes of Failed Wiring Harnesses
A wiring harness protects and prevents wires from becoming exposed to harmful elements since exposure can interfere with their ability to properly transmit electrical power. The harness also acts as a safety barrier and helps prevent dangerous automobile fires due to exposed wiring. Wiring harnesses are typically made using high-grade materials necessary to withstand exposure to extreme temperatures and outside elements. The wiring harness can malfunction for various reasons, including:
- Prolonged use can cause corroding, cracking, and crumbling.
- Fluctuating temperatures, such as quickly going from very hot to very cold, can cause the harness to bend.
- Normal wear over time can stiffen the harness, causing areas to soften and break off.
- Extreme weather conditions can lead to degradation.
Symptoms of a Failing Wiring Harness
It is vitally important to understand the symptoms of wiring harness failure and to then act accordingly to prevent damage to the vehicle. If you begin experiencing any of the warning signs mentioned below, you should immediately have a trained Volkswagen specialist diagnose the possible causes. Possible indicators that there is an issue with your Volkswagen’s wiring harness include the following:
- The vehicle does not start when turning the ignition on.
- Front and/or rear lights flicker or dim.
- Specific automated/electrical features stop working.
- Random spikes in voltage and inconsistent start-up issues.
Fixing Your Wiring Harness
It is important to determine the root cause of your wiring harness failure. When you locate the damaged terminal, connector, or wire, you can oftentimes splice in a new wire. However, there may be more extensive damage due to melted wires, etc. which require harness replacement. Ensure that you properly repair or replace a failing wiring harness by paying close attention to each of the following tips before, during and after you begin the process:
Before you start, make sure that you have all assembly specs and documentation to double-check your work against.
Wire Prep and Staging
Select the correct wiring product and size, cut it according to the specified length, and strip the ends.
Develop a layout and determine how the wires will connect to the harness chassis. This will ensure a proper fit with the finished product. Form boards can also help to identify any missing wires later.
Developing a labeling system that allows you to check accuracy can reduce the time-consuming confusion and unnecessary headaches often associated with improper wire labeling.
Proper crimping used to terminate wire ends is essential to help avoid short and/or open circuits. Since improper crimps can also spontaneously fail, it is important for you to ensure your equipment is appropriately set up for the specific size of wire you will be crimping.
Paying close attention to the soldering of the wires to each of their terminals is key. You can experience issues within the circuit and the finished product if soldering temperatures are too hot or cold, poor techniques are used, or the wrong sizes of tips are used on the soldering gun.
Repairing and Servicing Your Volkswagen
In addition to fixing wiring harnesses in Volkswagens, European Motor Cars can quickly address all types of issues in these vehicles. For over 30 years, we have serviced a wide variety of automobiles, including various Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Range Rover, and Volvo models, among others. European Motor Cars has a history of providing high-quality service and satisfying customers in and around the areas of Spring Valley, Summerlin, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Las Vegas, NV. Our expert technicians are ready to help with any of your European automobile needs.
* Volkswagen Teramont image credit goes to: y_carfan.