Volkswagen Polo Vento

Reasons Behind Wiring Harness Failure in Volkswagens

08 Feb, 19

Cars are increasingly becoming automated, with more and more functions being reduced to a simple press of a button. For this to be made possible, these cars now have advanced computerized systems that are powered by electric energy. As a result of these electrically powered functions, wires are required to link these electrical components to the power source, in many cases the car battery.

A wiring harness is an assembly of cables in which wires that transmit this electrical energy are contained. These wires are used to transmit electrical power through to the different electrical components in the car. The wiring harness is not immune to malfunction, and for many Volkswagen owners, this is one of those problems that they are likely to experience in the course of their driving.

A wiring harness failure can have a huge impact on the entire car, as many of the Volkswagen’s functions are now automated, especially in the recent models. This automation is not just limited to the VW, however; many manufacturers are incorporating smarter features in their models in an attempt to improve the safety, comfort, and convenience of their cars.

What it Does

The wiring harness plays the vital role of providing protection to the wires, thus preventing them from exposure. When wires are exposed in the home, they become a potential accident waiting to happen. The situation is exactly the same when it comes to the wiring in the car. Exposure of these wires interferes with the transmission of information through the car’s computer, and this may cause certain automated functions to fail. Moreover, in protecting the wires from exposure, the wiring harness reduces the chances of fire accidents significantly.

Causes of Wiring Harness Failure

Like is the case with regular wires, the wiring harness also gets affected by wear after long periods of time. This wear often presents itself in the form of stiffness of the harness. While it is still in good shape, the harness is softer and can easily bend and this makes it difficult to break. The stiffened harness on the other hand is easily breakable and with continued use of the car, cracks start forming and soon pieces start to fall off.

This stiffening of the harness is contributed to by external factors, such as extreme weather conditions that cause expansion and contraction in the rubbery harness material. These factors alter the flexibility of the harness over time up to a point where it can no longer withstand any changes, hence the crumbling.

Signs of Wiring Harness Failure

Some of the signs that signal a problem in the wiring harness of your Volkswagen include failure of the car to start when the ignition is turned.

Another indicator is flickering and dimming lights. The front and rear lights rely heavily on power from the car battery, and when there is a problem in the wiring, these lights will become inconsistent. In the event they completely refuse to come on, your vehicle becomes unsafe to drive, especially at night or in inclement weather.

What to Do When Your Wiring Harness Fails

In addition to being a danger to yourself while driving a car with a damaged wiring harness because of the increased risk of a fire, you will also be a danger to other road users, especially if your lights don’t work correctly. This can be prevented by taking your car into a reliable auto repair shop for maintenance when you begin to notice signs of electrical problems.

Having a Volkswagen specialist performing regular maintenance on your vehicle will often enable them catch any trouble before it actually happens. After having owned a Volkswagen for a certain period of time, it is normal to expect that some of the components will have seen better days and as such it would only be fair to yourself and your car to get them replaced.

In the event that you experience any sign that points to an issue in the wiring harness, you should immediately seek professional help to prevent further damage from occurring.

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At Santa Barbara Autowerks, we offer quality auto-repair services for luxury models including the Volkswagen for drivers in Santa Barbara, CA and the surrounding areas. If you are having possible electrical issues in your car, we’ll gladly take a look so we can get to work making your car as safe as it can be.

* Volkswagen Polo Vento image credit goes to: bruev.

* Volkswagen Logo image credit goes to: vesilvio.

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