96 Cabrio VW wont start. Battery good, New starter/solenoid. Not turning over at all.


Asked by Jun 17, 2011 at 01:20 AM about the 1996 Volkswagen Cabrio 2 Dr STD Convertible

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Car was running fine, then one day turned key and nothing. Took battery to get
checked,  all clear. Good amperage and fully charged. Must be starter- so buy another
and replace. Still the same, lights, radio everything comes on. Checked all fuses and
relays, all good.  Checked clutch ignition switch. works fine. Can push car and pop
clutch and then runs fine. Turn off, won't come back on with key. Checked ignition
switch. works fine too. Any ideas???  At wits end.

20 Answers


replaced alternator too due to low voltage flag at at autozone. still same results

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Rebecca, I would get a multimeter and trace the starter circuit from your battery to the fuse box to the ingnition switch. Turn the key on to to energize everything and check for voltage across every component in the circuit. Something burned out.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

We set up a hotwire switch right behind the ignition switch and thats the way i start it for now. I'm guessing now that it might have to be the actual ignition. What do you think?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

From the limited information I have, I agree that the switch is bad. Couyld the coding on your key be messed up?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

we replaced the ignition switch but not the part that the actual key goes in.,.... thats the ignition cyclinder that i would need to replace. correct> ?? My keys are not ":coded". Just an old key remade a few weeks ago..

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I don't know how the electrical contacts work in the rotating key cylinder. I cannot advise you on that point. My personal approach would be to get some contact cleaner and spray the heck out the cylinder. When something doesn't work, spray it or hammer it, right? If the spray doesn't help, I would try and check the grounding of the ignition switch. The ignition switch must ground against chassis somewhere. If you can find that connection, clean it up with a wire brush. My next move, I guess, would be to replace the ignition cylinder.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

it haves to be a relay goin to the starter u need to have someone look at that frist have then use a volt-meter and see if u have power goin to it

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

We replaced that relay :-(


double check that starter really in the fuse box just because you changed it doesn't mean its not the problem, had a similar problem in my 92 golf turned out the contact wire on the back of the fuse panel where the starter relay plugs into was bad if I wiggled the really sometimes it would start sometimes not had to pull the fuse panel off a real pain in the ass to do but it did solve my problem.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Hi Rebecca, I hope Im not too late and have not given up yet. My wife's 2001 Cabrio has the exact same probelm. Between the ignition switch and the Starter is two relays that activates power. One is the Parking/Neutral Relay. For Auto, you have to have the Lever on "P" inorder to start the car, the fault could be the parking switch or relay. For Manual, it is the Clutch Pedal switch, Clutch must be depressed inorder to activate the relay. Second is the Anti-Theft Engine Disable Relay. Either the relay is faulty or it has a fault code. If either of the relay is not activated you have no power to the starter! I'm not a mechanic but I am mechnically incline been playing with VW's for years. =)

8 out of 8 people think this is helpful.

Check voltage at terminal 50 s at the starter for a voltage drop you should see a good battery voltage signal at the starter.check the ground straps between the transmission and the battery for corrosion and cable integrity.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I m. Having the same problem with my 96 pussat ran great then parked it went in the store and came out would nt turn over

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

after playing with the battery and try It again it finally started ran home and been sitting last week


any ideas


I can turn it over at the starter


Guys, I have a similar problem my VW cranks but won't run. this happened when I replaced the cylinder head gasket, I replaced crankshaft censor and the ECU but still no success what are the hints on this?

Did you ever figure this problem out?? My 2001 Cabrio has been running great and then went to the store and once I tried to start it nothing. Can pop the clutch and runs fine. Then I shut it Off and it won't start again. It literally does Nothing. Thoughts?? Anybody??


Any fault codes in the ECM / ECU? Do you have injector pulse? Does the tachometer wiggle when you crank the engine? When you look at ECM datastream, does the ECM show RPM? Is the camshaft turning? Is the distributor turning? Do you have power & ground at the ignition coil power output stage? Does it spark when you manually trigger the coil? This guy's videos may help Thomas EXOVCDS youtube Note: Mine is still not running!!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks Dion. I have had intermittent problems with the speedometer and tachometer. Somedays it works others it doesn't. Same with my running lights!! Will try the multi meter today and see if we can locate a short somewhere. I feel like the fact that is now won't start is related to all the other screwy electrical stuff that's happening. I'll post the answer if we figure it out.


Hi Larissascabrio, Encountered this exact issue too. The issue ended up to be the ignition switch. Damn thing is mostly plastic so it wears out fast. It works but the vibration can cause the switch to jump just enough to cut the power but not enough to kill the engine. Popped in a new one and it's all good.

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