Car Questions
RepairPal is your advocate for car care advice and guidance

Is it the alternator or a bad ground?

(2003 Volkswagen Jetta)
in Bronx, NY on August 06, 2009
My 2003 Jetta has these intermittent electrical gremlins where the interior lights (dash,doors,radio,etc.) flicker. When I purchased her back in May 2009, the alternator had to be replaced twice! When I took her back in for the flickering about 2 months later, the dealer claims they checked the charging systems, ground wires and everything checked ok. He did mention that they didn't check the one behind the dash, because it's deep! I bet that's the one. Anyways, it doesn't happen all the time, but I do notice that if I pop in a CD sometimes, the flickering starts and the car surges. The car has not shut down on me and I have driven long distances. So I'm not sure if it's the alternator or a bad ground. Maybe a bad regulator? If it's a bad ground, how can it be found? Is it dangerous? Any expert advice on this is appreciated. I'll probably take it to another mechanic and see what they have to say.
Displaying 1 answers & 1 comments
Popular Answer
on August 07, 2009
Do you have an after market radio in your VW? I ask this because they cause all kinds of really weird problems on VWs.
Let me know and we will go from there.
Good Luck!
on August 09, 2009
As far as I know, No. I bought it used, so I'm not sure. I want to say it's the Monsoon factory radio with cd/cassette/radio. It has the VW logo on it. I should have mentioned that the driver side fender was hit while parked a month ago. It wasn't a serious hit, but enough to take it to an auto body shop. I suspect that while replacing the fender they may have done something to the ground cable off the fender light? They weren't much help when I took it back to them for this. Could this be a possible culprit? I checked the charging system at an Autozone today and everything checked out OK.
Get a repair estimate
RepairPal estimates are guaranteed at over 2,000 quality certified locations nationwide.
Or interested in getting a repair? Find a Shop

Similar Questions

View answers to similar questions from RepairPal's community of auto experts and enthusiasts.
Need help from mechanic my clutch is going and getting done this week but only yesterday i was driving and my gears ...
I replaced the fuel pump the throttle body the fuel relay. but know my car has a rough time stsrting sometimes it wil...
Didn't find what you were looking for?