January, 18, 2007 AT 11:34 AM

I have a 98 Volkswagon Jetta. I've been having this problem where the headlights will not come on or they will come on for a short period of time and then they shut off. When they shut off the 'brake' light on my dashboard comes on even though the brake is not in use. All other lights on the dashboard shut off. The radio still works and so do the high beams but I must hold back the lever fo the high beams to stay on.

When this problem originally started it would happen very seldom. I would have to restart the car and the lights came back on and stayed on. Now the problem keeps getting worse.

I tried to check the battery but one of the connectors will not come off due to the battery acid corrosion. I've been using some water mixed with baking soda to get to come off. Most of it has been coming off but it is still stuck.

Anyone have any ideas on what the problem can be?


5 Answers



January, 19, 2007 AT 2:21 PM

OK I replaced the battery and have installed a new terminal end so the corrosion is no longer a problem.

The problem I have now is that the headlights will not come on. They sometimes come on when the car starts but will turn off after about 5 minutes. I noticed when they shut off that the brake light comes on kind of dim and none of the dashboard lights come on.

I have replaced one of the headlight lamps because it recently went out. Same problem was happening before and after.

The brights work also but will only stay on if I hold back on the lever.
Any suggestions?


Bruce Hunt

January, 19, 2007 AT 4:20 PM

Try pulling the relay number 23 and find another relay nearby that is the same. Switch them for a while to test.



February, 4, 2007 AT 12:53 AM

I was able to correct the same problem by changing a relay inside the steering canister- behind the ignition. Wiggle your key when engaged to isolate the issue. I would restart the car and the lights would work only because I was turning the key to contact position. It wasnt the igniotion it was much cheaper----relay wore out.



February, 11, 2007 AT 11:08 AM

Walter or Bruce, I'm having the exact same problem with my VW 98 wolfsburg ed. Jetta (and just to follow the requirements for posting, I think it's a 2.0 liter and has 172,000 miles). Anyway, I would like to try your solution(s), but I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to car repairs. So, I was wondering if either of you could tell me how to remove the steering canister? I've tried gently loosining it and pulling it off, but I havn't been succesfull. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! (I already appreciate the advice given, big thanks!) PS. I first disconnected the emergency break wire and hard wired it, even though I was pretty sure that wasn't the problem : oops: Guess I'll be putting that back in place.



February, 12, 2007 AT 9:28 AM

Thanks for not calling me a bonehead. I somehow missed the obvious two screw holes under the canister : oops: For the admins or mods, FYI: I did notice I could not edit or delete my message even though I was logged in and the buttons were there. I am on a different computer, so I assume the ability to edit/delete is tied to the IP address. It should probably be tied to the users log in or at least not show the edit and delete buttons.

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