Tag Archive for: check engine light

VCDS Tutorial ~ How to Use VCDS Scan Tool

Today we have a VCDS Tutorial. I will walk you through the basics of using VCDS scan tool, including coding, fault codes, MVB, Basic settings, adaptation, Graphing, and more. If you are a VW or Audi tech, or DIY repairs on a VW/Audi you need to watch this video. This is a basic VCDS tutorial covering how to use the scan tool. I have been using VCDS or VAG-COM for almost 15 years. I even had Santos from Ross-Tech look up my purchase from way back in 2015. This video is all about the basics of using VCDS.

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Listen to the Show
It is finally here! The audio only version of the Humble Mechanic Podcast. So many of you wanted to listen on the go, in the car, working out, and now you can. While I wait for iTunes, Google approval you can listen to the show here on the blog. Once those approvals come, you will be able to subscribe and download the audio podcasts from your favorite place. 

Join me as I take your automotive questions on:

Trouble viewing? Watch “VCDS Tutorial ~ How to Use VCDS Scan Tool” on YouTube.

As always I love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments section below. Again, if you have a question for a show like this, email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com with Question for Charles in the subject. Also if you have an idea for a show, contact me via email, or use the contact me form!

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast

What The Heck Is SYSTEM LEAN? No one likes when the check engine comes on in their car. One of the more common issues with check engine lights is a system lean fault P0171 is the most common fault code. This fault can be tricky to diagnose if you don’t understand what system lean really means. This can be too much air, or not enough fuel at the engine. System lean is not hard to diagnose, once you understand it.

Join me today as we discuss:p0171 system lean

  • One of the most asked questions I get
  • Perception of unmetered air/not enough fuel
  • Calculation based on feedback from sensors
  • How does it happen
  • O2 sensor voltage
  • Correction by ECM
  • VCDS Reading
  • VCDS Demo
  • System Rich VS System Lean
  • Diagnose system lean on my Passat
  • and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “What Does SYSTEM LEAN Mean For Your Car” on YouTube.

As always I love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments section below.  Also if you have an idea for a show you can email me, or use the contact me form!

Don’t forget to follow me at:

Today I will be taking your automotive questions. If you have a question about a car, car repair, DIYs on your car, Volkswagen, mechanic’s tools, or anything car related, ask it up. Check engine lights, P0106 fault diagnosis, brake flush vs brake bleed, DSG power ratings, timing a VW 2.8 engine and more. If you have a car question for a show like this, email me Charles(at)Humblemechanic(DOT)com.  Be sure to put the phrase “Question for Charles” in the subject. That is the best way to avoid the spam monster.

Sponsor of the Day

CRP AUTO CRP deals in a ton of OE automotive parts. They also make the factory DSG fluid for VW. Having them as a sponsor will give us access to more information about fluids than I would ever get from VW. I am really excited to have them as a resource of information. To learn more about the great products they have, check out CRPAutomotive.com

Join me as I take your car questions on:
~Updating performance and safety on a MK4
~Diagnosis of fault p0106
~Why you can’t or shouldn’t be with your car when it’s getting serviced
~Why you do not get repair information from the dealership
~Proper brake flushing vs Brake blessed
~Do DSG transmissions have power ratings?
~Timing a 2.8 V6 engine
~Should you go to tech school
~and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “Viewer Automotive Questions ~ Podcast Episode 129” on YouTube.

As always I love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments section below. Again, if you have a question for a show like this, email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com with Question for Charles in the subject. Also if you have an idea for a show you can email me, or use the contact me form!

Don’t forget to follow me at:

wiring problem VW

Hey everyone! It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for some behind the scenes action. This series is where we look at some of the crazy things that auto mechanics see. Unless otherwise stated, I take each and every one of these pictures.

I have a few things to let y’all know before we get rolling.

Humble Mechanic Shirts
For those of you that ordered shirts, I should have them by Friday. I will let you know by email, when they ship out. There is a slight chance I will have a couple extra. I will let everyone know when I get them. 🙂

Humble Mechanic Podcast
If you have not checked out the Podcast, please check it out. As of now, they live on YouTube. But I am working on adding an audio only version. That will go on Itunes.

Show with Rusty
In addition to the solo Podcast, I have been doing a weekly show with my buddy Rusty. That is a super fun show. We spend about a hour chatting about tons of things in the car world. You can see all of them here.

Okay, let’s do some Shot Shots!

wiring problem VWFirst up, we look at one of the things that VW seems to be known for, WIRING PROBLEMS! I must say, I do fix a fair amount of wiring issues. I am just at a point where that is normal. 😉 I was working on a Passat on Monday. This car was not in that great of condition. As I was looking over the car, this caught my eye.

This is an electrical connector for the after run coolant pump. I wasn’t really looking for any issues here, but this pin out of place really caught my eye. I am not really sure how this pin came out of the connector. There are 2 different locks that hold the pin in a connector. I will be working on this car again today. Hopefully I can get the pin back in.

VW check engine light.Next up we have another “stumble upon” thing. This Golf came in for a check engine light diagnosis. One of the things I do while waiting for the scan tool, is to just look around. Some times the universe presents information to you, and this is one of those times.

I opened the hood of this car, looked down and spotted a broken hose. I went back to the scan tool to find out the code. It may come as a shock, but it was related to the broken hose. The fault was stored for a secondary air pump leak. This is the pressure hose of that system. Sometimes, it is nice to be lucky.

wrong bolt installed


Last up today is something that makes me really mad. It makes me made because I know this was done at a dealer. A customer of ours was out of town. When she was out of town, her transmission failed. She had the transmission replaced at another dealer. Luckily she was still under warranty.

A day later, she called my dealer and said that the car was making a clunking noise. We got her in and this is what we found. The “tech” that did the repair, left 4 bolts loose in the subframe. Not only were the bolts loose, but they were not installed in the proper location.

We got the customer all fixed up. The other dealer paid for new bolts, and the labor to install them. She was pretty darn happy that it was an easy fix.

Well, that wraps up another round of Shop Shots! I hope these pictures give you guys a little pick me up in the middle of the week. Don’t forget that you can follow me on:

VW TDI Turbo Problem

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are coming off the last “unofficial” weekend of summer. Being that it is 95 today, I am not buying that 🙂 . Now is the time we need to start thinking about getting our cars ready for winter. Over the next few weeks we will be looking at all the things we can do to be ready for the cold weather and snow(yikes). But first, we have to rock some Shop Shots!

Oh, one quick thing. There was some type of update glitch with WordPress. That knocked out some of the features I have installed on the blog. It should not impact any of the content, but some of the little things I have installed may not work. Just hang in there, I am working on getting all of it fixed.

Funny things DRIVERS DOFirst up is something that I see a lot. It is also something that I like to poke fun at. This customer has their Craftsman garage door opener clipped on to the visor. No big deal right? Well it just so happens that It is clipped right next to the built in garage opener.

You might be wondering why the heck someone would do something like that. Well, the truth is, new openers can be a pain to program. I said that I poke fun at this, but I was guilty too. I owned my Passat for about 6 years before I finally programmed that dang built in opener. That was mostly me being lazy 😉

VW TDI Turbo ProblemNext up is one of those stories that comes around from time to time. First off you are looking at a big hole in the intercooler of a TDI Golf. This causes air to leak in, or leak out depending on driving situation.

This customer had the diesel fuel system replaced about 2 years ago. The car had a HPFP(High pressure fuel pump) failure. The customer called back saying that the car was acting funny again, and that it better have a warranty from the last repair. The customer was convinced that it was related to the repair we did.

When my tech pulled the car in, we could hear the boost leak. After some inspections, we found that the car had impact damage to the lower front of the car. The impact also damaged the radiator, condenser, and core support. I hate that the customer needed so much work, but I am sure glad it was not our fault.

Broken VW windowLast up is one of my LEAST favorite repairs to make, a broken window. This GTI came in with the window glass broken. Replacing the glass is not a hard job. It is the working with all the broken glass that is awful. If you have had a glass break, post which window it was in the comments.

If you have never had a broken window in a car, consider yourself lucky. Glass from the window goes EVERYWHERE! Glass in the seat track, under the carpet, in the door, under switches, and the worst jammed in the window track and seal. This car went back to clean up 3 times to get the glass out. I don’t think I have ever replaced a broken glass with out getting at least 1 cut.

That wraps up another volume of Shop Shots! Remember that just about all of these pictures come right from me. They are not searched in Google, or skimmed from another site. They are the real deal from a VW dealer tech.

Failed VW Gas Cap automotive service

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Wednesday, and checking out some behind the scenes action of an automotive service department. This week, I actually have 2 reader submitted Shop Shots. If you want to submit a picture of your car, or some other cool car shot you have, just email it to me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com. Okay, let’s do this!

Failed VW Gas Cap automotive service

Okay, you might be thinking that nothing is wrong with this picture. If you look closely at the fuel filler neck, you can see a white cap. If you drive a VW, then you know that is not the right cap. This was actually sent to me by a reader who works at another VW shop. The customer came in saying that the MIL was on. It turns out, a foam coffee cup will not properly seal the fuel system. I know it is hard to believe. 😛

Poor Amp Install Autotive ServiceThis is a car audio amplifier, installed in a Mustang. The person that installed it used shrink rap to hold it in place. My guess is that this is a temporary fix. I hope so anyway. The best part about this picture is the guy that installed this is a professional car audio guy. He does some really top notch work. This is his personal car, so I wont give him too much of a hard time. To be honest, this is still a pretty good install. I have seen worse, much much worse.

Paint work on a VW Beetle automotive service

At first glance you might not find anything wrong with this beetle. Take a really close look. In the middle of the picture, you can see red. The left side of the picture is white. Hum, strange isn’t it? The outside of this car is white. When we opened the hood, we found that the hood, and firewall is red. Since the car came from a body shop, it was a dead giveaway as to what happened. The body shop basically “cut and pasted” a red Beetle onto a white Beetle. Then they painted the outside white. Also, those screws on the far left should be black. This is one of the worst “repair” jobs I have ever seen done by a professional shop.

The sad part is, someone will buy this car. They will feel like they got a great deal. Then they will have problem after problem, and blame the car, the mechanic, or VW. This is why you NEED to have a car checked out by a professional BEFORE you buy it..

Take care of your mechanic with donuts

Donuts? I know it seems really random to have a “Shop Shot” of Donuts, but hang in there. A customer brought these for me last week. I have been working on her car since early 2004. She is a really awesome customer, and totally hooked up the donuts for us. I know I said it before, but bribery will get you everywhere. So never hesitate to bring a treat for your mechanic. Or anyone else really! 😉

Do you have an idea for a post? Is there a car question burning a hole in your brain? You can fill out the Contact ME form and ask away. Or, just post it in the comments below. Otherwise, you have to read what is going on in my mind. That might be a scary thing 😉

Yesterday I was talking about customer service. I made mention of “topping off” your gas tank. I had a few folks ask what them means. So today we are talking about the common things that people do that can damage their car.

Not Doing Maintenance
This almost goes without saying, so I will keep it short and sweet. Skipping out on the proper maintenance can ruin your car. This also includes not checking your oil and tire pressure.

Not keeping your car clean.
Ok, I am really guilty of this one. Keeping a clean car will of course make your car hold up better. There is another side that most folks don’t consider. A clean car is awesome. When you keep your car clean, it feels like a newer car. This might not keep your car from breaking, but it will keep you happier in your car. I always love my Passat more when it’s clean, I just don’t like cleaning it.

Using your wiper blades to clear ice
I have to be honest, I am guilty of this one too. You know, that really cold morning where you have ice and snow built up on your windshield. You forgot to run out and start the car early. Now you have to make a mad dash to clean the windshield before your coffee gets cold. Most folks will jump in the car, jam the wipers on high.

This can do damage to your car in a few different ways. The extra wear on the wipers blades never a good thing. VW blades are about $20 each, you don’t want to put more stress on them than needed. There are more components that can be affected. Consider the wiper motor, and transmission. Yep, the wipers have a transmission. Anytime the wipers slow due to an outside influence, the motor and transmission are stressed. Extended stress can cause premature wear on both the motor and transmission. (The transmission is what the linkage for the wipers is called). To avoid the extra work done by the wiper system, just start your car early, or scrape your windshield.

Starting your car and “punching it”
Years ago, my dealer had a shuttle driver that would do this. He would start the shuttle van on a super cold morning. Then with out delay, slam it in drive and “punch it” As you can imagine, that is not a great thing for a car. I know that is an extreme example, but most of us are guilty.

The better way to get your car rolling is to let it run for a minute or so. Let the fluids circulate, and build pressure. You want to make sure that oil, coolant, and transmission fluid are flowing before you jam the gas and go

“Punching it” then shutting off your car
The flip side is letting your car cool down. This is much more critical for a turbo charged car. Letting your car idle for a minute before shutting it off, is a great habit to start. When your engine is running, all the fluids are moving. When they are moving, they are carrying heat away from the engine. When you just shut the car off, all that heat is trapped. This can cause the engine oil to break down faster and “coke”. When oil “cokes” it will harden. This is one of the big issues with the B5-B5.5 Passats. Not only will it speed up the break down of oil, it will clog the oil passages. Remember, no oil = sad engine!

“Topping up” your fuel tank
Ah yes, the worst one so far! Let us talk about what “topping up” really is. If you set the pump and it clicks off at $38.45. Then you turn the pump back on and put and even $40 in.Then you have successfully “Topped up” the tank. I guess now a days an extra dollar will get you no where, but you guys get the point. 😉

You are probably wondering why that is so bad. See, all modern cars have more emissions controls and you can imagine. One of the systems is designed to control fuel vapors. Whether it is a leak in the tank, while you are filling your car, or just normal driving. The vapors are managed by a system called the Evaporative Emissions system, or evap system for short.

The evap system will deal with fuel vapors by holding them in a canister. This is called a charcoal canister. The vapors are then pumped back in to the engine and burned. When you over fill your gas tank by “topping up”, you pump liquid fuel into the charcoal canister. This can cause the charcoal to break apart. When it starts to break apart it gets pumped into the engine. That part is usually not an issue. The issue comes in the damage to the canister and the control valve.

The control valve will get clogged with charcoal and cause the MIL to come on. 🙁 The end result will be replacing the charcoal canister, and control valve, and flushing all the tiny bits of charcoal out of the system. That can be a pretty costly repair. If you do it one time, fine, but don’t make a habit of it.

What do you guys think? Are you guilty of any ,or all, of these? I know that I am. If you enjoyed today’s post, please consider sharing it. I love getting new readers joining our community.