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chris, Expert VW technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 704
Experience:  Almost 10 years experiance, top technician western region, Team leader
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03 Jetta Airbag Fault Code 00588 Airbag ignitor drivers side-

Customer Question

03 Jetta Airbag Fault Code 00588 "Airbag ignitor drivers side- resistance too high- intermittant"

Have done: Clock spring replaced. But airbag light still on, followed with ASR (traction control) and ABS lights on. System resetted. Lights cleared.

Problems: Two days later, airbag light came back ON!!!!!!!

What should I do? Please help!!!!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
When the clock spring was replaced did they also replace the harness that goes with it?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am not sure. Are they come together or have to purchase separately?


I went to an independent dealer when the airbag light was on. He got the fault code 00588 and told me that the clock spring needed to be replaced.


I have them replaced the clock spring, timing belt and water pump on last Thursday. But the airbag light didn't go off and followed with ASR light's on. They told me that was due to the clock spring didn't readapt by itself. But once they have both airbag light and ASR light off, the ABS light was on. So they erased everything and resetted the system. (That's what they said.) Lights were cleared.


I only have my car back for second day, and the airbag light came back on this morning.

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
The harness is a separate piece that we usually replace with the clock spring, other than that it could either be the actual airbag, which is rare or the airbag control module which is also rare. I would guess that the harness will take care of your problem, either way the shop did not fix your car right the first time.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

How much does it costs for the harness? Is there any other names for the harness?


How will I know if they include it during the clock spring replacement? From the invoice, it only stated the clock spring with $460 (is it considered as a reasonable price?). And also, will you also recommend your customer to replace the clock spring as first choice when you get this fault code?


The dealer keeps claiming that it has nothing to do with what they have done and being unfriendly. They just not returning my calls and not updated the information to me about my car. That's why I would like to know if they are reliable too.

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.

Your invoice has to have all the parts that were put on your car separately so if it is not on there then they did not replace it. I usually replace them both at the same time, if you have the same fault code in the system that you did when you brought in there then they obviously did not fix your problem. You also want to make sure they got you the correct part for your car. This is there problem they should make it right for you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

For the first time after they replaced the clock spring and the airbag light was still on, they claimed that it was due to the bad clock spring they have ordered. So they ordered another one and replaced it, but the ASR light didn't go off. Then they sent my car to a specialized VW dealer (not actual VW dealer).


And when the ABS light was on, they said that my brake stuck in the "bleed mode" and it's unsafe to drive. Do you think these can be caused by the not replaced harness that you mentioned? (I am not questioning you, I just want to clarify that a lot of problems occurred after the clock spring replacement.)


Should I "recommend" them to check on the harness? (Is there any ways to check it? Or I will only know after I replaced it?)


Originally, they quoted the clock spring for $250. Then they used my VIN number to order the part and it turned out to be $460, excluding the labor charges. And they didn't show me the old parts that they replaced.

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
Wait I am a little confused is your airbag light on or your ABS light?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

1) Airbag light on-- diagnosed fault code 00588.


2) Clock spring replaced -- airbag and ASR lights on.


3) After readapatation --- ABS light on, airbag and ASR lights off.


4) System reset --- all lights cleared.


5) Now -- airbag light turned back on.


Sorry, I may have given too much information at one time and make you confused.

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.

The airbag light I would still ask them about the harness.


The reason the ABS light came on is because the clock spring works with the traction control which is controlled by the Abs module, the module needs to know where the center of the steering wheel is so that it can tell if your vehicle is going straight or turning or out of control so the ASR can step in to keep you safe. After replacing the clock spring there is a centering procedure that needs to be done or the ABS, and ASR light will come on until it relearns the centered position. The reason it was more expensive is due tho the fact that it has ASR.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ya, they have relearned that manually. And since they have done the relearned and system reset, seems like the harness is probably the causes now.


To make sure with you again, is harness the only name for the part? I just don't want to give them the wrong informatioin and end up to waste more money.

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
Yeah I would just ask them about the clock spring harness.
chris and 3 other VW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, thank you so much. Hope this harness will solve everything. Your professional answers are really helpful to me!!
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
No problem good luck.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi, I just got the clock spring harness replaced today, but the light's still on.

And I found a thread from the Fourtitude Forums about the airbag light issues. Can you take a look on it and tell me if I should ask the garage to try before going to the VW manufacturer's dealership? I am just a student and want to sell the car in order to buy ticket home.

A VW Technician mentioned about this:
Okay, listen to me, and listen well because this IS the solution to the problem and it costs NOTHING to do!!
Remove the drivers seat from the vehicle after disconnecting the battery of course.

Under the seat attached to the frame of the seat you will likely find a yellow connector with three wires going into each side of it. Don't be afraid of what i'm about to say. Cut out that connector and splice in three wires in its place about 3 inches long. Make sure when you cut out the connector you leave a little bit of wire in it so you can see what wire matches up with it's partner.

Before you join the ends of the replacement wires together, be sure to twist them around each other (I don't mean twist the exposed wire, rather twist the 3 wires around each other) and then join the wires to their partner wire.

Clear the Airbag code and problem solved.

original link:
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
The connector under the seat is for the side airbag that is in the seat, VW has had some problems with this connector, but more on the newer body style Jettas. If your problem is with the driver airbag then this fix will not help your cause. As far as the fault goes there are only a few possibilities left, it is either the actual airbag in the steering wheel, the module or the wiring between the two. What is the dealer saying they should be helping you out on the cost at this point since they mis diagnosed the car now.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
From the thread, it said this fix is applicable to MK4 and MK5 models.

The dealer told me that the fault code appeared to be the same even after they replaced the harness today. They called one of the VW dealer's service department near us, and the technician said that it might be the side airbag problems too. But they need a day to diagnose it. I can't imagine how much will it cost for daily labor charges in VW dealership.

What do you mean with asking the dealer to help me out on the cost? Can I ask for refund for what I have done at their garage(diagnose fee + clock spring replacement)?

And, will it be alright if I just leave the light on from now?
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
If I were you I would ask for at least a discount on the repair they are supposed to be experts and at this point they have replaced two parts on your car and it is the same as it was when you brought it in. You need to get the service manager involved and make sure they make it right. You have spent over $600 and you are right back in the same spot. If it is a side airbag problem then the internet article you found might just work. With the light on if you get into an accident the airbag may not deploy so that decision is up to you. I do not think the side airbag is the problem if you are still getting 00588 then the problem is in the driver airbag circuit, the dealer's scan tool can check the status of the circuit and tell what is happening, what you have already had replace are the two most common causes of this fault. Without seeing or checking the vehicle out myself I would say you have a bad airbag, or bad airbag module both unfortunately are quite expensive.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
They didn't charge me with the harness and labor fees today. (I think they just took the new harness out once they found out that the light's still on)Does it considered as a discount? Honestly, I really wish that they can pay the car rental fees for me. But their attitude was like they are already been "good" enough to me. It is a local garage and the service manager was the one who did the error code scanning when I first went to their shop. And today, the manager told me that at this point they can't do anything because VW only share knowledges with their technicians. So I need to go to VW dealer.

If I send the car to the VW dealer, will they find the problem and able to fix it for sure? It's really frustrating every time when it seems to found the solution but ended up it's not. I called the VW dealer few days ago, and they said that they won't charge me with the diagnose fees if I will do the fixing at their shop also.

I really need to sell the car by the end of this month and buy the air ticket home.But I also don't wish to sell the car to dealers with extremely cheap price, especially after I have spent so much money and time on it.

I really need some advice. What would you do if you were me?

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
If you take the car to a dealer they will stand by their repairs. As far as selling it, you could put it up for sale the airbag light may not be a deal breaker for a potential buyer if the price is right, that being said in some states the light cannot be on if you want to pass inspection, I know in California it does not really matter, but every state is different. It sounds like to me this independent shop doesn't want to deal with your car anymore that is why they are sending you away. That is why I always tell people who ask me if it is worth going to a dealer instead of an independent shop, I always recommend the dealer. Don't get me wrong there are many great small shops out there but sometimes even though you think the dealer is more expensive in the long run you probably could save money because they will fix your car right and if they get it wrong they back the work and might even get you deal on the rental car. I would say at this point whatever the problem ends up being the cost of the repair will cost as much as your ticket home so maybe you could try to sell it and see if the new owner is willing to take on a car with the airbag light on.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Do you think what this shop has done is enough to file a complaint on this shop to DMV? I actually had filled in the form, but just wondering if I should submit it.

Thank you so much for your help.
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
Well I think you should do something you paid to get your car fixed they guessed wrong and now they need to take responsibility for it. If you do not file the complaint you might be able to use it as leverage against the shop. Look at it this way what if you went into a store paid for onions and the store took your money and did not give you anything for it.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ya, that's what I think too. But my concern is, I am only an international student, and a female. I don't have family here. I don't know what they will do to me when they find out I file a complaint to DMV. And according to the form, I need to submit a copy of that complaint form to the shop as well. I am full of anger, but fear of the consequences.
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
The final decision is ultimately yours, I hope that the shop you are dealing with would react in a vengeful way toward you, but they did technically "rip you off" if they did not know about VW then they should have never taken your car in. You can also file complaints with the better business bureau online. I can see why you need to sell the car now, I guess you can't check a jetta with your luggage on an international flight.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ya, I have all the "reasonable" reasons in my mind to file the complaints,but I just lack of the "push" to take action. All my friends do not support me on doing that. They all think that we are in an inferior position. I called the private dealer which I bought the car from ,I even went to the police station on campus, but all came back with their "none of their business" responses.

I like this car very much. And that's why I am putting so much effort to fix it. I want it to find a good new owner. If I am not leaving, I will definitely get it fixed by the dealer and never gone to the independent shop. Well, it's too late anyway.

Haha! Luckily I told you that I am an international student, or else you might think that I am trying to get rid of the problematic car and buy a new one! :)

Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
I wish you the best of luck on getting the car fixed and a safe journey back home!!!!!Laughing