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Matt, Engineer
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 21990
Experience:  Mechanical Engineer with 20 years experience in the auto industry, 8 yrs in formula 1 engine testing
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I was driving last night home from work and the gas pedal

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I was driving last night home from work and the gas pedal was unresponsive and would only drive in 3rd gear.
JA: Has the vehicle turned into a gas hog? And how does it start -- same as usual?
Customer: It starts normally, I took it for a drive today and it was running fine no error lights
JA: What is the model/year of your VW?
Customer: 2012 VW Jetta SE 2.5L
JA: Are you fixing your Jetta yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I take it into the dealership
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: Nope


This sounds like a lack of fuel and could be a lack of fuel pressure from the electrical pump at the tank.
1st thing to try is to remove the fuel filler cap and then flick the ignition on whilst listening for the brief ‘buzz’ of the pump

If the connections to the pump are corroded or damaged then the pump could stop at any time or could not be running at full speed. Check that its relay switches in and out and the relay contacts are clean and bright – replace the relay if in any doubt and do the same for the fuse,
Ideally measure the pressure at the injector rail (should usually be around 3Bar / 45psi +) and if this is low check the pump as described and also consider changing the fuel filter as if this partially blocked this too will reduce pressure.

You can also get this issue with contaminated fuel , if there’s water or dirt in the tank then either the petrol floats on top of the water or the filter sock on the pump is choked up – so if the other things check out then I’d consider pulling out the fuel pump and cleaning the filter sock

And one other thing to try is to loosen off the fuel filler cap, as there’s a 1 way valve built into the cap to let air into the tank and so prevent a vacuum from being created as the fuel leaves the tank to the engine
If this helps then replace the cap with a new item

if this is all OK then I'd next be checking to see if the throttle is opening fully and also operating smoohtly

if you remove the air intake pipe and have your assistant slowly push down on the gas pedal with the ignition on but engine off

the throttle should open smoothly and steadily , any jerking and it should be cleaned

if that doesn't help then the throttle may have to be replaced

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