What would you do if the EPC engine light of your VW suddenly lights up on your dash? Would you panic? There’s no need to. In this article, I’ll discuss VW EPC light – causes and how to turn it off.
If your Volkswagen’s Electronic Power Control warning light suddenly turns on your dash, it warns you that something is wrong with your car, specifically its engine. There are several reasons for this light coming on your dash. The most common cause is a malfunctioning throttle body.
You can fix the EPC light on your VW by driving your car to the nearest Volkswagen service center. The mechanics at the shop will be able to diagnose the real cause of the problem. But the easiest solution to this problem is to reset the light and wait if it turns off or to replace the engine sensor.
Read on to learn more about the VW EPC warning light, the reasons why it turns on, and how to fix this problem.
VW EPC Light Overview
What Is the EPC Light’s Function on a Volkswagen?
If you own a VW, it will have an EPC or an Electronic Power Control warning light. What is the EPC light on a Volkswagen? The purpose of this light is to warn you if the car’s engine is ever encountering a problem.
What Can Cause the EPC Light to Come On?
There are several reasons why this EPC warning light will turn on. The most common cause is a malfunctioning throttle body.
Another reason could be a cracked ABS ring. There are other reasons for triggering this light on your dash, such as a broken brake pedal switch or a malfunctioning ABS sensor.
How to Turn Off EPC Warning Light?
You can turn off this warning light by simply resetting the switch. Wait and see if the light goes off by itself. If it does not, the easiest way to fix this problem is to drive your VW to the nearest VW car service shop and have their mechanics look at your EPC.
Allow a Mechanic to Diagnose the Problem
The mechanics at the shop will be able to diagnose the real cause of your problem. Most likely, they will recommend the replacement of the engine sensor as a quick fix to your problem.
What to Do When the EPC Light Suddenly Turns on?
You should be prepared for what you need to do if the EPC light suddenly turns on. With the VW EPC light car shaking, you can still safely drive your vehicle with this light, but only for a short distance. That distance should be where you are now and the nearest VW car service shop.
You don’t know the reason why this light turned on. So, playing it safe and checking your car before attempting to drive it farther away is better. Or you can start arranging for a Volkswagen EPC recall.
What Is the Electronic Power Control Light
Electronic Controls Run the Latest VW
Your Volkswagen car is unlike the old VW cars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. If your VW is the latest model, it is run by electronic controls for automotive systems or computers for short.
Processors and sensors control all the components of your cars, from the engine, transmission system, brakes, and suspension.
Enhances the Safety and Reliability of Your Car
This modern computerized setup enhances the safety and reliability of your car. But this current system also requires additional services that were not needed before.
Enhances the Safety and Reliability of Your Car
The EPC of your VW monitors your VW’s fuel injection system, although you can also use it to indicate other related problems. Its primary function is to light up when the EPC of your VW is encountering a problem.
An Activated EPC Warning Light Indicates Throttle System-related Issues
When this EPC warning light turns on, it commonly indicates a problem with your car’s throttle system. But this light can also turn on because of other reasons.
These other reasons are related, so the EPC warning light will turn on whenever one of these reasons appears. What are these other related issues? They include:
- ABS – the anti-lock braking system
- ESP light – electronic stability light
Monitored by the Car’s ECU
The EPC of your VW is monitored by your car’s engine control unit or ECU, steering control unit, transmission control unit, and brake control unit.
Since the EPC system is the work of Volkswagen Group’s traction control system, other cars manufactured by this group, such as the Seat, the Skoda, and the Audi, also have their EPCs.
What Can Cause the EPC Light to Come On?
Similar to the Check Engine light, the EPC light of a VW vehicle serves as a generic warning that something more serious is happening to the car.
As soon as the drivetrain computer discovers a reading that is out of the normal spec for a certain system, it will store the data in the computer as an EPC code or a trouble code.
As such, the EPC’s sensor has provided the computer with certain information that triggered the VW vehicle to be placed into limp-in mode.
Several potential issues can lead to this. They include the following:
- Throttle pedal issues
- Bad ABS sensor
- Bad ABS ring
- Bad ABS sensor wiring
- Bad emission systems, timing, or fuel metering
- Issues with traction control
- Issues with cruise control
- Bad engine sensor
- Internal engine issues
- Broken brake pedal switch
- Malfunctioning engine speed sensor
- Sensor issues can include mass air flow sensor, cam or crank position sensor, or even problems with the brake light switch.
- Issues with vehicle stability control
- Failing battery – the sensors and the computer systems used by your VW vehicle depend on a baseline voltage. If the baseline voltage of the battery is very low, if the battery completely dies, the alternator fails, or even if a battery cable has gone loose, the EPC warning light will turn on.
- Issues with the power steering
Is It Still Safe to Drive with the EPC Light On?
Not Safe to Drive with the EPC Light on
The honest answer to this question is no. Once the EPC light appears on your dash, you should not ignore it. There is some issue that triggered this light to come on. It is unwise to assume that that issue is not severe.
Right now, there is no way for you to tell whether the issue is severe or not. But the warning light is already on. So, you have to act on it safely.
Take the VW to the Nearest Dealer
Once this light is turned on your dash, your VW will be put in limp-in mode. You need to take the vehicle to the nearest VW dealer and have it checked by their mechanics.
ESC May Shut Down
Additionally, some VW vehicles have the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system that may completely shut down once the EPC program has detected issues with the EPC control system of the car. This could happen to an EPC light on a VW Jetta or a VW Golf EPC light.
Limp-in Mode Prevents Further Damage
But your VW is still drivable even if the EPC warning light turns on. However, there will be some limitations on the vehicle’s acceleration and speed. This is to prevent more severe damage to the vehicle’s drivetrain.
VW calls this an “error-tolerant design.” Its purpose is to prevent you from causing more damage to your car. With today’s computerized systems in cars, one problem can quickly get severe and may cause other parts of the system to develop serious issues too.
So, you can expect specific power loss when the EPC warning light turns on your dash. This is part of the engine management system of modern cars, including VWs. They call it the “limp-in mode.”
This feature will limit the speed of the vehicle. It may not even allow the transmission to shift to second gear. The “limp-in mode” will only allow you to drive to the VW dealership without doing more damage to your vehicle.
Again, what causes the EPC light to come on? The VW EPC light is activated to signal throttle system issues. Specifically, your VW has a throttle pedal, traction or cruise control, and throttle body issues that need fixing.
How to Reset the EPC Light on a Volkswagen
Although it is not advisable, you can certainly perform a VW EPC light reset. I have already mentioned that since you are not sure whether the issue is grave or not, it is better to have your vehicle checked by a mechanic and have the issue fixed before resetting the EPC light.
However, if you want to turn off or reset the EPC light immediately, this is how you can do it for whatever reason:
- Start your car as you do it normally.
- Shut off the engine.
- Start the car again. When the engine starts, push the gas pedal to the floor.
Hopefully, this will turn off the EPC light on your dash
You can also check the wiring connections to the throttle body. It may be that after cleaning the connector, the EPC light will turn off on your dash.
The tool that you will need to reset the EPC light is an OBD II scanner. You must connect the scanner to your VW vehicle’s appropriate computer control terminal. As the EPC light is on, one or several trouble codes are stored in one of your car’s control units.
So, you need to use the OBD II scanner to scan the engine control unit, transmission control unit, ABS control unit, and steering control unit to see if they have any stored trouble codes.
How to Fix the EPC Light on a Volkswagen
Drive the Car to the Nearest VW Car Service Center
The best way to fix the EPC light is to drive your VW vehicle to the nearest VW car service center so that their mechanics can inspect, diagnose, and recommend the proper fix for your car before resetting or turning off the EPC light.
The car tech at the VW car service center has all the tools, skills, and experience to examine and fix this problem. They know how to fix the EPC light on a VW correctly.
Remember that your VW is a modern car monitored and controlled by computer systems. It is no longer the simple machines of the 50s until the 70s.
Car Tech Will Diagnose the Problem and Fix the Issue
The car tech at the VW car shop will be able to access the code that caused the EPC light to turn on.
Then they will interpret the code, perform some reading between the lines, track down the system or part that caused the issue, and do the necessary repair. They also know how to solve problems such as VW EPC light and no start.
How to Fix the EPC Light on Your Own
The basic way they fix this problem is as follows:
1. Access the Engine Control Module
You need a diagnostic tool to connect with your VW’s data link connector. This is the only way to pull out all the DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes).
2. Analyze the Data
Once you have all the data you need, you will know the root cause of the issue.
3. Perform the Required Fix
The information from the trouble codes will tell which parts to repair or replace.
4. Reset the EPC Light
Once you have repaired or replaced the bad part, only then can you reset the EPC light. The EPC light will turn off once you have restarted your engine.
Another quick solution to this problem is to replace the engine sensor. Once you have done that, see if the EPC light turns off on your dash. If it does, it has reset itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to the most often asked questions about the EPC warning light of VW vehicles:
What Is the EPC Light of a VW?
The EPC light of a VW vehicle is its electronic power control warning light. It lights up if something is going wrong with certain parts of the VW vehicle, such as the engine, the ABS, and so forth. When it lights up on your dash, please don’t ignore it because it may cause more damage to your car.
Can You Turn off This Epc Warning Light?
Yes, you can do certain things to turn off this light without diagnosing and fixing the underlying issue. But you are doing your car a disservice because you may cause more damage by ignoring this warning light and the cause of why it turned on.
The best thing to do if this warning light suddenly appears on your dash is to take your VW car to the nearest VW service center and ask the car techs to examine and fix the cause of the problem.
What Are the Causes of This Epc Warning Light Turning On?
Several causes will trigger this light on the dash of your VW. The reasons include the following:
- Problems with the throttle pedal
- Malfunctioning ABS sensor
- Broken ABS ring
- Damaged ABS sensor wiring
- Malfunctioning emission systems, fuel metering, or timing
- Problems with traction control
- Cruise control issues
- Damaged engine sensor
- Internal engine problems
- Damaged brake pedal switch
- Failing engine speed sensor
- Sensor problems include a cam or crank position sensor, a mass air flow sensor, or even issues with the brake light switch.
- Vehicle stability control problems
- Malfunctioning battery – the computer systems and the sensors used by your VW vehicle rely on a baseline voltage. If the baseline voltage of the battery is too low, or if the battery is totally dead, or even if a battery cable has gone loose, or the alternator fails, the EPC warning light will turn on.
- Problems with the power steering
Can I Still Drive My VW Even If the Epc Warning Light Is Turned On?
Technically, yes, you can still drive your VW. However, you are risking more damage to your car because you don’t know if the problem is severe or not. A serious engine problem could trigger this warning light.
Or it can be just a disconnected brake wiring system. But since you don’t know the real culprit, it is better to take your car to the nearest VW car care center and have their mechanics find the real issue and fix it.
In Closing: Causes and How You Can Turn Off VW EPC Light
If your VW’s Electronic Power Control warning light suddenly turns on your dash, it is giving you a warning that something wrong is going on with your car, specifically its engine. This light will turn on due to several reasons. The most common cause is a faulty throttle body.
The most convenient way to fix the VW EPC light is driving your car to the nearest Volkswagen service center. There are qualified mechanics in the shop who can correctly diagnose the cause of the problem.
One of the most straightforward solutions to this problem is to reset the light and wait if it turns off by itself, or you can ask the mechanics to replace the faulty engine sensor.