Volkswagens have been known for years to have some of the most advanced electronics systems when it comes to onboard engine computer control. A DME, or Digital Motor Electronics, is your engine’s control center and task giver to make sure your Volkswagen runs as efficiently as possible.
The DME sends electronic messages to the engine on how to carry out these tasks. It also uses the most efficient methods with the least possible emissions. As simple as this sounds, your DME is sending and receiving thousands of signals a second to perform its function. You may think of it as the brain or nerve center of your VW.
When the DME begins to have problems, there are some tell-tale symptoms that can alert you to an impending worsening issue. If you notice any of these, it may be prudent to take your VW to an expert mechanic for diagnostic testing.
Your Volkswagen’s DME may be malfunctioning if your car stalls. When the unit receives information and does not calculate the engine’s needs correctly, it may send the wrong instructions. The engine can actually shut down if this occurs.
Just as with stalling, a faulty DME could send the wrong information, causing your engine to misfire. Misfiring can be felt inside your vehicle via heavy vibrations during idle or when trying to drive. An RPM gauge will usually be the first place you will see misfires happening, as the needle will bounce when the engine attempts to adjust for the misfires.
Your car may lunge forward or backfire, possibly related to misfiring or incorrect gas and oxygen mixtures delivered by a bad DME. These are obvious signs your vehicle needs attention. Do not operate it. Instead, have it towed to a trusted shop.
A weak DME module should activate a check engine light or other code if it is not functioning correctly. Some owners will try and save money by taking their VW to a car parts house that offers free computer diagnostics, but this may not be the best answer.
Although Volkswagens are highly reliable, they are sophisticated machines. If misdiagnosed, you could damage your system or, at the least, lose money by replacing good parts when the problem is something else.
As with symptoms, there are some common causes for a faulty DME. Make note of the below reasons so you can discuss them with your technician:
As your Volkswagen or any other car ages, the protection the manufacturers put into components to resist moisture will wear out. Over time, this moisture will find its way into a vehicle’s electronic parts, including a DME, and cause corrosion, especially if you live in an environment where salt is prevalent.
Years ago and before high-tech electronics were installed, most cars with dead batteries were jump-started by placing the positive cable on the positive side of the battery and the negative cable onto the negative post of the battery. This old habit can fry your car’s computer system and is not advised. Always place the cable’s negative side on your car’s metal structure and not the battery post when jump-starting.
Some people want their cars to go faster. One way to do this is to install computer chips into the system that may give your vehicle better performance. The only problem is, many do it themselves and install cheap knockoffs by accident. These poorly designed chips can cause irreversible damage to your DME.
Electronics do not mix with vibrations very well. If your DME is loose or something in your Volkswagen is causing strong vibrations, your DME will probably fail after a time.
The DME in your Volkswagen has a specific voltage it needs to operate correctly. Bad wiring in your harness or even a weak battery can dramatically change the voltage supplied to your unit. If this occurs, your DME will not work properly and cause issues with your car’s performance.
A DME failure, as mentioned, can cause a headache to owners of Volkswagens. Our expert technicians at Euro Plus Automotive know how to troubleshoot and repair any issues with your Volkswagen and many other European vehicle models.
Serving Canoga Park, Woodland Hills, San Fernando Valley, and Los Angeles County, CA with over 30 years in the business, we are truly dedicated to our clients and our work quality. Contact us today to set up your servicing and repair needs.