Vehicle owners often get bombarded with flashing lights on their dashboard. But are you noticing a raw fuel smell from the exhaust along with it? Well, it goes without saying that your car has an issue.
And considering the two of the symptoms that we have mentioned, you can state that it is a P0303 Volkswagen issue.
But what does this engine code actually mean? And how do you fix it? Well, those are the things that we plan to cover in this guide. Along with that, you will get to know the reasons, other symptoms, how to diagnose it, and what are the cost related to the repair of the issue.
So, without further ado, let us get started, shall we?
What Does The P0303 Code Mean?
The literal meaning of the P0303 code is that cylinder three is randomly misfiring or misfiring in general. Now, where is cylinder 3 in your vehicle? Well, just as the name suggests, it is the 3rd cylinder that will be in the vehicle’s firing order. However, many mistakes this cylinder for the third most cylinder on the engine.
Nonetheless, this trouble code may come up with other rich conditions or misfire codes. That includes P0301, P0302, and P0299 Code in Volkswagen and others.
What Are The Symptoms of the P0303 Code?
Like any other generic engine code, the P0303 can will show a couple of symptoms. Some are more common than others. Want to know about the? Here is the list:
- Check engine light will be on
- The check engine light will be flashing
- Loss or lacking of power
- Hard start
- Excess vibration, especially during the lower RPM range
- The fuel mileage will suffer
- Smell of raw gas coming out of the exhaust pipe
- Jerking or hesitations when accelerating
What Are The Causes of the P0303 Volkswagen Issue?
The cylinder 3 misfires can be because of tons of different reasons. That ranges from a faulty ignition system to an internal engine failure. But just like any other issue related to vehicles, some of those reasons are more common than others. And those are:
- Faulty spark plug coils or wires
- Distributor failure
- Worn or faulty spark plugs
- Vacuum leak
- The fuel pressure is low
- Camshaft sensor is defective
- Crankshaft sensor is defective
- The engine timing is off
- There is a leak in the head gasket
- The engine compression rate is low
- Poor quality of fuel
How To Fix The P0303 Engine Code?
When you get the root cause of the issue figured out, you will need to follow the proper steps to get the problem fixed. Nonetheless, when it comes to the P030X codes, there is usually something wrong with three parts. They are coil packs, wires, and plugs around the cylinder.
First, you would want to inspect and test out some specific ignition system parts. You will be focusing on the parts around the cylinder to conclude whether you will need to replace the wires, plugs, or coil packs. Most of the time, you will notice that something is wrong with those parts, and replacing them will do the trick.
After that, you will need to test out the fuel injection system. Replacing the system might not seem easy, and it actually is not. But when you follow the right steps, it will feel like taking a walk in the park.
Other than that, replacing the spark plug for all of the cylinders, fixing the fuel issues, or intake air leaks will get the P0303 code fixed.
How To Diagnose The P0303 Issue?
When it comes to diagnosing the P0303 issue, a mechanic will go through these steps:
Step 1: Use a scan tool to verify the issue
First and foremost, the mechanic will use a scan tool to ensure that your vehicle has the P0303 code. If other codes pop up before the P0303 code, the mechanic will address them, and you will need to take care of them before working with the P0303 code.
Step 2: Check for loose connectors
Secondly, you will need to check the connections at the ignition coils. What you will be looking at are loose connections. Furthermore, you will need to see if there are any damages to the wiring, especially in cylinder 3. Check the ground wires of the engine as well. They can also cause misfire issues.
Step 3: Check the condition of the spark plugs
If your ride comes with individual coil packs instead of the spark plug wires, you will need to remove the cylinder 3 coil. Swap them with the coil of cylinder number 4. If the misfire is now occurring on cylinder number 4, you have pretty much got to the root of the issue, and it is the coil pack.
You can do the same tests with the spark plug. Remove the one from cylinder 3 and place them in cylinder 4. If the misfires now occur on cylinder 4, then you will need to get the spark plug replaced.
Step 4: Check for fuel system issues
If the ignition system is operating correctly, the problem might be with the fuel system. And to be sure whether it is for the fuel system or not, you will need to first check the fuel pressure.
Low fuel pressure can cause misfires on the cylinders. Then, check the fuel injectors and see if they are functioning correctly or not.
Step 5: Perform a leak down and engine compression test
Now, if the fuel system seems fine, too, you will need to perform a leak down and engine compression test. Why? To check whether there are any mechanical issues or not. Some of the typical mechanical problems that will cause the misfires are:
- Burned valve
- Broken valve spring
- Leaking head gasket
- Worn valve guides
- Broken piston ring
- Engine is off time as belt skipped tooth
Is the P0303 Volkswagen Issue Serious?
The P0303 is indeed a cause of concern. And if you leave it unfixed, you will make your ride virtually undrivable. Furthermore, if you neglect the issue, it can eventually cause damage to your engine. And when that happens, you will need to spend more than you have to for the repairs.
What is The Cost to Fix the P0303 Issue?
As we have mentioned earlier, the P0303 issue can be because by multiple reasons. And you might have to replace multiple parts to get rid of the code. For example, you will be looking to spend $66 to $250 for the sparkplugs. On the other hand, if you were to replace the ignition coils, the cost can be from $230 to $640.
Furthermore, the cost will be excessively high if you need to replace the fuel injectors. That will make the cost for parts only be at $1500 to $1900. Also, along with the cost for the parts, you will need to add in the labor cost. And depending on the store, it can range from anywhere between $75 to $150 per hour.
The P0303 Volkswagen is a severe issue. If you keep on driving your ride with the issue on, you might find yourself being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Yes, the car can become undrivable! So, instead of waiting around, get your vehicle fixed as soon as you notice any of the symptoms.