Wow, I could have written the same exact post myself.
have a 2002 GLS Wagon. A few weeks ago on a trip to New Hampshire) just
after getting the car back from the body shop (for some golf ball dents
– guess where I live in Watertown) after driving about a mile the CEL
came on and the car started shuddering. I pulled over, debated whether
to go home and switch cars – a major hassle since we were packed up for
a long weekend with two small children – and then started heading back.
On the way back home no CEL, no shuddering. So we turned around again
and drove to NH and back with no problems.
Just after that I
took the car in to Brookline VW for the 30,000 mile check up which I
know is basically just an oil change but I wanted them to check out why
the CEL had come on. They said they found evidence of some misfiring
and thought it might be a “problem with the lifters” but it was running
now so they just reset it.
Since then no CEL no problems until
this week. Drove home from New Hampshire in last Sunday's big rainstorm
with no problems but the next morning the brakes made the squishy sound
and the CEL came on and the car shuddered. Drove about four blocks and
the CEL turned off but then tons of white smoke started pouring out the
exhaust. Turned around and came home (had to switch two kids in car
Called Brookline VW and they said it sounded like it had
clogged filters (as you described) and the vacuum system had sucked up
water and that I should not drive it but should bring it in “as an
emergency” since the next available appointment was in two weeks.
Before having it towed I started it up for the hell of it. No CEL, no
shuddering, no squishy brakes. Called them again and they said if there
was no CEL I could drive it over. So I did.
They called today
and said the problem was the spark plugs and they had replaced them all
and it's covered under the warranty. No word about water in the vacuum
system but I will assk when I pick it up tomorrow morning.
annoyance is that they won't cover the rental since they diagnosed it
and fixed the problem the same day, even though they told me to bring
it in the day before and leave it.