How to locate a burnt out coil in a VW/Audi 1.8Turbo DIY

Signs that you have a burnt out coil

  • Complete loss of power.
  • Check engine light will be blinking, not just a steady light.
  • A bad rotten egg type smell. Usually you will be able to smell it before the coil blows.
  • Your engine will have a loud rumbling tone.

    Most times a coil blows or burns out it comes with little to no warning, so as I stated in my Spark Plug Tutorial it is best to always have a spare coil available in your car. I recommend that for the fact that it is a lot easier and cheaper to switch one out than it is to call a tow truck or leave your car on the side of the road if the dealership is closed for the night.

    When a coil goes out you will feel an instant change in your cars power and acceleration. At that point it is best to park it in the nearest parking lot. Do not continue to drive around or you will cause a lot more damage to your car. Sometimes before coils go bad you will smell a horrid rotten egg smell. So no it's not your fart friendly buddy it's your car giving you a heads up that the sh*t's about to hit the fan.


Release harness clip
Release harness clip
Pull straight up
Pull straight up

How to locate and change the burnt out coil

This is a very easy method and works just as well as plugging into a computer

  • First remove your engine cover. 
  • With your engine running unplug the first coil harness. If your car chokes up and gets worse than you know that that coil is good so plug it back in. Follow that method down the coils until you get to the one that has no effect when you unplug it and you just found your burnt out coil.  
  • Turn your car off.
  • Grabbing the front and back of the coil pull directly up to remove it.
  • Slide your new coil in, press it down hard and reconnect the harness.
  • Start up your car and you should be good to go. Yes it's that easy!
If the check engine light is still illuminated in your dash you can turn it off by disconnecting the negative battery terminal for a few seconds. Also if it turns out to be the coil under the vacuum box you will need a 10mm socket and 5mm allen wrench. For more detail on removing the vac box please see my spark plug tutorial.

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Comments 8 comments

Doug 6 years ago

Thanks for posting. This was much easier and cheaper than renting a tow dolly (none were available in Pittsburgh the day I wanted one) and towing my car to the VW dealer for the free recall mandated coil inspection. I did have to go to Home Depot and get two 6mm bolts (30mm long) to secure the aftermarket coil. I got extra bolts and will get an extra coil to carry around as you suggested. Cheers! Doug


disgusted 5 years ago

my 2001 VW beetle(65000 miles)has had poor acceleration sence day I bought it;I put new ox. senceors;new maf;new cad. convertor; new throttle control senceor; new spark plugs and wires, and still does not run right. PLEASE HELP!


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Writen4u 5 years ago Author

I'd start by checking for vacuum leaks with a pressure test. Clean out your throttle body as well, but more than likely it's a vacuum leak or torn hose.

On this 1.8t gti I just got the acceleration was horrible, I've found vacuum leaks on the intake manifold gasket, turbo inlet pipe, cam chain tensioner gasket and seal, old worn out braided hoses, one of the pcv breather hoses is cracked. After fixing all of it but the pcv hose so far it is a drastic improvement. So before throwing more money at expensive parts I would start by checking for leaking or worn out hoses.

Replace the fuel filter and run some seafoam or other fuel injector cleaner through your gas tank just for good measure to make sure nothings clogged up. You can get a fuel filter for around $15 and some fuel injector cleaner for 5-10 at the auto store.


adragon 5 years ago

My 2005 Audi TT 3.2 - the EPC light came on, then occasional loss of power when acceleration from start up, the power mirrors stopped working, the climate control doesn't work.

Happened right after I had the oil and filters changed changed and a new coolant temp installed. Fuses are all good. Cleaned the MAF Sensor.


Writen4u profile image

Writen4u 5 years ago Author

I have no idea about the 3.2 engine, but with a 1.8t if the coil is bad it's really not even drivable. I'd think that either a wire or something got stripped or loose during those repairs, the temp sensor is bad, or the maf is beyond cleaning. I would have the people that did the work look it over.

More than likely the switch for the power mirrors could also be bad. You could start by buying a switch for $10 and trying that.

Good luck.


Cory R. 5 years ago

2 coils blew on me last week--this diy saved me so much money, many thanks!

I noticed you got some silicone boost tubes from that ebay store (autobahn88)...I'm considering the same kit because the price is nice. Did you also get a turbo inlet pipe? What are your reactions after replacing the stock tubes? Any performance gains, or just peace of mind in their longevity? Thanks!


Writen4u profile image

Writen4u 5 years ago Author

Hey Cory,

Hopefully you haven't already ordered. The DV and other small hoses from autobahn worked just fine. I sold the intercooler to tb hose before ever putting it on but the charge pipe to turbo hose blew out in about a month, when I contacted them for their "warranty" they told me to email such and such, when I emailed them they told me to email zena racing which is who I bought them from.

So to answer your question the small hoses seem fine but I would never order a TIP or any other bigger hose from them again. So I would personally stay away from zenaracing AKA Autobanh88, that decision is up to you.


Cory 5 years ago

Wow, great to know and thanks again.

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