The digital motor electronic, or DME, controls most of the operations within your Volkswagen engine. This component helps your engine to maintain reliability, keep fuel consumption low, reduce emissions, and maximize performance. Because of how integral it is, as this component starts to fail it can cause serious damage to your engine.

The Function of a DME

The DME sensors are responsible for detecting elements and factors which otherwise influence the operation of your engine. All of this data is captured, evaluated, and translated into different commands that are then sent to your fuel injection system and your ignition system. This simple component receives over 1,000 data items every second, including information about the speed of your vehicle, the air temperature around your vehicle, the air density, the air flow rate, the throttle position, and the accelerator position. All of this data is verified and compared with how the rest of your vehicle system is reacting.

That said, if your sensor is failing, the data is not delivered correctly. For example, if one of your spark plugs is defective, assuming the DME is working, it will stop fuel to that particular plug so as to avoid damage the engine. However, if there is a problem with the delivery of data and the communication, the DME might not get the information that the spark plug in question is defective, so it might not send information to stop the flow of fuel to cylinder.

Common Symptoms of DME Communication Failure

There are very specific symptoms that Volkswagen owners can be on the lookout for. There may be many possible reasons for a check engine light, but one possibility is your engine control unit sensing a problem with part of the electronic equipment. In order to figure out if the check engine light is alerting you to a faulty DME, you will need to have the code checked by professionals. There are specific codes indicative of mechanical, sensor, or electrical problems.

Another symptom is if your vehicle stalls or the engine misfires. If this happens randomly it could be the result of a failing control unit providing incorrect engine data. If the issue gets worse, you will notice that your engine performs poorly at intermittent intervals for no reason. You might notice poor acceleration, low power, or increased fuel consumption. All of these could be indicative of the same problem — a faulty DME.

In the most severe of situations, your car might not start at all. It might initially have problems starting until the point that it simply doesn’t turn on. If this happens, that means your control unit has been damaged and there is no control over the functionality of the engine.

Replacing the DME

If you find that your DME is not working properly, you will likely need to replace it immediately. There are some Volkswagen vehicles with an existing warranty that covers this replacement if it fails prematurely. In some situations, there might simply be a minor issue which can be repaired at significantly lower cost ,especially if the issue is caught early on. Part of that early detecting means noticing when things are not functioning properly and taking the car in to be inspected when the check engine light comes on. However, in most cases you will need to replace the unit entirely. The best way to know if your Volkswagen symptoms are the result of a DME is to have a certified technician check your vehicle.

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Ask the Professionals

Our service technicians at Foreign Automotive are specially trained on Volkswagen vehicles and all other European designs. Each member of our staff brings years of professional experience to the team. DME communication failure in Volkswagens can be difficult to deal with, and are certainly not something you want to try and fix at home. If you notice your engine is not being nearly as reliable as it should be by Volkswagen standards, drop by and let our experts take a look.

We are convenient to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, or Ontario, Canada, and are dedicated to helping make repairs and regular maintenance a breeze. To make sure your Volkswagen gets the service it deserves, stop by today and let us take care of your car.

* Volkswagen Passat image credit goes to: kurmyshov.

* Volkswagen Logo image credit goes to: vesilvio.