Volkswagen Beetle P0671: Causes + Diagnosis

P0118 Volkswagen Beetle

P0671 is a somewhat rare diagnostic trouble code (But a common diesel one).  It’s generic, so it has the same definition for the Volkswagen Beetle as it would any other vehicle.

P0671 is typically caused by a bad glow plug or wiring issue.  We cover troubleshooting steps in detail below.

P0671 Definition: First Cylinder Glow Plug Circuit

P0671 Definition: Volkswagen Beetle

Here’s the definition of P0671, broken down:

Cylinder 1 Glow Plug

Your Volkswagen Beetle’s diesel engine doesn’t use spark plugs. Instead, it uses glow plugs to preheat the combustion chamber.

Glow plugs heat up the combustion chamber before your Beetle starts. The “glow plug” light lets you know that they are doing their job.  Once the vehicle is started, the heat and compression are enough to keep the engine running (diesel engines have higher compression ratios than gas-powered motors), and the glow plugs are turned off.

Your Beetle’s PCM (powertrain control module) uses data from the engine and transmission temperature sensors to determine if the engine is cold enough to warrant the use of the glow plugs.  They’re usually only needed when a diesel engine has been sitting for a while.


In the case of P0671, the code means that the circuit that provides power to the first cylinder’s glow plug is faulty.  That’s it.  It doesn’t specify if it’s open, short, low, or high voltage. 

P0671 Symptoms:  Volkswagen Beetle

If your Volkswagen Beetle has P0671, although one bad glow plug is usually not enough to bring a modern diesel engine down.

  • Check engine light with P0671
  • Hard start
  • Misfiring (Until cylinder 1 warms up)
  • No start
  • Low engine power until the engine warms up
  • Diesel fuel smell from exhaust 

If the engine starts, let it idle and build heat before driving it.  You want enough heat in there that cylinder 1 starts to fire on its own.  While your Beetle may run and drive ok once it’s heated up, it’s still dumping unburned fuel into the exhaust until the first cylinder begins firing.

With most diesel engines, having one glow plug out will not be enough to put them out of commission.

Volkswagen Beetle P0671 Diagnosis + Causes

P0671 Diagnosis

While P0671 refers to a circuit issue, it also can be caused by a bad glow plug as well.  Here’s how to diagnose this code in your Volkswagen Beetle

1. Determine if the glow plug is bad

There are a few ways that you can tell if the glow plug is functioning properly.  If they are easy to get to, you can do the “swap test.”

Remove the glow plug from cylinder 1.  Then, swap it with another glow plug (whichever is easiest to access).  Once you do that, use your scanner to clear the OBDII memory.

Make sure your Beetle is cold, go ahead and fire it up. Wait for the check engine light to come back on. 

If the code stays P0671, you know there is a wiring issue, and you’ll need to troubleshoot the harness. 

If the code changes to P067X (X being the cylinder with the bad glow plug), replace the glow plug with a new one, and you’re done.

You can also use a test light to determine if a glow plug is bad. Here’s how to do it.

2. Check the Wiring Harness

Now that you know your Beetle doesn’t have a bad glow plug, it’s time to check the wiring harness.  

Check it for damage (think cracked wiring, bad ground, or loose connection at the glow plug).  The glow plug wiring harness has fusible links, so if the harness is hot on one side of the link, but not on the other, you’ll need to replace it.

If it all looks fine, you’ll need to get an OHM meter and check the resistance at the glow plug.  You’ll need to look up the wiring diagram for your exact engine and model year of your Volkswagen Beetle.


P0671 is usually pretty easy to track down.  Good luck fixing your Beetle!

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