Volkswagen EPC Light → Meaning & Diagnosis


Your Volkswagen’s EPC (Electronic Power Control) light is a warning light that indicates that there is trouble with the critical safety and engine components of your vehicle.  These components include the gas pedal, traction control, cruise, ABS, steering system, and the throttle body.

If you get the EPC light, we recommend having it repaired straight away, as many issues associated with the light coming on have to do with vital vehicular systems that keep you safe.  When the EPC light comes on, your VW may have limited  engine power.  The EPC system does this as a failsafe in order to protect the engine from permanent damage.

The EPC light is often accompanied by the ESP light.  The ESP system is responsible for controlling the traction control and stability systems.  When you clear the EPC light, it’ll often clear the ESP light as well, since the ESP system relies on the EPC data.

Volkswagen EPC Light Diagnosis

Volkswagen EPC Light Causes

There are many different issues that can cause the VW EPC light to turn on.  That’s why it’s so important to get the engine diagnostic data.  We cover how to do that in the next section.  If the light is on there will be trouble codes associated with it.  These trouble codes will usually tell you that there is a problem with one (or more) of these systems:


Throttle System

Often the EPC light will come on due to a failure of the throttle body.  Or, the throttle position sensor may have gone bad.  Either way, if your VW is not reading how much gas you are trying to give it, or if it can’t respond to the fuel pedal, you’ll get the EPC light.


Brake/ABS System

Your VW’s braking system is a complicated system of sensors and physical brake parts that help keep your vehicle stable.  If one of them go bad, you’ll get the EPC light. 

The most common brake related issues are a bad ABS sensor, a bad ABS Ring, wiring issues, or the brake pedal switch.



If the power steering is out, or is about to go out, it’ll trigger the EPC light.  Also, there is a steering wheel sensor that can go bad in a lot of modern VW’s.  

Volkswagen EPC Light

VW EPC Light Fix

As you can see above, there are a lot of different issues that can cause the EPC light.  Just blindly guessing what might be wrong based on this information is not the way to go.  There is a better way.

Just like with any other major car problem, you’re going to want to get a reading of the diagnostic trouble codes.  You can use a good code scanner, or you can take it to the local parts store and see if they will scan it for you.  Most of them do.

You’ll want to scan the transmission control unit, ABS control unit, ECU, and steering control.  If you do opt to purchase a code scanner, just be aware that the cheaper ones only read the ECU.  That’s fine most of the time, but the problem causing the EPC light in your VW could be in one of the other control units.

Once you get the trouble codes, just hop back on Google and type in your VW and model with the trouble code and there should be all you need to begin the repair process.  We hope you make it back to this site.  Even more than that though, we really hope you get what you need to get back on the road again.


Can You Drive Your VW with the EPC Light?

We strongly recommend against driving your VW with the EPC light.  The light is on to warn you that vital vehicular systems are having problems.  If your VW will even drive at all, it’s only meant to help you “limp” into the Volkswagen dealership or mechanic to get a repair.

The EPC light is so engrained with your Volkswagen’s vehicular systems that it is a significant risk to drive with it on.  It is very likely that you don’t have ABS anymore or that the steering has been compromised.

Driving with the EPC light on almost never does any damage to the vehicle itself.  So, if you are on the road you should be very careful driving it to the shop, but you shouldn’t need to pull over and get a tow.  But, if your VW just feels right to drive, trust your gut and get the tow.



Driving your VW with the EPC light on is dangerous.  We don’t recommend it.  It is integrated with almost every one of your VW’s major systems.  Take it in for repair as soon as possible.  If there is anything that you would like to add, or any questions about your VW’s EPC light, please leave a comment below.  Good Luck!