2001 Beetle check engine light (P0171 Running Too Lean)

Cheryl’s question:

My poor little 2001 Beetle has the check engine light on. I went to Auto Zone like you suggested to others, and they gave me the code for free. It’s P0171. they said the engine was running too lean. It does hesitate when accelerating at times. Can you help me?”


well, running lean means the engine either has too much air or not enough gasoline being injected into the engine. Sometimes something as simple as a REALLY dirty air filter can do that, as can a vacuum leak on the engine sucking too much air in. BUT, those VWs are notorious for having problems with their mass air flow sensors (or MAFs.) Have a mechanic check your MAF out by pulling the data from your computer and watching the figures coming out of the MAF sensor section. I see many VWs have MAF sensor failures causing a too lean running condition. Replacing this MAF is a pretty easy job, it’s on the top of the engine and can be changed out in less than fifteen minutes.

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