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Issues with stop-start!

What's happening with stop-start? On my current and previous brand-new cars - Ford Focus and now a VW Golf - the start-stop system stopped working after about three weeks. On the Focus it worked for about another two weeks with a battery charge.

Eventually we paid for a new battery at the garage's suggestion. It wasn't covered by warranty according to Ford head office whom we had it out with. That also worked only for a few weeks. I drove it without for nearly all of the two years I had it.

Same is happening now with the Golf after three weeks. It should work. It's part of the car specs and it's good with my DSG gearbox. Have I the right to insist this be fixed or am I nitpicking? The car is four weeks old.

I'm also getting conflicting information on whether to put the car in neutral or drive on short stops at lights etc. when start-stop isn't working.

This is doing my head in and I'd really appreciate your help.


Teresa O'Donnell (Ennis)

Apr 2022 Filed under: fault

Expert answer

Hi Teresa,

We used to get so many queries on this subject that we published a feature called Why won't my car's stop-start system work?

If you read that you'll discover that the systems are highly sensitive to battery charge and load, even when working perfectly. Could it be that you often have high-load items switched on? Things like heated seats, air conditioning, rear window demister, that sort of thing.

Now, in a DSG-equipped automatic car, you shouldn't need to put the car into neutral to get the stop-start system to work - that's only on manual cars. You can leave it in D (drive). What does affect it, however, is how firmly you are holding your foot on the brake pedal when at a standstill. Sometimes it's necessary to give the brake pedal a firm push before the engine will cut out.

Other things to watch out for: if you move the steering wheel, it is likely to cause the engine to restart. And if you're in the Sport driving mode or you've selected the Sport gearbox setting, then stop-start might not work either.

If none of the above changes your experience, I suggest getting a mechanic to come out in the car with you to check it over and observe how you drive, and then let them do the same.

Best of luck with it - come back to us and let us know how you get on.

Shane O' Donoghue - Complete Car Advisor

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