B4 Passat: Safe Mode - low oil pressure warning after interior detailing. Help Please


New member
Jun 22, 2020
Tacoma Washington
Hey everyone,

The Car: 97 Passat TDI Sedan with 218,000 miles. I've had it for about 18 months, regularly changed the oil, and never had any problems with the car whatsoever. With the exception of needing to replace a thermostat. I bought it from an older gentleman who took exceptionally good care of the car.

The Story: I decided I wanted to sell the car and so I paid for it to be buffed and detailed. After washing and buffing the car we moved it into some more shade. Then we parked it and he started detailing the interior. It was a hot day and somewhat muggier than average for where we live in Western Washington State. He was using a steamer that was putting out a good amount of moisture as well. I didn't think anything of it. But when I tried starting it up it wouldn't even turn over.

The Problem: The interior lights and windows would work but the car would not even try to turn over. The radio said "Safe" and the oil pressure indicator on the dash was solid red.

What We've Tried: I checked the oil and is well within proper operating range. I tried disconnecting and reconnecting the battery terminals to reboot it but it didn't work. Then we thought maybe that the moisture shorted out a fuse so I started taking a few out to check. By doing so the radio turned off and now won't turn back on. After checking the rest of the fuses with an ohm reader (without taking them out) I discovered that all the fuses were good. At least the ones under the driver's side dash.

We also tried disconnecting and reconnecting the two oil pressure sensor connectors. This also didn't help. But, when we grounded the oil pressure sensor connector, the low oil pressure indicator would change from solid red to flashing red. But the car would still not start.

The next thing my dad and I are planning to do is buy a new "109" relay. I guess it's notorious for causing problems with starting.

My dad doesn't think it is an oil pressure sensor issue, but one of the connectors is a little loose. Perhaps if he did any pressure washing under the hood he could have disturbed something.

Let me know if you guys need any more information and what you think the issue might be. I am stumped and bummed. This thing is looking amazing and for the frist time since I've owned it, it wont start... Thank you!


Well-known member
May 29, 2003
Sounds like Battery Gave Up They Can Just Die.
With no warning. Nothing was said if a electronic Battery tester was used to check condition.
DO Not Try Cranking With Questionable Battery!!!


Top Post Dawg
Aug 22, 2009
Lompoc, CA
'98, '2 Jettas
No oil pressure is to be expected and won't keep it from cranking and starting. He may have gotten water into bad places while cleaning but checking the battery is a good place to start.