IN Sowetan of February 10 you answered a reader's question about his Citi Golf on which the engine cuts out when he switches the headlights to high beam.

I also have a problem with my 2004 model Citi Golf. When I switch the headlights to high beam, or "flash" my headlights, the radio turns off momentarily, but then comes on again. Shortly after taking possession of the car in 2004 I reported this to the dealer in Port Elizabeth from whom I had bought it. But they said they didn't know what was wrong with it, and to this day they still haven't found the problem.

If you know of any good auto-electrician in the Port Elizabeth area, please let me know.


Funky, I discussed your Citi Golf's behaviour with a few friends in the auto-electrical business and, while we cannot be sure of the cause of the problem without examining the wiring, they suggested the following educated guess:

l It is very likely that the radio in your Golf was an aftermarket installation, perhaps done before you took delivery, by the car audio shop to which the dealer entrusted such work when the buyer requested a radio.

At the audio fitment centre the job was palmed off on an inept apprentice who didn't know that in the wiring on the Citi Golf, provision had already been made by the factory for installing a radio - all the necessary connections, plugs, and so on are there, waiting to be utilised. Instead the happy appy decided to make his own connections for the power supply and the earthing wire on the radio. He botched either or both of these, probably the earth connection.

For a qualified auto-electrician it should be a relatively simple matter to trace the fault in the wiring.

The best I can do is repeat the suggestion of one of my friends: "Look for a Bosch-accredited auto electrician."

That is not an absolute safeguard, as he admitted. Bosch cannot keep tabs on everything the guys do all the time. But it is better than nothing, because Bosch do try to enforce certain standards.

Since Port Elizabeth is VW country, you might even be able to find an auto electrician specialising in VW products. Shop around, talk to them on the phone, get quotes.

l While gathering information to answer your query, I was shown something that is apparently one of the few weak points on the very sound Golf 1 design.

If you lift the bonnet you will see, just below the windscreen, behind the firewall at the back of the engine bay, a flimsy, black plastic cover over a compartment housing the wiper linkage.

If you prise off the clips and lift the cover, you will notice the top of a black rubber funnel through which the water coming off the windscreen and bonnet is supposed to drain to ground via the engine bay.

With the passage of time this funnel gets blocked with dust, twigs, leaves, and so on, as shown by the accompanying pictures.

Water then dams up in the compartment and eventually finds its way into the car. where it trickles down on to the fuse box. Not a good idea.

Because this funnel is out of sight, owners are often unaware of what is happening under that black cover. I suggest you keep an eye on it, especially if the car is regularly used in dusty conditions or parked under trees.