Volkswagen EPC Light – Meaning, Causes & Fixes

In Engine by Magnus Sellén32 Comments

You are driving your car and suddenly the EPC light is displaying (often together with the Engine light) on your dashboard.

Will it damage my engine? Is it dangerous to drive with? How much will it cost to repair my car?

We are getting a lot of different questions about the EPC light from our customers and therefore we decided to write an answer once for all about this warning light.

In this article, you will learn everything you have to know about the EPC light to fix it.

What does the EPC Light mean?

The EPC light indicates that there is an issue with the Electronic Power Control (EPC) System. The issue is often related to your throttle control system, but it may also be a problem related to your traction or cruise control system.

epc light

The Volkswagen EPC light is often showing up together with the Engine, ABS or ESP Light depending on where the problem is located.

The Electronic Power Control system is controlled by the engine control unit, brake control unit, transmission control unit and the steering control unit.

There are several different car models and brands equipped with the EPC system and especially Volkswagen cars because the system is manufactured by them. 

Volkswagen owns a lot of different car brands and because of this, you may also find the EPC light in your Audi, Skoda or Seat.

What is causing the VW EPC light?

The EPC light is often showing up with other warning lights and because it’s integrated with a lot of different systems, it’s hard to just guess where the problem is located.

The EPC Light does also often cause your car to go into “Limp mode“. Limp mode will restrict the functions in your engine control unit, such as limited RPM,  low power, etc.

If you want to learn more about the Limp mode you can check out this article: Limp Mode.

Common Causes

There are several different causes when it comes to the EPC light as mentioned before. The most common problem with Volkswagen cars when the problem appears is a faulty ABS Sensor or ABS Ring.

  • Throttle body failure
  • Bad ABS Sensor – Common on Newer VW Passat
  • Failed Brake pedal switch – Common problem on Golf 4 & Fabia
  • Bad ABS Ring
  • Bad ABS Sensor Wiring
  • A failed Brake pressure sensor (Inside the ABS Module)
  • A Bad Engine Sensor
  • Internal Engine problem
  • Power Steering Failure
  • Steering Wheel Sensor
  • Wiring issues

How to fix the EPC Light

BlueDriver
Scan your car with an OBD scanner to find the cause of the EPC Light

The easiest and fastest way to find the problem when your EPC light appears is to read the trouble codes from your car with an OBD2 Scanner.

When the EPC light is on, it means that there are one or several trouble codes stored in one of your control units. You have to scan the engine control unit, ABS control unit, steering control unit and transmission control unit for any stored trouble codes.

You can either drive your car to a mechanic workshop and let them read your trouble codes, or you could to it at home with your own OBD2 scanner.

The most cheaper diagnostic scanners are able to read the engine control unit, and because this problem could appear in several control units, it’s recommended to either get a more advanced scanner or let a workshop read the codes from the other control units.

Is it dangerous to drive with the EPC Light on?

You should always fix your EPC Light as soon as possible. When the EPC light is on, it means that there may be several limited functions with your car.

With the fact that the EPC Light is integrated with the steering and the brake system, it could not only cause engine damages, it can also cause serious accidents because of limited brake or steering functions.

When the EPC light appears on your dashboard, you should drive the closest way to a mechanic workshop to take a look at it as soon as possible.

The EPC Light is often limiting your cars engine power and other functions to drive slowly to the closest mechanic workshop without issues.

In the most cases, the EPC Light won’t cause damages to your car if you are driving carefully – but there is a chance that the problem is more serious and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Conclusion

  • The EPC light indicates that there is an issue registered with the Electric Power Control(EPC) system.
  • You should always visit a workshop as soon as possible and not just ignore the problem when the light occurs.
  • The EPC Light is integrated with a lot of other control systems in your car.
  • It may cause loss of the ABS and EPS System and cause accidents if not fixed as soon as possible.
  • To fix an EPC light problem, you should always connect an OBD2 scanner and check the trouble codes that are stored in the system.
  • The Electric Power control system is made by VAG and the EPC light is not integrated with other manufacturers cars. (Only if the car is using VAG’s system).

If you want to find more dashboard signs, you can check out the article Dashboard Warning Lights.

Hello I'm Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I'm specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I'm here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.

Comments
  1. I have an 03 1.8t passat and wouldnt start and my EPC light is on. Only codes are PO411 and PO420. Could a clogged cat or bad o2 sensors cause this. No start but cranks

    1. Author

      Yes that’s right, a clogged catalytic converter could cause both the P0411 and the P0420 code. Try to start it without the catalytic converter fitted 🙂

      1. Hello my engine light was on and off for a couple months.One day whilw driving it just cut off and the Epc lught came on and now it won’t start. Us my engine gone?

        1. So much failures all because of computer sensor related bullshit
          And all mechanics have problems solving the problem

          20 years ago things where simple

  2. Hi

    I have 2009 Audi A3 1.8T. It has EPC light as well as “do not exceed 4000 rpm”.
    What could be the problem?

    1. I’ve 2016 a3 it show epc at 3 to 4 rpm on uphill what could be the problem

      1. Had an EPC and check engine light show up and it shut my engine off. Had to coast it off the freeway and call for a tow. Brought it into VW dealer and they told me it’s a cam and crankshaft sensor problem. They say it’s fixed but, the EPC and check engine light comes on before I start the car. Shouldn’t it not show up at all after being fixed?

        1. Just fuel pressure regulator check if keeping up check on fuel pump if there is module if really hot there your problem solved

  3. MY EPC LIGHT COMES ON OCCASIONALLY ESPECIALLY WHEN ENGINE IS HOT . I CHANGED THE PLUGS . I CHANGED NO 3 COIL PACK . IT WAS SHOWING A FAULT. THE LIGHT STILL COMES ON . WHAT ELSE CAN IT BE.

    1. Get a 93 octane gas and a multipurpose additive for a petrol it cost around 10 bucks a can,u will need 2

  4. Hi, I’m struggling to fix EPC & EML. So far have read few blogs, changed brake switch and serviced throttle body sensor with WD40. No change. However to start with a headlight bulb was missing, when I put a new one, both lights gone. Driven about 5 miles and lights came again. And yes, codes via Scannner were
    18049——-P1641
    17550——P1142
    17961———P1553
    This is polo 1.4 petrol.

  5. Hello my name is Denzel and I have a 2001 Vw Passat 1.8t 5 speed manual my epic light only comes on when I give it full throttle car starts every time and can drive it with no issues until I floor it, I switch electronic throttle pedal still doing same thing anyway you can narrow down what it might be. Thanks.

    1. Hi, my vw polo 9n 2003 epc light light comes on when idles for 5 min + and the rpm goes up even if I didn’t press the gas pedal.. Strange thing is when I press gas pedal it doesn’t pass 1000 rpms… What could be the problem? Thanks

  6. Hi, I have an Audi Q5, my question is if the EPC light only appears when the engine is turned on? or it also appears only with placing the car in ON mode.

  7. My Audi A3 2003 epc light comes on and the car stalls but only low revs when stopping or reversing
    After half an hour it starts again fine
    I had cam belt sensor changed but it’s still doing it
    My garage said it could be a relay doing it but can’t remember which one he said
    Thanks

  8. Hi I drive a seat Leon and EPC light is just come in. Please advise what the cause maybe. Can I still drive?

  9. Hi mine is Audi a5 2.0 Tfsi quattro black edition coupe
    Epc light came on twice in last month. It comes on its own no other lights apear on the dashboard. When i stop and turn engine of and on again it dissapears and never comes back again. Then again it appeared few weeks after on its own, done same thing (engine off and on) and it again gone and drives fine. Is it just the sensor that is playing up then? Cause ive read you article and you’ve mention that it comes with other lights when its a problem. Thanks for the help in advance. Ive bought a car last month, worried as hell atm as have no clue if its major or just sensor lol.

    1. This is happening to my 2014 TSFI A3. EPC light only, car still drives great, only thing I’ve noticed is the auto engine off (when car is sitting at lights or a corner) has turned off. Hopefully not a massive issue. Car people tell me to get it checked out in case

      1. Hi i have a 2009model polo 9N 1.6 my EPC light is on car rides as normal but have no rear brake lights replaced the bulbs but still not working what could be the problem thanks

  10. I have an o3 deasul engine mecedes Benz and EPC light came on and being a deasul engine no mechanic has been able to direct its fault although onex it come on and I stop a while and start it could take me to a very reasonable distance with a very slow speed my worry is no mechanic understand deasul engine in the state I am in Port Harcourt Nigeria so most times I do the fixing my self pls help

  11. Audi Quattro 225hp epic light comes on after about 30 mins of driving check engine light is on and anti lock break light on those 2 lights are always on and the traction control light never caused problem before only have limited power now that EPC light come on

  12. My Jetta GSL 2.0 2002 have EPC light it’s automatic but I need to accelerate almost 4000rpm to make the car change to the next gear, that makes waste a lot of fuel. What should I do?

  13. Hi,my Jetta 2004 automatic transmission has EPC and check Engine lights on,it starts and drive’s but can’t change to the next gear.Have change the gear box sensor, Chang the cam shaft sensor yet the light could not go off,and my mechanic says its the Engine brain box that is responsible. Pls help me with Answers thanks.

  14. Hi, I have an Audi Q5 2009 the EPC light appears while am driving and a speed limit 40 km also appears on the dashboard I stopped the car and I noticed a high temp, and the engine is turning on any more, I kept the engine off to the second day morning and I fill it with water it took 10 liters of water, but there’s a sound in comes. Could you please advice!
    Thank you

  15. Did services my polo vivo 2011 model…when finish drive the car then epc light comes on.car hve also no power
    ..go back they tell me one of my coil packs is finish replace tht with a new one…drive again but car hve no power still….an the car dont drive the same anymore..go back again they say I must go c auto electrician an so him this…17766 passive/sporadic ignition activation cyl 2open circuit TBD what do tht mean

  16. Went in to AUDI to get spare key coded after it stopped working ( due to electrical work on car, battery removed, etc, etc).
    New key works fine, but as I drove out, I noticed EPC light on dash.
    Went back into AUDI to ask they look into it. They say it may have been there previously but not shown up? But as they cleared the codes, its now shown up ? COBBLERS !! Have noticed I now have no DRIVE select, NO CRUISE CONTROL, NO STOP START ?
    Its booked in with them for a weeks time, but surely they’ve accidentally done something when coding the key, etc ???
    Im tempted to take it back ASAP to demnd they look at it, as Initially I thought it was just the STOP START ( as that’s the only message that come on the display, but they assured me it was safe to drive away for the week, but on way home, I tried cruise, paddle shifters (DSG) and drive select and nothing works…wonder what else doesn’t work ??)

    Any suggestions

  17. My son used a pressure washer on the engine compartment now I have epc and check engine light flashing It does run Has the same kind of feeling as a misfire from a spark plug

  18. Hi I have a vw golf Mk5 2006 my engine light is on and the epc light I have had a diagnostic done and it shows no faults but my car is sluggish it does not have power and when I take off I have short gear change

  19. Hi my name is Richard. I am driving a 2011 golf 6 tsi and lately its been showing engen check light and epc light.. What I noticed also is that my brake pedal when dipressed it is clattering and sounds like a boiling kettle of water… Could this mean my brakes have a problem? If yes how do I solve it…

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