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Volkswagen Engine Light Codes1998 VW Jetta - P0442 EVAP Trouble Code


1998 VW JettaHello! Please let me know what check engine code P0442 for my 1998 Jetta Wolfsburg means. My husband was driving my precious Jetta Wolfsburg, went over some bumpy railroad tracks and the check engine light came on. I tried doing some research into this code, and it seems to mean "Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (small leak)".

I've found this code for every other vehicle except my baby. Does this description apply to my beloved Jetta? All descriptions say to try re-seating the gas cap, if not, then it may perhaps be a leaking or cracked charcoal canister, cracked or pinched hose, or leaking seal (I don't know which seal). Thank you kindly for your response!

Vehicle: 1998 VW Jetta
Codes: P0442 - Evaporative Emission Control System Leak Detected (small leak)

Kim from New York


Hi Kim, thanks for contacting us with your question.

You have definitely took the time to do a little research on the code already. So you are aware that the P0442 code basically means there is a small leak in the EVAP system. And yes, the fix could involve the gas cap or other components. All trouble codes that start with P0 (so P0xxx format) apply to your car. The codes that start with P1 (P1xxx format) are manufacturer-specific.

Normally, we'd recommend you start by replacing the gas cap with a genuine VW replacement part. In your case though, we'd suggest that you visually inspect all the EVAP hoses/lines from the fuel tank to the charcoal canister in the chance you can see which hose is in bad shape. Since the code appeared after your husband drove the car over rough terrain, it's possible something got disconnected or dislodged underneath. If you cannot tell visually which part has the leak, then I'd say replace the gas cap (get a genuine VW one), and if the code persists, have the system pressure tested and smoke tested. The smoke test is the best way to diagnose the problem, but it involves taking the car to a mechanic.

If you have any doubts as to whether you can tackle this, please consult a qualified mechanic. Good luck!