How to Check Coolant Levels

Everybody has heard the word, but what is coolant, anyway? Coolant is a fluid, usually composed of a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water, which regulates the temperature of the engine block and its component parts as you drive around the Brandon area. Your coolant system protects you against freezing and, more common for Clearwater-area drivers, overheating. For this reason, knowing how to check coolant levels is of the utmost importance.

Checking Your Volkswagen Coolant Level: Step-by-Step

Thankfully, the process is as easy as can be. Take these steps to check your coolant levels today:

  1. Pop open the hood. It’s best to do this when the engine is cool, in case you need to add more coolant. Park on a level surface to get an accurate reading. If you recently had the engine running, or if the engine is hot, you should wait to check the level.
  2. Locate the coolant reservoir. In most vehicles, it’s located towards the left, near the power steering fluid reservoir and connected to the radiator. The fluid could be green, yellow, blue, or red, but the reservoir itself will be marked with a symbol which resembles a temperature gauge.
  3. There’s no need to open the radiator cap. Just look to see if your coolant level is at or near the “Full” line–a marking on the side of the reservoir.
  4. If your coolant level is low, you should check your owner’s manual to see what kind of coolant your vehicle requires. Then, if your vehicle has had plenty of time to cool off, remove the reservoir cap and refill until it reaches the full mark.

Tip: Some Volkswagen coolant is sold ready-to-add. That is, you can pick up the proper mix of water and antifreeze at your local parts department. In some cases, you may have to purchase antifreeze separately and create the mixture yourself. Never use pure antifreeze or pure water in the reservoir, and never remove the radiator cap when the cooling system is under pressure.

What to Look for While You’re Checking Your Coolant Level

Even if you’re keeping your engine coolant at the proper level, certain factors can result in problems with your engine temperature. Here’s what you should look for while you’re under the hood:

  • A coolant leak is the most common cause of low coolant levels, and, as a result, or overheating engines. Take a look at your radiator hoses to see if there’s a visible problem. If you notice fluid beneath your vehicle, assess its color.
  • As we noted above, your coolant should be of a particular color (red, green, blue, or yellow). If it looks diluted, rusty, or seems to be full of small particles, you should drain and replace all of the fluid.
  • If your coolant is viscous, sludgy, or full of oil, you’re probably dealing with a broken gasket. You’ll want to schedule service and have the experts replace the fluid.

If you do have a blown gasket, your Volkswagen coolant can drain out rapidly. Head directly to a service center if you can.

Tip: Wondering when to replace coolant? Under normal circumstances, replacement will come between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. This frequency will vary significantly between models, so check our VW maintenance menu for details.

The Reeves Volkswagen Service Team Has You Covered

In need of a Volkswagen coolant flush or a replacement mixture? Come to Reeves Volkswagen, where you’ll find friendly service techs you can get you in and out in no time. In the meantime, why not explore some more tips for caring for a VW in Tampa?

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