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Volkswagen Engine Overheating

When Should You Replace the Coolant Temperature Sensor of a Volkswagen

Posted on July 9, 2021 by smikyautomowp

Volkswagens are very popular for their affordability while still being high-quality, reliable vehicles. Often topping lists of most popular, highest performing, and resale value, Volkswagen owners have high expectations of their investment.

Awareness of how the vehicle runs day to day and routine maintenance go a long way to getting the miles out of your vehicle you want and deserve. It can be difficult to keep track of the many smaller parts that can malfunction. One such part is the coolant temperature sensor. Never heard of it? That’s okay. This is a small part, and ideally will be checked in a regular check up, but the owner can go just a little further to ensure this is running properly and not causing unwanted risk.

What does the coolant temperature sensor do in your vehicle?

Every car has some form of coolant system. Primarily, this is the liquid that is pushed through the engine to remove excess heat and allow the engine to run smoothly. A large tank holds all the liquid which is flushed back after running through the engine block to allow fresh liquid in again. Issues can arise, however, if the liquid is getting too hot; this is where the coolant temperature sensor comes in.

While driving, the coolant temperature sensor (a small sensor sitting next to the engine thermostat) keeps track of the temperature of coolant flowing past. This measure is used to run data back to the engine’s computer and tell it how much and how quickly to pump more coolant. If not operating correctly, the most common issue is that the computer will start moving less coolant, and the engine will overheat. This will damage all other parts of the engine and can stop your car dead in its tracks.

It is important to recognize these warning signs and bring your vehicle to a professional before further damage occurs costing you more time and money.

Signs that you should replace your coolant temperature sensor:

There are a few early signs that your coolant temperature sensor may be starting to fail. The earlier an issue is identified, the lower your risk of sustaining further damage to the rest of your vehicle. Some common symptoms include:

  • Engine overheating: The clearest, and most dangerous sign that the sensor is no longer working is if the car engine overheats. This means somewhere in the process a false signal was given that the engine was sufficiently cool to shut off one of its cooling mechanisms like a fan or engine coolant. If the engine suddenly overheats that is the time to bring it in to a certified mechanic and examine the many involved components, including the coolant temperature sensor.
  • Black smoke in the exhaust: If the incorrect ratio of fuel-to-air is going through your engine, it can result in the very clear problem of black smoke coming out of your exhaust system. This same symptom can be the result of a number of mechanical issues, so even if your coolant temperature sensor is good, it is important to bring in your vehicle for diagnostics.
  • Change in fuel economy: When the car sensors indicate that the engine is cool (in this case falsely), it will pump in more fuel to warm up. This means that an unexplained drop in fuel economy is an early sign that the sensor could be failing and sending a false report back to the car’s computer. Again, as a symptom of many issues this is the owners chance to catch an issue early before irreparable damage is done.

Volkswagen Coolant Temperature Sensor Inspection

St. Matthews Import Automotive Service is Here for Your Volkswagen

SMI Automotive is a family owned and operated business taking care of Volkswagen owners in the Louisville area for five decades. With full maintenance and repair capabilities tailored to Volkswagen, no one is better equipped to serve you. We specialize in German makes and are focused on the specific and unique needs these brands have. Your vehicle will be repaired by expert mechanics who know the intricacies of your brand and model.

Stop by our Hubbards Lane location for automotive service and repair, and to speak with a certified technician to keep your car in top condition.

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