When you are driving your Volkswagen, your air conditioning may be keeping you cool, but the engine is actually producing vast amounts of heat. While your Volkswagen has built in systems and protections to prevent overheating, those systems can fail, which can cause overheating. Overheating, if left unattended, can have disastrous effects on your engine.
If your Volkswagen is overheating, there are a few things you should know about how to handle it and how to prevent this from occurring again in the future.
Before you bring your Volkswagen into the shop, there is one very simple step you can take that may solve your overheating problems: check your fluids.
The main fluid you need to focus on is your coolant. Coolant is responsible for traveling throughout the engine and removing heat, thereby cooling down each part of the engine as it passes through. It then returns to the radiator, where the liquid cools down itself before beginning its journey again.
You can find your Volkswagen’s coolant reservoir by checking your owner’s manual. Once you find it, check the coolant levels and color. If it seems low, you can add more, but be sure to look for a leak, as you don’t want to keep adding coolant as it runs out of a cracked line or leaky hose. If it looks discolored, it is wise to bring your car into a professional who can assess the system more thoroughly and see if flushing the fluids might help clear things up.
Another part that can commonly cause engine overheating problems is the thermostat. The thermostat is what tells the engine how much coolant it needs to circulate at any given time, based on the current temperatures of the engine. If the thermostat is stuck open or closed, it cannot relay that information accurately and your engine will suffer as a result.
Coolant is circulated throughout your vehicle using a water pump. This pump is driven by a belt called the drive belt, or serpentine belt. This belt is actually responsible for powering a number of essential engine systems; it is easily one of the most important parts of your engine.
While drive belts are made of sturdy stuff, they are still subject to wear and tear. They can wear, fray, and even become brittle and break over time. If your drive belt is not in good shape, it can certainly have a negative impact on a number of engine systems, including your cooling system.
One of the best ways to prevent overheating in your engine is to make sure you keep up with your regular maintenance. When your service technician does maintenance on your Volkswagen, they will check your fluids and your drive belt to make sure they are still in good operating condition, and recommend topping off or flushing fluids, or replacing the drive belt as needed.
It is important to keep an eye on your temperature gauge while driving, especially if you know your engine has been overheating. If you notice the temperature creeping into the “red zone”, find a safe place to pull over and let the engine cool down. The hood and engine will be extremely hot, so do not try to open the hood until the engine has had plenty of time to cool down.
If your Volkswagen is able to drive for a while without overheating, you may be able to drive to a garage, but if it is overheating quickly, we highly recommend getting a tow. Driving while overheated can do a huge amount of damage to an engine, as can cooling over and overheating repeatedly over and over. Getting a tow may be more of an upfront cost, but if it saves you from having to replace your engine, it is certainly worth it.
St. Matthew’s Import Service has proudly served the Louisville, KY area for more than 50 years. Our ASE-certified service technicians are trusted by European vehicle drivers in the Louisville area due to our fantastic service, workmanship, and 12-month/12,000-mile warranty.