If you are getting the “check coolant level” on your VW dashboard and you don’t have any idea what it means, then this article is for you.
In this article, I will discuss the meaning and causes of this warning message on Volkswagens.
This is a common issue on VWs; luckily, from my experience, it’s an easy fix, however, it needs to be fixed right away to prevent any potential damage to your engine. Let’s get to it.
The Role of Coolant on Your VW
In order to really understand what the check coolant message means and why it’s important, you have to understand what coolant does.
In simple terms, Coolant also known as Antifreeze is a liquid that circulates through your engine and prevents it from overheating.
When the engine runs hot, it needs more than just water, so manufacturers add a special chemical to the fluid that allows it to function properly in high temperatures.
What Does VW “Check Coolant” Mean?
Now that you understand what the coolant does, let’s look at what this warning means.
In short, when your Volkswagen displays “check coolant level. owner’s manual” it simply means your car computer has detected a problem with the coolant level, and it needs to be checked.
It’s important to note that sometimes the message will come on although the coolant is at the recommended level due to a faulty sensor.
What Causes the Check Coolant Level Message on a VW?
After working on Volkswagens for years, I can tell you that there are a few common causes of the “check coolant level” message.
Let’s take a look at some of those below
1. Low Coolant Level:
The most common and obvious cause is a low coolant level.
Your VW expansion tank (Water Bottle) has a sensor that tells the car’s computer how much coolant is in your system.
If this sensor detects a low coolant level, then it will trigger the check coolant level message.
There are a couple of reasons why your car’s coolant level might drop, including
Overtime Coolant Usage:
Since your engine and the coolant system needs coolant to operate, it’s normal for the coolant level to drop over time (1-2 years).
This is especially true if you drive a lot of stop-and-go traffic.
If you notice that your VW Expansion Tank (Water Bottle) has dropped below the MIN mark, then it’s time to top off your coolant fluid levels.
If your coolant level drops faster than normal, then the most likely cause is a leak in the cooling system.
This can happen from a cracked coolant expansion tank, a faulty water pump, or even from the cooling system hoses cracking under pressure.
2. Bad Coolant Level Sensor:
Another common cause of the “Check Coolant” warning on your VW is a faulty coolant level sensor.
As I mentioned above, your vehicle coolant bottle is equipped with a sensor that’s used to monitor the levels of coolant in the system.
If this sensor is faulty, then it may not send the proper signals to your VW’s computer and trigger a “Check Coolant level” warning.
A quick way to tell if you have a damaged coolant level sensor is when the “Check Coolant” warning appears even after you’ve filled your coolant bottle to the proper level.
How to Fix the Check Coolant Warning on Your VW?
Now that you know the two most common causes for this issue, let’s look at how you can go about fixing it.
Check Coolant Level
The first thing you’ll want to do is check your coolant level and make sure that it’s not too low.
If it is, then fill it back up until the fluid reaches the proper level on the tank and drive for a few minutes before checking again.
Replace the Coolant Expansion Tank
If the coolant is at the recommended level and the warning is still on then the culprit is definitely a bad coolant level sensor.
Instead of just replacing the faulty sensor, I recommend I recommend replacing the entire coolant expansion tank.
Since it comes with a new sensor and it’s much easier to install than it is to replace the sensor.
Once you have replaced the coolant expansion tank, drive for a few minutes the fault message should clear and the warning light will go off.
If it doesn’t then there is still something wrong with your battery, try to check its voltage.