Questions and Answers
Volkswagen Jetta Losing Coolant
Q. Thank you so much for any information you may provide! I have a 1996 Volkswagen Jetta, 2.0 liter engine, automatic transmission, fuel injected, with 82,000 miles.
About one month ago, I noticed that my coolant level was low. I replaced the lost coolant, then noticed a loss again about two weeks later. There was no evidence of external leakage.
Last week, my Dad gave the car a tune up and replaced the lower radiator hose. Since then, the car has overheated. We put the old radiator hose back on, replaced the thermostat, and tried to expel any air bubbles that might have been in the system. But none of this worked. The heater worked only sporadically, and each test drive resulted in coolant spewing from the overflow tank, but the temperature never indicated a temperature increase above the normal level.
I drove the car three days ago, spewing coolant every four miles, to a mechanic. They, again, replaced the thermostat, then proceeded to replace the water pump, but still have not diagnosed the problem.
I don't know exactly what they have charged me for thus far, but clearly you can understand my concern. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. The only thing I can come up with is blockage of some sort. But wouldn't the mechanics have tried to root out this problem from the start?
Thank you so much for your help.
A. There is no specific procedure for filling and bleeding the cooling system. The cooling system is self bleeding. It is important, however, to make sure the heater is on full HOT and blower motor on HIGH. Then let the engine run until you feel good heat coming out. Then you will know the heater core is full and you can top off the coolant level.
The 2.0 liter Volkswagen engines are prone to blowing head gaskets. Unexplained coolant loss, overheating and white smoke are typical symptoms of a blown head gasket.
If it is a head gasket, it is a simple thing to diagnose and any decent mechanic can do it.