Your coolant is a fluid in your Volkswagen that’s every bit as important as the oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid — so why don’t people talk about it as much? Mainly, it’s because it’s a pretty low maintenance fluid, all things considered. That’s doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t take the time to learn about coolant maintenance. Here’s your guide to changing your Volkswagen coolant.
When You Should Change Your Coolant
Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for exact intervals, but most mechanics recommend changing the coolant every 3 to 4 years. Why’s that? It’s simple: the combination of chemical additives in coolant that prevent corrosion within the system deplete over time. Like oil, coolant eventually breaks down and becomes weak — allowing it to become dirty.
For maximum corrosion protection and prolonged coolant performance, flush the coolant in you VW every 40,000 - 50,000 miles or every 3 to 4 years, whichever comes first. Some people also choose to flush their coolant system at the time of timing belt replacement as it makes the job more convenient.
What Type of Coolant to Use
The only types of coolant you should put in your Volkswagen are either G11 or G12 approved anti-phosphate, anti-amine, anti-phosphorous coolant — whichever the owner’s manual calls for using. Look on your expansion tank for the recombined coolant type as well. Never use ordinary store bought coolant in your Volkswagen, especially if it contains ethylene glycol, which will clash with your VW’s coolant system.
Inferior coolant will react adversely with the coolant system in your VW. Additionally, poor quality coolant can eat away at metal, rubber, and plastic cooling system components. This will become obvious by bulging coolant lines and white calcified residue coming out from under the hose clamps. What you won’t see is the damage happening inside. Deposits will start to build-up in the radiator core, restricting the flow of coolant. This will eventually lead to serious mechanical problems.
Check the concentration of your VW coolant on a semi-regular basis. Check it as the seasons change, and a few times in between to be on the safe side. Remember, it’s made to prevent overheating in the summer and freezing in the winter, so it never stops being important.
If you find the concentration to be weak, change it. A weak concentration can cause problems in the system, water pump failure, and other issues. Also keep in mind that when you dilute the concentrated coolant, only use distilled water. Do not mix normal tap water and coolant.
What About G13?
G13 is a type of coolant used in 2008 and newer Volkswagen models and is suitable where G11 or G12 are used. This is known as an upgraded coolant, and it’s identifiable by its purple violet color. Here are some of the highlights of the G13 coolant:
- Eco-friendly mono-ethylene glycol and glycerine based
- Phosphate, nitrite, and amine free
- Combines glycerine and silicates with organic additive technology
- Freezing protection up to -37°C (50/50 ratio) and up to -52°C (60/40 ratio)
- Undiluted boiling point of 175°C
- High flow characteristics without cavitation
- Contains premium corrosion protection additives
Regardless of the coolant you go with, make sure that you follow a routine flush procedure, use the right kind of coolant, and keep an eye on the levels and mixture. Excellent coolant performance is vital to a long lasting engine and components.