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i have a serious oil leak on my bug and not sure where to start. My mechanic changed the brakes and seemed to think it was the oil plug. He doesn't like to work on volkswagen so that's as far as he looked into the problem. He also tightened up the oil filter which was leaking oil. I am thinking the guys that changed the oil did not know what they were doing with this car. My wife is the member of this forum and not me. She loves this car but it stresses me out (since i have five grand in this thing). Anyway, I am also having a tough time knowing if it needs coolant since i cant even figure out how to check the coolant level. Also, when adding oil i noticed some brown sludge the caked on the oil cap. Is this normal??? I bought this car for 4500 and i have repaired the water pump,some seals, the thermostat, the timing chain, brakes for about 1400 bucks and it only has 76k on it. I dont think i can afford to maintain this vehicle at this rate. So what it boils down to is...What is the brown sludgy material? Is it normal? How do you check the coolant level? What should I do as regular maintenance on this vehicle? (1998 vw bug with standard 4 banger engine in it -non turbo non diesel) Should i just try replacing/tightening the plug for the leak or what?
 

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Okay, number 1 the sludge is normal until you change your thermostat. Number two,the coolant level will have a flashing red light on the dash if it is low. And number three, do not over tighten the oil drain plug.
Chances are if the leak is coming off the back of the motor that you just have to replace the valve cover gasket. If the leak is coming from the front,there is a gasket between the oil cooler and the engine block where the filter goes.:)
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The drain plug uses a copper gasket (washer) that should be replaced with a new one every time the plug is removed. Most oil change places probably don't know/care about replacing it. Since it is copper it gets deformed enough with one tightening that it is not effective a second time. Some auto parts stores carry them. The size is 14 mm.
 

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I also use a small bit of PTFE tape around the thread , not saying you do the same but it helped for me.


The drain plug uses a copper gasket (washer) that should be replaced with a new one every time the plug is removed. Most oil change places probably don't know/care about replacing it. Since it is copper it gets deformed enough with one tightening that it is not effective a second time. Some auto parts stores carry them. The size is 14 mm.
 

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i have a serious oil leak on my bug and not sure where to start. My mechanic changed the brakes and seemed to think it was the oil plug. He doesn't like to work on volkswagen so that's as far as he looked into the problem. He also tightened up the oil filter which was leaking oil.
I'm guessing you don't do any work on your own cars. If that is the case, please find an independent mechanic who does work on VW's (not a VW dealer). You're making a huge mistake taking it to a mechanic who "doesn't like to work on Volkswagen". Like all brands of cars, VW's have their own set of "quirks", so a good independent VW mechanic is a huge asset to anyone owning one of these cars.
 

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i change brakes (sometimes), i change oil (but not this car), i have changed alternators and radiators, oil sending unit...little things like that but i am pretty sure i didnt want to tackle a thermostat,a timing chain and a water pump which requires almost taking the engine out....as for my mechanic...he is awesome and knows what he can do and what he cant.he replaced the brakes on this car and noticed the leak..i wouldnt call it a HUGE MISTAKE if he changed the brakes for 20 bucks an axle and saved me 180 bucks over the vw mechanic in town.....you have to be experienced with these type of cars and i have a mechaninc for the difficult stuff but they charge a lot more than he does.
I'm guessing you don't do any work on your own cars. If that is the case, please find an independent mechanic who does work on VW's (not a VW dealer). You're making a huge mistake taking it to a mechanic who "doesn't like to work on Volkswagen". Like all brands of cars, VW's have their own set of "quirks", so a good independent VW mechanic is a huge asset to anyone owning one of these cars.
 

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new car

Hey congrats on a new used car. These little cars are fun to drive and look cute but sorry to say they are not for the average joe out there. Their high maintenance, parts are expensive and you gotta do your own work to save cost on repairs. To check the coolant level just shine a flashlight behind the reservoir tank so you can see the level line. Good luck man........
 

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What is it about Volkswagen that scares techs so much??? To be completely honest, it's still just a car isn't it? That in mind, Id say regular maintenance would be typical preventative maintenance (oil, plugs/wires, drive belts, fuel filter, pads/rotors, etc.). For the leak, maybe back the drain plug out and re-tighten it so you know its tight. Clean around and above the plug and check the next morning/after a quick drive for leaks. If there's oil above the plug move on to checking the oil pan gasket and vcg. If it's just around the plug, get a quart of oil, Teflon tape the threads and get a new copper gasket and problem should be solved. Good Luck!
 

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What is it about Volkswagen that scares techs so much??? To be completely honest, it's still just a car isn't it? That in mind, Id say regular maintenance would be typical preventative maintenance (oil, plugs/wires, drive belts, fuel filter, pads/rotors, etc.). For the leak, maybe back the drain plug out and re-tighten it so you know its tight. Clean around and above the plug and check the next morning/after a quick drive for leaks. If there's oil above the plug move on to checking the oil pan gasket and vcg. If it's just around the plug, get a quart of oil, Teflon tape the threads and get a new copper gasket and problem should be solved. Good Luck!
I can think of a few things that scare them about VAG cars, in general. Use of (at least in the US) non standard fasteners (e.g. triple-square) makes them a p.i.t.a. right out of the box. Electrical systems on these things are unique, to say the least. Without a dedicated VAG code scanner, you often can't do much with a "check engine light" except guess what might be causing the problem.

Because of things like this, the mechanic has to start buying VAG specific tools, which is a p.i.t.a. if they don't often work on VAG cars.

Besides the above, it's just more they need to learn. VAG cars have their own quirks, which is where a good VW mechanic comes in very handy. When you mentioned the oil leak, I immediately thought a VW mechanic would at least have a good idea where to start looking.
 

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fix it yet ??

My daughters 1998 VW Beetle is at it again - there is a pretty significant Oil Leak on near the filter mounting bracket. The oil filter mounts to what looks like an aluminum bracket that is mounted to the engine block. This bracket that look like it is made of at least two pieces. The leak is underneath and in the back where it cant be seen (of course) without extensive dismantling - it is going to a mechanic tomorrow to replace the oil cooler seal - # 23

1998 Volkswagen Beetle Parts - Volkswagen Parts | Genuine OEM Parts - VW Performance Accessories
 
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