Disappearing coolant VW Passat station wag. 2003 1.8 L Turbo 4 cyl

Even though I had head gasket done/timing belt/water pump & other stuff = $2800…3 mos. ago, I’m having to check the coolant level weekly & adding about 1 cup of water to pink coolant every 8 - 9 days. The mechanic who did the work tells me that adding that “little” water in “that amount of time is nothing unusual”. I know of no one else who keeps a coolant log. I’m obsessed with this problem. I’ve spent so much $'s on differing repair to this car - it’s as if I bought a lemon.
Car has 104K mi. I’m going to unload (sell) it as soon as holidays are over.
Do you have coolant problem with no coolant winding up on the ground?

Check your oil. Does it look normal or like a chocolate milkshake?

A cup of coolant every week is NOT normal unless you’ve been adding it to top off the reservoir. As the coolant in the engine heats, it expands, and if you’re filling the resrevoir beyond the “hot” marker the expanding fluid will push the reaervoir coolant out the overflow tube.

If you actually are losing a cup of coolant a week, I can confirm that you can lose coolant without having a puddle. Coolant can be drawn into the cylinders through a breech in the headgasket and burned, and a leak in a water pump could show up only when the engine is running and the pump shaft spinning. In addition, a small leak elsewhere could only show up when the system is pressurized.

My first suggetsion is to get a UV sensitive dye for the coolant, put it in, run the vehicle for a few days or a week, and use a blacklight to see if you find a leak. Normally I’d start with a system pressure test, but with a leak that small you may not find anything. Additionally, you could do a pressure leakdown test on the cylinders to look for a headgasket problem. Kits and materials fo both of these tests are available at any parts store and the kits come with instructions.

Thanx. I just came back from leaving my “lemon” car off at the mechanix. As I mentioned. they fixed head gasket/replaced water pump etc. etc .etc. & yet, I’ve put in about 1 1/2 qts. water into coolant chamber in about a month. I think your idea of the dye test is a really good one, so I’ll see what mechanic comes up with today, & then see how car “shakes down”. I’ll go to your suggested dye test next, if needed. I’ve already bought the FOR SALE signs, but can’t put them out with this coolant loss, but I’m poised to sell this car.
I want to buy a Japanese car - small - Honda Civic or Fit or Toy. (not Prius). I don’t have a lot of $'s, but need a reliable car, that won’t be in the shop all the time. Do you have a suggestion for me? I’ll be buying a “used by 1 person” car, due to my finances. Thanks for any further help.

This setup doesn’t have a “reservior” as such…well, it does, but it’s part of the pressurized system.

I’ve seen instances where the reservoir ball has a small crack, which can leak tiny amounts over time.

There’s also a black plastic “Y” pipe on the front of the engine that can crack and leak. It’s only about 6-8 inches long, and 3 regular rubber hoses connect to it. Mine cracked, fluid never hit the ground, as it ended up evaporating on the front (side) if the hot engine before that. I only found the leak by feel, as the underside of that pipe was wet.

Really, that little 1.8T is a pretty sturdy engine. As long as you let it idle long enough for the turbo to spin back down after you run it. :slight_smile:

Feel around those two items. See if either one is leaking.