Engine overheating and oil pressure light



Yup, it’s at the age where things start wearing out

wine may get better with age

cars generally don’t


I know that any car will need maintenance, but it’s been one thing after another in the five months I’ve had it and I just can’t really afford to keep having issues with my car like this. It’s a $600 plus bill everytime we take it in. I’ve never had this many problems in such a short time with my Honda or Kia, both 2007’s. I’m pissed too because I only have this car now because my last car got totaled by some guy not paying attention so I got quite a bit less than what I bought it for just a year earlier and had to hurry up and find a car. I didn’t want to have a car payment at the time so I bought the VW outright like I had my Kia. But this is kind of getting ridiculous. I’m thinking it would be worth it to get a more reliable car that I know more of the history of that hopefully won’t have so many issues popping up. I’m totally fine with hundreds of dollars a year in maintenance, but it’s been hundreds of dollars every other month so far.


Check to see what Consumer Reports’ Used Car Guide says about your 2003 Beetle. It will rate it – compared to other cars of the same model year – for reliability on a dozen or so areas, like cooling system, suspension system, engine, electrical system, body hardware, etc. That will give you some data upon which to base a rational decision whether its better to sell it now or wait. For example if most owners say their 2003 Beetles of that year have proved to be pretty reliable, then it probably makes sense to fix what’s broken and keep it. However if they say their 2003 Beetle hasn’t been very reliable, then it’s probably time to get another car.


I may be wrong, but I believe CR car ratings only go back 10 years

Perhaps Edmunds goes back further, FWIW


Library, past issues.


Thanks, I’ll check it out. I had seen some reviews about the car having a lot of problems, but I generally chalk that up to poor maintenance. And that is kind of the problem here, that the car has had five previous owners and I have no clue how they took care of it.


I’m not suggesting this is the case here . . .

But I can name you all sorts of cars that had serious mechanical problems, NOT due to poor maintenance

But you are right, in the sense that a poorly maintained car will likely have more mechanical problems, versus one that was maintained impeccably


I can’t see bothering with Consumer Reports on a 13 year old vehicle. The problem areas could have been taken care of and it may have developed new ones. It could also be fine after these problems are solved. Or not. Current condition of the vehicle is all that matters.


VW’s (and all European brands) tend to be more problematic than average.


If you have a car with no rad cap, unbolt the remote tank and raise it up. still connected to the radiator. If the radiator is full the fluid won’t drain out of the tank. If your radiator level is low, the fluid is low and you have either a leak or and overheating problem that is pushing the fluid out.


I agree with db4690 that you need to have the engine oil pressure checked with an external gauge. The results of that test could allow you to rest a little easier or send you to the closest bar to get liquored up.

Overheating issues are much easier to resolve than a low oil pressure issue.


“send you to the closet bar to get liquored up.”

way ahead of you



It ended up needing a new water pump, thermostat and coolant sensor. Another 500+ dollar job. I love the car but honestly if another big and expensive problem comes up in the next month or two I am going to need to consider looking into getting another one. On the plus side though my fiance’s car that crapped out over a year ago and that has been sitting at the mechanics house all this time is basically fixed now so we will have a backup car at least if anything else happens so it won’t be such a big deal. Thanks for the advice everyone!


So what did that have to do with the oil pressure light illuminating?

Unless the engine was so severely and chronically overheating it was turning the motor oil into a lubricant with the viscosity of water. If that’s the case then there may be other issues that may soon surface.

I would advise checking the oil level on a very regular basis to monitor the consumption.


On a 13 year old car you should plan to expect repair bills of this nature from time to time. Budget for it maybe. Say $150 a month or so, just set that amount aside. Still a lot less expensive than new car & new car insurance payments.


Logic in the instrument cluster probably turned on the oil light 25 degrees after the temperature warning light was ignored.


With a 13 year old Beetle, I would start looking for another car anyways. But that’s just me.