Low coolant? 2002 VW



so, the ‘kid’ recent college grad is driving at “65” MPH on the PA turnpike & calls mom to say his ‘low coolant light’ just came on.

Mom’s in upstate NY, he’s in Philly…


He did this to me about a month ago in his '93 Buick regal, but then it was oil pressure gage…engine ended up toast, hence the 2002 VW.

No, we didn’t buy the ‘new’ VW…

So…how bad is “low coolant” when the light comes on?

Should he take it back to the dealer?

Or maybe he should just start looking for other ways to get to his job in NJ?



So…how bad is “low coolant” when the light comes on?

In most cases this is trivial. It’s not at all like the low oil pressure light. Should the light come on while driving, glance at the temperature gauge. This should be normal. If so, continue driving to the next water faucet. Add a pint or so of water to the coolant reservoir and continue on your way.

It is unlikely but still possible that a hose suddenly burst and you have lost excessive amounts of coolant. In that ugly case the temperature gauge will let you know, and you will hear a warning chime. In that case, pull over and turn off the engine. Call for help.

But a simple case of low level is not a cause for panic.