Simply put, Volkswagens are reliable vehicles that are a blast to drive!  Most models have a great high end feel, with all of the tech and performance you’d expect from a German automaker.  VW Service and Maintenance is critical to ensuring your vehicle will last for years to come! Read on to learn more!

Why Is routine vw service important?

Maintaining a vehicle is a lot like staying in shape and living a healthy lifestyle. If you eat well, exercise, and generally take care of yourself, most people live a long, healthy life. To last as long as it should, your Volkswagen needs a healthy lifestyle as well!

Your VW is made up of countless parts that all have their own unique job, with many of them acting as a small part of a larger system. As with any other vehicle, your internal components rely on fluids to remain lubricated and functioning properly. However, the problem is that all parts and fluids eventually fail and break down. Because of this, it is crucial to monitor and regularly maintain the health of these individual systems, parts, and fluids to keep your VW running its best.

Read on to learn more about the importance of routine maintenance, and what specifically you should be considering for your VW service rountine!

An Ideal VW Service Schedule

Although each VW car and engine is slightly different, the general maintenance schedule for each is similar. There are several systems you need to maintain on a regular basis if you want. to ensure your VW is running right and will last as it should. This is true for any vehicle, but especially important for a German engineered vehicle. Although VW is not always considered as high performance as other German competitors like BMW or Mercedes, they really are!

As always, it is important to partner with a local, trusted resource to determine the best way to service and maintain your VW. VW service routines and maintenance are listed in your owner’s manual, which is an excellent resource. Although we recommend some more frequent servicing, at a minimum it is important to follow the VW guidelines.

The following are our recommendations for routine serivce:

Oil changes

VW Service

If you refer to your owner’s manual, VW generally recommends you change your oil every 10,000 miles.  However, based on our years of experience working on VWs, we respectfully disagree.  In our opinion, VW oil changes should be performed every 5000 or 7500 miles, depending on the particular vehicle/engine.

We are often asked why we recommend a different schedule than VW.  In recent years, many car manufacturers have increased recommended oil change intervals.  They mainly have done this because of increasing motor oil quality and engine technology. However, another large factor that they don’t really mention is the desire to decrease the cost of ownership figures.

However, we have found that to truly care for your VW engine in the long run, it is important to complete oil changes more frequently as we suggested.  If we think back to our “body health” analogy, regular maintenance is key.  If you truly want your vehicle to perform as it should and last as long as possible, you cannot reasonably expect this if you only change your oil every 10,000 miles.  This is especailly true if you happen to drive your VW a little harder than most.

We recommend oil changes at 7500-mile intervals for vehicles under 70,000 total miles and every 5000 miles for vehicles above 70,000 miles.  This way you can be sure your lubricating your internal engine components and not letting friction cause unnecessary damage.

If you own a  VW performance model, we suggest changing the oil every 5000 miles regardless of miles because of the rigorous demands of a high performance engine.

Air and Cabin Filters

MOST VW models have a recommended air and cabin filters service 20,000 miles. However, it is important to understand that variables impact the life of these filters.  These variables can include where you live, the weather, seasonality traits, and even your driving habits.

At Melbourne Motorsports we recommend inspecting the status of these filters during every service on your VW.  This way we can determine the filter’s condition instead of solely relying on a mileage replacement schedule.  This way, you’ll always be sure your air filters are clean.

This is important for your health as well as your engine’s health! Air needs to pass through various systems to keep the car functioning properly. If the airflow is  restricted by dust or other debris, engine components may start breaking down.  

With everything going on in the world today, changing your cabin filters regularly is a good idea.  We still will let you know the condition. of your filter at the time of service because we never want to recommend something that you may not need.  However, out of an abundance of precaution, many customers are routinely changing filters at each service internal even if they could last longer. 

VW Serice
VW Service

Fuel Filters

Fuel filter replacement intervals vary based on the particular engine and whether a vehicle has a gas or diesel engine.

Diesel fuel filters for Volkswagens should be replaced at 40,000-mile intervals, and gas models at less frequent intervals.

The purpose of fuel filters is similar to the air filters.

Fuel must flow to the engine at a predetermined rate. To do that, the fuel’s path must be clear. A fuel filter’s purpose is to remove debris within the fuel inside the tank.

If small particles get inside the engine, they damage the injectors, high-pressure pumps, and other engine parts. It also affects fuel pumps – resistance caused in the fuel lines from a dirty filter can cause fuel pumps to wear out sooner than designed.

Brake Fluid

You should flush your VW’s brake fluid  every 30,000 miles or every 3 years, whichever comes first.  If you have a performance VW or have built a track car, the brake fluid should be changed more often.

Brake fluid is synthetic and will eventually break down due to heat, pressure, and time. When the fluid breaks down, the pedal pressure and braking power is diminished.  Of course, your brakes are a critical system for your safety.  This is why this routine flushing should never be ignored!

Coolant/Antifreeze Replacement

Coolant, which is also known as antifreeze, should be flushed every 40,000 miles.  The exception to this is if your cooling system needs repair.  If a component in your cooling system requires replacement, we would need to also change your fluid.  Examples of these cooling system parts include your radiator, thermostat, hoses, and your heater core.

Coolant flow is essential to a car’s health.  Over time, small particles of debris form inside the coolant system.  These small particles in time hinder the coolant flow, which in turn means your engine is running hotter than optimal temperature.  Heat is the enemy – it breaks down your other fluids like oil.  This is why serving and maintaining your coolant system is important. 

Spark Plugs

Each Volkswagen engine has a different spark plug replacement schedule, and this schedule should be adhered to diligently.

Replacing spark plugs as recommended is critical to minimize damage to the engine if spark plugs are worn or fouled and begin causing “misfires.”

Why are engine misfires such a problem?

By definition, misfires are the failure of one or more spark plugs or coil packs to ignite or “fire” properly. If misfires continue, they eventually damage the catalytic converter, and replacing the catalytic converter is a costly repair.

This is a classic example of how following the suggested maintenance schedule saves an expensive repair: Changing the spark plugs as directed by VW helps avoid a much more costly expense if the car’s catalytic converter would break and need to be repaired.

VW Service
VW Service

Timing Belts and Chains

Timing belt replacement is one of the most essential services for a VW engine based on specific mileage intervals.

Failure to adhere to the recommended replacement interval causes significant engine damage if the belt breaks!

Thankfully, timing belt service isn’t needed too frequently – it is recommended every 80,000-90,000 miles, depending on the particular engine.

Timing chains are less problematic than belts in terms of a critical failure because you usually have a warning. Typically, a trouble code presents itself with physical symptoms like clicking noises or the vehicle running roughly.

If you hear or sense these symptoms, they are indications that the chain and associated parts are wearing out and need immediate replacement.

Transmission Service

Unlike other service and maintenance that does not vary much by model, your VW’s transmission service is highly dependent on your specific model.
Frequency or service varies greatly based on the type of transmission and the age of your vehicle.

Check your owner’s manual or contact a trusted Volkswagen repair facility to determine the correct service interval. You can avoid costly repairs by maintaining the proper service schedule on your transmission.

Tire Rotations

Tires are expensive, which means you want to get every ounce of life out of them before they need to be replaced.   For standard VWs that travel average mileage, we recommend rotating your tires every other oil change.  For crossover and SUVs we recommend a rotation after every oil change.  This is because tires have a tendency to wear faster on heavier vehicles.

Rotating your tires at consistent intervals helps the tire’s tread wear down evenly.  In turn, this helps maintain proper traction, handling, and safety all while saving you from having to prematurely replace your tires!

Choosing Proper Fluids for your Volkswagen

In the past, automotive fluids such as brake, coolant, and oil were considered to be mostly universal. However in recent decades, as vehicles and technology have developed, specialized fluids have been developed.  These fluids are purpose built for your make and model – VWs are no exception.

As a word of caution, if you see a fluid claiming to be universal, do not use it in your VW!  These “universal” fluids oftentimes do more harm than good.  Although they may be a little less expensive than purpose designed fluids, it could potentially cost you significantly more in repair bills down the road.

Read on to learn what fluids you should use for VW service.

The Right Oil for Your VW

Every manufacturer requires a particular weight oil for the engine and further a specific “add-pack” designation.

Using the correct oil weight is critical for the engine to maintain the proper crankcase pressure (the engine’s interior pressure when running).  As we mentioned before, it’s not just about the type or weight of the oil.  It is still very important to pay attention to the Add Pack. An Add Pack is the designated amount of additional chemicals in the oil to improve the oil’s performance. Common Add Pack additives are corrosion inhibitors, detergent additives, anti-oxidation additives, friction modifiers, and anti-foaming agents.

Using these additives helps the engine perform better, but you must be using the correct Add Pack!

VW Service
VW Service

Correct Gas and Fuel

We are often asked by customers if they in fact need to use premium gasoline in their VWs or other European vehicles.  This is a fair question, especially in recent months with gas pricing surging all over the country.  Unfortunately, even with these high gas prices, the answer is still essentially yes.  Higher octane fuels burn cleaner, which helps reduce wear and tear on your engine over the long run.  

Much like using the right engine oil, using the right gasoline may be more expensive now, but could save you thousands in repair bills down the road.In fact, even if your VW is an older model, or suggests that you can use a mid-range octane fuel, we still recommend using premium.  The benefits greatly outweigh. the added immediate cost.

If your VW uses diesel, quality and source are still critical, and the quality suggestions above still apply.

Coolant and Antifreeze Fluids

The only coolant or antifreeze to use in a Volkswagen is labeled as G12 or G13 and a pink (almost a light-purple) color.  Remember, you should never to mix coolants!

There are several reasons not to mix and match, but the biggest reason is that every coolant has a boiling point. Mixing different coolants can result in pressure irregularities within the coolant parts, causing weaker parts to rupture, even when the car is running at a normal operating temperature. If your VW has a slight coolant leak, and you need to add something before you can have it properly repaired, only use distilled water.

Transmission Fluid

Like other fluids, the transmission fluid designation depends on your VW’s year, model, and transmission type. Using the wrong fluid in the transmission can cause transmission failure.  This is one fluid change we really recommend against even the best DIYer trying themselves at home.  Make sure to head to your local, trusted VW service shop to get this completed!

Brake Fluid

For the VW group, the brake fluid must be a DOT4 full synthetic brake fluid. The brake fluid brand is not as critical as long as it is DOT4 full synthetic.

Power Steering Fluid

For the VW group, Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid should be used.
VW Service

Other VW Service & Repair

Just like any European vehicle, you should expect and plan for other necessary maintenance that will arise from time to time. Items that wear down include tires, brakes, suspension bushings/components, and batteries.  You also want to keep services not based on a schedule in mind, such as tire alignments and injector cleanings.

It is important to work with a trusted repair shop that will keep you informed of these routine wear and tear items as they inspect your VW each time you bring it in for service.  When you know the lifetime of a component is coming to and end in. the near future, you can plan and budget better for the repair.  If you are unaware of the condition these items are in, you’ll find out when it fails and you’re stranded on the side of the road.


VW Service — Melbourne Motorsports

Motorsports is your trusted resource for VW service on the Space Coast.   Whether you need a major repair or a simple oil change, we’re here to help.The need for service and repairs happen with any make and model vehicle – not just VWs.  However, as a VW owner, it’s best to stay on top of your services and routine wear and tear items so you can avoid these unforeseen repairs and higher repair bills.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, for the latest in all things European cars!

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