Category Archives: VW Repair

VW Repair: How to Change Your Serpentine Belt

Volkswagen - VW Repair - Quick Steps to Change Your Serpentine Belt

The alternator, air conditioning compressor, and other engine accessories in your Volkswagen are provided power by a v-ribbed belt or serpentine belt. The good news is that you will not need special tools in order to replace this part. You will not always be able to access the serpentine belt immediately, though: in the Jetta and Golf, you will have to remove an auxiliary v-belt first.

No matter what type of VW model you own, you can use the below steps for replacement – skipping over the v-belt sections as applicable.

Caution: Before you start this Volkswagen repair, you want the car to sit for 2-3 hours so the engine can cool. If you do not allow ample time for cooling, you could get burned.

Removing your VW auxiliary v-belt

  1. Make sure the ground is level. Activate the parking brake.
  2. Lock your steering wheel by turning it all the way to the right.
  3. Look for the ground cable attached to the negative battery terminal, and disconnect it. Apply a wrench to the retaining bolt, loosening it. Remove the clamp from the terminal.
  4. Get a pad and paper. Create a rough diagram of how the belts are arranged around the engine pulleys, so that you can later install them in the exact same way.
  5. Grab a socket and loosen the mounting bolts on the power steering pump. Let the pump slide in the direction of your engine.
  6. Take the v-belt from the engine pulleys, and pull it out of the car.

Replacing your VW serpentine belt

  1. If you have not already done so (#4 above), grab a piece of paper, and make a drawing of the path of your serpentine belt around the engine pulleys.
  2. To release the belt’s tension, manually rotate the tensioner pulley – which you can find right beneath your alternator – away from the belt.
  3. Using your hand, remove the old serpentine belt from the engine.
  4. Look at your diagram of how the pulleys were arranged within the car. Place the new serpentine belt so that it matches the drawing.
  5. Take the serpentine belt, and situate it through the pulleys using the diagram you sketched.
  6. Get the belt tight again by releasing the tensioner pulley.

Installing your auxiliary v-belt

  1. Check the v-belt to ensure that it is not degraded and does not have a crack in it; if it does, you want to replace it.
  2. Thread the v-belt through the pulleys, as indicated by your drawing.
  3. Make sure you have lain the v-belt properly in the engine pulleys so that it is seated correctly.
  4. Move the power steering pump out of the way of the engine, and use your socket to tighten the mounting bolts.

Measuring your v-belt’s deflection

  1. At the longest stretch of the v-belt, put a straight edge on top of the two pulleys.
  2. Use a finger to press in the middle of the belt.
  3. Grab a ruler, and measure how far it is from the belt to the straight edge. The maximum separation you want is 13/64-inch.
  4. Take your socket, and loosen the mounting bolts on the power steering pump until the v-belt is sufficiently tight. Again, move the power steering pump out of the way of the engine. Tighten the bolts again.
  5. Reestablish the connection between your negative battery terminal and the ground cable. Put the clamp back on the terminal, and use a wrench to retighten your retaining bolt.

All steps of this Volkswagen repair are now complete. Your new serpentine belt will keep your car continuing to operate smoothly so that you can get where you need to go.

Note: Beyond replacing serpentine belts as needed, it is also smart to buy a backup belt and keep it in your trunk, as indicated by Jeffrey Caldwell in It Still Runs. “That way if the drive belt breaks while you’re on the road,” he said, “you will not be stranded.”

Volkswagen news & information

With the serpentine belt project finished, we can now take a look at recent Volkswagen news that might be of interest:

  • Two-motored VW racecar to run Pikes Peak
  • Ashton Kutcher’s VW could break world record

Two-motored VW racecar to run Pikes Peak

It is a commonly accepted notion within the automaking industry that racing can be helpful in the development of stronger cars. Prior to starting production of a car, you will often not be able to see its vulnerabilities until you test it at high speeds on a track. Carmakers are also able to bring more people into their dealerships from victory in races or even just the publicity surrounding them. Given these different general reasons to race, a Volkswagen prototype racecar will make its way to Colorado to take on Pikes Peak in a few months.

Volkswagen has another reason to race, related to the sustainable design of the car it is using. At a time when electric cars are increasingly becoming a serious alternative to internal-combustion cars, Volkswagen and its competitors are leveraging racing to show off their technology and make electric car ownership more attractive. Since traditional car racing is on the decline, noted Steve Hanley in CleanTechnica, the electric vehicle racing series Formula E is drawing the attention of many carmakers. The Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model S sedans are example cars that will be featured in racing series.

As a dive into electric racing, Volkswagen is traveling to Pikes Peak with an electric racer featuring dual motors in June. The hill climb that take place there on the 24th is the only race of its type on the planet. The stretch of road runs 12.4 miles, increasing from an elevation of 9,390 feet to 14,110 feet above sea level. Electric cars are actually well-designed for this competition. “Internal combustion engines lose power at higher elevations,” noted Hanley, “but electric motors are unaffected by altitude changes.”

Ashton Kutcher’s VW could break world record

The world record for the sale of a Volkswagen at auction may be broken on April 14, when the VW Microbus or Samba bus from That 70s Show is offered at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach Auction.

No other VW Samba Van, or Microbus, with provenance has ever appeared in an auction, which makes people think that this one could be a record. It is worth noting that when That 70s Show was on the air, the bus was auctioned. It was sold for $28,000 at that point, but that was before the Microbus was a point of focus for collectors. Between that initial sale and today, numerous Samba vans have sold for greater than $100,000, and the collectible car industry has surged incredibly.

Mike Hanlan of New Atlas explains another reason why this car is expected to draw a huge price tag: it celebrates the youth of baby boomers, a group he described as “the people who have now accumulated the majority of the world’s wealth, and the same people who pay millions of dollars for the artifacts of their youth at auctions.”

Honest auto repair in Boulder

Hopefully the above steps have been helpful to you in understanding the replacement of your serpentine belt. If you would rather have an expert perform that repair or any other, we can help. At Independent Motors, 90% of the auto repair we do is repeat business. See our Volkswagen repair philosophy.

VW Repair: How to Change Your Thermostat

Blue Volkswagen Bug and Cloudy Sky - VW Repair - How to Change Your Thermostat

VW Repair: How to Change Your Thermostat

The Jetta model, with a liquid-cooled engine, was first released by Volkswagen in the early 1980s. Volkswagen reintroduced the Beetle model as the New Beetle in 1996. Along with the Golf and the Passat, these two models keep the engine cool using radiator fluid instead of air flow. To avoid overheating, a thermostat gauges temperature and reports readings back to the computer. When the thermostat becomes dysfunctional, it is necessary to take it out and put in a new one.

Here are the steps to perform this Volkswagen repair:

Caution: Before proceeding, note that the engine should not be hot when you make this repair. Be certain that the car has had time to cool prior to the work to protect yourself from serious burns.

Step #1 – Drive the car onto auto service ramps. Position the wheel chock in back of the rear wheel.

Step #2 – Beneath the radiator drain valve, position a drain pan that can hold up to two gallons of coolant. Take a ¼-inch ratchet drive and insert it into the drain plug. Let about two gallons of coolant flow from the radiator. This drainage gets the level of fluid down enough that you will not get it on the engine. Once complete, set aside the drain pan; you will reuse the same fluid.

Step #3 – Find the spot at which the engine connects to the upper radiator hose. Loosen the clamp. Pull the hose out of the housing. You should now see the housing for the thermostat.

Step #4 – Take a socket and disconnect the three bolts that keep the housing attached to the engine. The 14-mm socket is most common, but your model may require a different size. Remove the thermostat housing.

Step #5 – Take the old O-ring from the thermostat housing. Put on a new one. A traditional gasket is not used to create the seal, so the O-ring must serve that function.

Step #6 – Take the thermostat that is no longer wanted from the engine and put the replacement part into position. You will know which end of the thermostat should be inside the engine by the big spring on that end of it.

Step #7 – Position the housing of the thermostat over top of it. Use the bolts to secure it. Check the bolts for rounding, rusting, or other corrosion. Replace them if needed.

Step #8 – Hook up the radiator hose again. Use the clamp to lock it into place.

Step #9 – At the radiator’s left side, you will see the fill cap. Open it, and pour the fluid back into the radiator. Make sure there is sufficient time for the radiator to let out air. Once all the fluid is back in the car, close the cap.

That’s all; you are finished with your Volkswagen repair. You should now have a new thermostat in your car so that you know your internal temperature is being properly protected. Your car is safe to drive without concern of overheating.

Volkswagen News & Information

Now that you have changed the thermostat and have that task out of the way, here are some recent news stories that may interest you as a VW owner:

  • VW sales up 6% in February 2018
  • Large segment of VW workforce will get 45 vacation days
  • 50 VW electric cars for German city
  • VW’s marketing chief aligned with blockchain startup

VW sales up 6% in February 2018

Sales for the US division of Volkswagen rose 6% in February, year-over-year (YOY) vs. February 2017. Volkswagen of America noted that the key reason for the sales bump was that its sports utility vehicles were becoming more popular.

The rise of the VW SUV is also a victory for sustainability, with both of the models sold in the United States (since the Touareg was discontinued here) also manufactured in North America. There were 7,486 sales of the Tiguan, which is built in Mexico, in February. There were 4,766 units of the Atlas, produced in Chattanooga, sold as well. That total of 12,252 represented more than half (54%) of all United States February sales by the automaker.

As SUV numbers rose, Passat numbers fell. The sedan, which is produced alongside the Atlas in Tennessee, backslid 50.3% YOY in February, dropping to 3,036.

While the Passat was a weak point, total sales for the US division of Volkswagen hit 26,660, making it the strongest February for the auto manufacturer since 2014.

To look at the first two months of 2018 together, the start – at 51,404 cars – has been 5.7% better than last year.

Large segment of VW workforce will get 45 vacation days

Approximately 120,000 VW union workers have arrived at an arrangement with the automaker that includes a substantial raise and, for some workers, six additional vacation/sick days.

Beginning in May, the union employees will see their salaries boosted 4.3%. During 2019, VW workers will get an additional 2.3% bonus along with benefits within their pensions. Some workers will be able to forego the bonus pay in exchange for six extra personal days (if they either work the night shift, or have parents or kids who require their care).

For the people who do fall within those parameters and decide to go with the extra six off-days, that will mean those individuals get a total, including the public holidays, of 45 paid days off work annually.

VW, Audi and Porsche cars are all manufactured by Volkswagen Group, which has an entire global workforce of approximately 636,000 – 286,000 of whom are in Germany.

The German members of the VW workforce are able to be powerful in negotiations with the multinational corporation because the economy has been expanding quickly and the unemployment rate is down.

50 VW electric cars for German city

In February, Volkswagen gave 50 e-Golf cars to the City of Hamburg. These zero-emission electric cars were part of a partnership between the carmaker and the German port city.

As the new, virtually silent electric cars were given to the city by Volkswagen, the company’s group strategy for new business director, Ludger Fretzen, noted that the 50 vehicles are a step toward healthier air quality.

“The objective of our partnership with Hamburg is to make urban mobility more environmentally compatible and more efficient,” noted Fretzen, who added that this sustainability effort was aligned with VW’s ongoing, long-term green campaign, Roadmap E.

VW’s marketing chief aligned with blockchain startup

IOTA, a blockchain startup, is loosely considered a distributed ledger technology (DLT). As such, it allows computers, for a very contained consumption of resources (and hence cost), to send data and payments securely.

IOTA created a data marketplace that was officially released in November 2017. Along with a major investment from Robert Bosch Venture Capital, that launch has made IOTA a point of focus for international business.

Given the prominence of IOTA, it is noteworthy that VW’s chief digital officer, Johann Jungwirth, joined the IOTA Foundation’s board. His position will be to guide the plans for the foundation and to make recommendations on how IOTA and the carmaker could work in tandem.

Honest Volkswagen repair in Boulder

While Volkswagen sales may be growing in the United States – and while the carmaker may be taking positive steps for workers, the environment, and data security – there will still be times when you need VW repair or routine maintenance. At Independent Motors, 90% of the work we do is repeat business. See our Volkswagen repair philosophy.