|TECH TIP||Technical Index|
New Beetle Ė Oil Change
by Mike C. -
As many articles as Iíve written on the air-cooled variety of VWís, itís time I put in some info for you New Beetle owners out there. I admit even though Iíve owned a New Beetle since 1998, itís taken me awhile to learn the inís, outís, and idiosyncrasies of these wonderful modes of transportation. Why this long? Well, apart from doing oil changes and other minor things, you can basically keep the hood shut (yep, the front decklid) and just clean and wax it once in awhile. Yes, the New Beetle, along with VWís other fine autos, is a very reliable, relatively maintenance-free vehicle. But, just like any car out there, you must change the oil regularly to keep the maintenance-free characteristic alive. In this article, I will go into the oil change particulars for the New Beetle. Keep in mind, the procedures will apply (perhaps with minor exceptions) to the Golf and Jetta (Ď98-up) as well.
First of all, let me start by giving you a few pointers. What type of oil you choose to use is up to you. I do recommend that you use 10W-30 oil year round. There are three basic types of oil:
100% mineral oil is the least expensive, find it anywhere, and has run many a car past 100,000 miles. You must keep this oil changed regularly, as it tends to break down more quickly than the synthetics. I wouldnít recommend going past 3000 miles with 100% mineral oil.
Mineral/synthetic blend is middle-of-the-road in price and provides a bit better start-up protection than 100% mineral oil.
100% synthetic oils are the most expensive but the best in terms of cold start-up protection, friction reduction, and high temperature resistance (great for you 1.8 turbo folks). My recommendation is that you go no more than 5000 miles between changes with the 100% synthetic. If you choose to go 100% synthetic, let a new car go to its first oil change interval and then switch over. Piston rings are fully seated after the first 20 or so minutes of running, therefore it should be no problem switching when the time comes.
Do use a genuine VW oil filter, as they contain the correct bypass valves and anti-drainback valves so your engine wonít see possible long-term damage.
Donít put more than 4.7 quarts of oil in these engines (2.0 and 1.8 both use 4.5 quarts) or you may damage the catalytic converter! This is where it may stop many of you from changing your own oil Ė donít try to jack the car up anywhere in the middle! The only areas you can jack up your New Beetle without causing serious damage is under the rocker panels, where you would put the scissors-jack. I highly recommend you use ramps and drive the car up on them and then proceed.
Given that, hereís what youíll need to do the job:
* A specific-fit version can be found at auto parts stores
If you decide not to change the oil yourself, at least keep all the above in mind, as the quickie lube places or even the dealerships sometimes leave things off or leave things messy after the work is done. They are particularly bad about getting the oil drain plug and oil filter way too tight. Also, how do you know whether they really put in synthetic oil when you asked for it? Unless you saw it yourself, they may have sneaked one past you. Maybe not, but it is something to think about while you are eating some bratwurst nachos!
Your VW Maniac and tech specialist,