Q: Brown Sludge in Radiator Reservoir and Very little coolant

asked by on June 14, 2017

brown sludge in radiator reservoir. I have a 2002 passat 1.8t. Nothing is mixed in with the oil. My father flushed the coolant system, first thing this morning and I drove my other car to work. We let the car run for a few minutes and the radiator reservoir was clear. I came back after work ( approx 8 hours: don't know if it matters), started the car and the check coolant light came on immediately. Checked the reservoir and there is was again. Coolant overflowed everywhere the first time the brown sludge happened and got on a lot of stuff, so I couldn't tell if the white smoke was coming from my tailpipe or if it was burning off because things were hot. No sign of oil leakage either. I did refill coolant the first time the coolant came on but I did not take in consideration the type of coolant and mixed coolants. Also my dad drained the radiator and poured water in the reservoir to flush. I figured you would have to let the water run through the system to completely get all the sludge

My car has 169000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Brown sludge could be a consequence of mixing incompatible coolants as well as not draining the coolant frequently enough. At this point, you just want to be sure that as much of the contaminants as possible have been removed and re-introduce the correct coolant for your vehicle. If the coolant level was low and you are having to periodically top off the system, that means there is a leak and, if so, that should be repaired. If you suspect a leak, to get the required repair estimated, please request an engine cooling system leak diagnostic and the responding certified mechanic will get this resolved for you. If you want the system thoroughly cleaned and the correct antifreeze added, just request a cooling system flush. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

I have reach a little over 46k miles on my 2015 VW Jetta Base model L4 - 2.0L & is due for spark plugs, what all do I need done?

Hi there. One of our better tools on this website and also available through our mobile app is the scheduled maintenance search tool that can be accessed by clicking this link. Simply enter your vehicle information in each section as...

Car hard to steer after making loud noise

When that pulley came off, it allowed the belt to come off that drives the power steering pump. Once the pulley is replaced, the belt can be reinstalled, and then you should have power steering again. I would ask for...

Squeaky noise at the back of the car.

This would need to be heard while driving the vehicle to try and to diagnose if it is a brake or suspension problem. Recommend a qualified mechanic check it out for you.

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy If You Need to Haul a Motocross Bike
Of Of course you would love to be able to ride your motocross bike everywhere, but the reality is, at some point you're going to need to transport it. A cargo van of almost any make or model would be...
The Best Used Cars to Buy if You Live Close to the Ocean
If If you live close to the ocean, your vehicle is going to be far more vulnerable to rust than if you lived further inland. And the fact is, when it comes to resisting rust, not all vehicles are created...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Volkswagen Golf
The The 2012 Volkswagen Golf offers comfort and an elegant design for a variety of transportation needs. The Golf is a solid vehicle, good size, and great value, especially when it comes to comparing prices of similar vehicles. Key Features...