Q: VW Polo overheats on the highway

asked by on December 27, 2016

Hi, I hope you can assist me, as I am at my wit's end. My 1.4 tdi polo overheated on the freeway about 2 months ago. No overheating in stop-go traffic. A mechanic serviced it, replaced the water bottle, thermostat and its housing and flushed the system. A week later it overheated again on the freeway. A radiator shop then checked gas emissions, there was no reaction to test liquid. While replacing the radiator they found that the intercooler housing was mounted incorrectly, damaging the intercooler. It was repaired and the car's performance definitely improved. All was well for about 3 weeks, no overheating or even temperature spikes at all. On 24 December I drove further than I usually do, and while raining the car overheated again. I drove very slowly to the nearest garage, as stopping next to the road in my country is not safe and with the rain I would not have been able to see much. Someone helped to brigde the fan so that I can reach my destination, but the car kept on overheating. I stopped and waited for it to cool quite often. When returning home on 26 December, if I kept it below 100km per hour it was ok, but on hills the temp climbed. I am not sure what could still be wrong, and everyone I spoke to were confused as the car has not overheated once in stop-go traffic, only on the freeway. Any advice or ideas of what else to check/test would be greatly appreciated.

My car has 133000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Car is overheating Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Intermittent overheating problems can be very frustrating. But it sound like you’ve already covered half the bases. Usually overheating problems can be attributed to low coolant, thermostats, or radiators. At other times there may be problems with head gasket leakage which your guys with test liquid were checking for. But VW has thrown in another variable by switching to plastic water pump impellers. The old metal impellers were trouble free, but the plastic impellers can crack and become ineffective. The trouble with the water pump is that you can’t really check it without removing it. So most of the time we eliminate all the other possibilities before looking at that one. But just in case something was overlooked in the other shops, I suggest you contact Your Mechanic to have a technician come to your home or office to check out your overheating problem and let you know what can be done about it.

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

What others are asking

My ford explorer 2003 is sputtering when RPM goes below 2000 when driving arounde 60 mph

You may have problems with ignition coils or spark plugs or one of the computer sensors. I recommend having a computer scan to get any stored codes that may give a better idea of what is causing the problem. ...

what causes the seat belt light on the dash to stay on after you have buckled upand motor is started up?

Hello there. In most cases, the seat belt light will stay on when the seat belt sensor is damaged, or the housing where the buckle is inserted is damaged and needs to be replaced. With the ABS light, this could...

battery replacement

This sounds like what they are saying is that the problem may not be the battery but rather the alternator. When the alternator is charging the battery at a rate that is higher than normal it can damage the battery....

Antifreeze leaking out of the top of the engine

Hi. The coolant leak needs to be addressed first. The coolant bleeder housing on the 2.7L engines are susceptible to warping or cracking causing leaks. The system needs to be pressure tested to locate the source of the leak. Remember,...

Exhaust leak causing clicking sound.

Yes, this could be the cause, you may have a leak at one of the exhaust manifold tubes. The exhaust manifolds needs to be inspected for a black soot buildup at the joining surface of the cylinder head and exhaust...

What should I do when my engine revs up and down?

You first want to want to make sure that all electrical connectors at the throttle body are dry, free of corrosion and dirt, plugged in and making secure contact, particularly if you removed any during the service. Make sure none...

I have to warm up my car for about 15 minutes

Unless you're in extremely cold weather, warming up engines is usually not required, and hasn't been for decades. Driving away right after start-up and driving easy for the first few minutes is all that's needed (except for cold winter...

Lightning bolt warning on

Hello. Thank you for writing in about your 2010 Volkswagen Routan. This light is an indication that there is a problem with the electronic throttle control. The electronic throttle control is what controls how much gas the van gets when...

Smartkey not working like it should

A basic check of the key fob battery should be performed as issues can arise from a dying battery. If the key fob is malfunctioning it could be a connection issue. The smart key can be reset and re-calibrated to...

Related articles

Volkswagen Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Program
Drivers Drivers in the market for a used Volkswagen vehicle may want to check out cars under their certified pre-owned program. Many manufacturers have a certified pre-owned (CPO) program, and each one is set up differently. Read on to learn...
5 Essential Things to Know About Roadside Emergency Kits
Whether Whether it’s summer or winter, spring or fall – you should always have certain items available in your vehicle’s roadside emergency kit. Dead batteries, flat tires, and overheated engines can occur at any time. While most people have a...
The Best Tool to Find Coolant Leaks
Diagnosing a car issue can be a tricky without proper tools. A coolant pressure tester is useful for diagnosing overheating issues and coolant leaks.