View Full Version : HELP!! VW Beetle cooling system problem!

11-06-2008, 04:28 AM
My wife's VW CEL came on. Went to Autozone and they read it and the OBDII code was a P2181 = "Cooling system malfunction".

I did a search on this code for the 2005 VW Beetle and came across this website.


Granted that is for a Jetta, but the code is the same and the diagram looks the same as well. They say it is the reservoir coolant level sensor issue and not the coolant temp sensor.

I was changing out my wife's coolant from her VW and despite my best efforts I did manage to spill some coolant in the surrounding compartment. That website reads "Coolant leaking from coolant reservoir bottle wiring connector contaminates the wiring harness. Contamination can result in various malfunctions of the instrument cluster."

So is that article right or is this a bigger issue? The car is not overheating. No lights indicating overheating are coming on. I would assume that the water pump and thermometer and fans are all working considering that the car is not overheating.

The Haynes gives only replacement instructions on the coolant temp sensor, not the coolant level sensor. I still love the Haynes though. :-) I'd be lost without it.

So what do I do? the reason I am asking is because the "steal"-ership wants $150 JUST TO SCAN THE CAR'S COMPUTER. Robbery!!!! then they'd probably tell me that it was this that and the other problem wrong with it just to charge me more.

How certain can I be that if I replace that sensor running from the coolant reservoir that this code and the CEL will go away?

Is there a way I can get my hands on some kind of Actron or scanning tool that would tell me the exact specifics of what is wrong and how to fix it?

Is there something online to help me with this?


11-06-2008, 04:29 PM
pjz0001 - You can't do anything about the trouble codes without a good scan tool. Check out your local autoparts stores for a good one. They range from units that can only read and clear codes (25.00) to ones that interface and give real time data and trouble shooting (1,000 and up). If you take a chance and replace the sensor it might work but you will still need a scanner to clear the code.