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Volkswagen Passat 2002 overheats when in traffic/stationary

\015 I once had to change the engine on this money pit because of overheating which had affected the cylinder heads and engine started giving a cranky sound at high rpm. I had peace for a while until I noticed that after being in traffic for a while, the digital temperature gauge which normally rises to 136 degrees then falls, started hanging at 136 degree and instead of falling, it would just show (---F). Bothe fans were working. In my sojourn with this car, the A/C electric fan has already been made to run permanently, so it comes on once you turn the ignition, the engine fan also works (fine I believe and my mechanic confirmed), but still the car overheats in traffic. I changed the radiator twice, first a used one (on mechanic's advice) then a new one, still it persists. I recently changed the thermostat and the water pump and still it persists. After the recent changes, the digital temprature sensor just shows (---F) permanently, and the car still overheats in traffic. I am at a complete loss for what to do nexta, and I have lost confience in my mechanic, because he just seems to be guessing. A scan didn't help matters either.\015 Posted / edited by AnonymousUser on : 18-02-2019

Answers :

Unfortunately you've bought a European car towards the end of its useful life. Next it's headliner is going to drop down and the door panels all start clicking, suspension rubbers are going to fail and the list goes on.

Make sure on that car, the lower engine cowling is still fitted. Some people remove this as it can make a noise at speed, especially if it is split, however this directs air flow across the engine, and causes a low pressure area, which helps this effect.
If you remove that lower engine cowl, then air will not flow efficiently.
Next, remove and check the operation of the thermostat.
Check that the engine coolant is clean, there is no sign of rust in the system, which could be blocking the radiator.
With your hand, or with an infrared temperature sensor, when the engine is hot and I know this sounds a bit dangerous, which is can be so take care, feel the radiator from top to bottom or take a temperature reading. You are feeling to see if the temperature is too disproportionate from top to bottom. If it feels this way, then it might well be that the radiator core has become blocked.

Another check to make is that coolant/anti freeze ratio is around 50/50. Anti freeze helps even out internal temperatures and improves engine performance and longevity.

Another check to make is that with the radiator/expansion cap off, that there is no bubbling in the coolant. If you have bubbling, then perform a system pressure check as you may have a head gasket blown
Said it all in the first sentence-a money pit.
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