Most Volkswagen vehicles are equipped with an electronic computer system that is linked to the dashboard, that tells drivers when the oil needs to be changed. If the driver neglects a service light, such as the “CHANGE OIL NOW” light, he or she runs the risk of damaging the engine or worse, ending up stranded on the side of the road or causing an accident.
For these reasons, performing all scheduled and recommended maintenance on your vehicle is imperative to keep it running well so you can avoid the many untimely, inconvenient, and possibly expensive repairs that come from neglect. Luckily, the days of scratching your head and performing diagnostics to find the service light’s trigger are gone. Volkswagen’s oil monitoring system is a simplistic on-board computer system that alerts owners about necessary oil changes so they can address the issue promptly and without hassle. At its most basic level, it keeps track of the engine oil level and quality so you don’t have to. Once the oil monitoring system is triggered, the driver knows to schedule an appointment to take the vehicle in for servicing.
How Volkswagen’s oil monitoring system works and what to expect
Volkswagen’s oil monitoring system assesses the engine oil in two ways: by oil level and temperature. When the engine is running, the sensors continuously monitor engine oil temperature and calculate the oil level. Both calculations are sent to the dash panel insert and trigger a service light as necessary.
The computer system also tracks the engine miles from the time it was reset, and the service light will trigger after a certain amount of miles add up. The owner has the ability to have the mileage intervals set to reflect the best possible maintenance schedule depending on how the owner uses the vehicle, and under what conditions he or she drives.
Since the oil monitoring system is not algorithm-driven, like other more advanced maintenance reminder systems, it does not take into account the differences between light and extreme driving conditions, load weight, towing or weather conditions, important variables that affect oil life. It is best to speak with a mechanic to help you determine the best maintenance plan for you. Do not hesitate to contact our experienced professionals for advice.
Volkswagen recommends two different maintenance schedules based on the type of oil used, as well as certain driving habits and driving conditions illustrated in the graph below:
When the “CHANGE OIL NOW” light is triggered and you schedule an appointment to have your vehicle serviced, Volkswagen recommends a series of inspections that will help keep your car in good running order, and can help prevent untimely and costly damages to the engine, depending on your driving habits and conditions.
Below is a chart of Volkswagen’s recommended inspections for different mile intervals during the first few years of ownership. This is a general depiction of what a Volkswagen maintenance schedule can look like. Depending on variables, like the vehicle year and model and your specific driving habits and conditions, this information is subject to change for maintenance frequency as well as the maintenance performed:
Once your Volkswagen has been serviced, the “CHANGE OIL NOW” light will need to be reset. Some servicers will neglect to do this, which can lead to premature and unnecessary service light triggers. With only a few simple steps, you can learn how to do it yourself for newer (2006-2015) Volkswagen models with one of these methods:
Step 1: Insert the key into the ignition and turn the car to the “ON” position. Don’t start the engine.
Step 2: Select the “SETTINGS” menu. Select the menu from the arm that controls the windshield wiper, or the controls on the steering wheel.
Step 3: Select “SERVICE” from the submenu. Then, select “RESET” and press the “OK” button to reset the display.
Step 4: Press “OK” button once more to confirm the reset.
Step 1: With the ignition “OFF”, press and hold the “0.0/ SET” button. This button should be located on the right side of the instrument cluster.
Step 2: While holding down the “0.0/ SET” button, turn ignition to the “ON” position. Don’t start the vehicle.
Step 3: Release the “0.0/ SET” button and depress the “CLOCK” one time. The “CLOCK” button should be located on the left side of the instrument cluster.
Step 4: Wait for the display to go back to normal. After maybe one or two seconds, the display panel will turn back to the normal display setting, indicating the service interval has been reset.
While the Volkswagen oil monitoring system can be used as a reminder to the driver to have the vehicle serviced, it should be only be used as a guideline regarding how the vehicle is driven and under what driving conditions. Other recommended maintenance information is based on standard time tables located in the owner’s manual. This does not mean Volkswagen drivers should ignore such alerts. Proper maintenance service will greatly extend the life of a vehicle, ensuring it is reliable, safe to drive, covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and also providing a greater resale value.
Such maintenance tasks should always be performed by a qualified technician. If you have any doubts as to what the Volkswagen maintenance system means or what services your vehicle may need, do not hesitate to contact our experienced professionals for advice.
If your Volkswagen oil monitoring system is indicating that your vehicle is ready for servicing, have it checked out by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic. Click here, choose your vehicle and service or service package, and book an appointment with us today. One of our certified mechanics will come to your home or office to service your vehicle.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Understanding the Volkswagen Oil Monitoring System and Lights and was authored by Brent Minderler.