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Discussion Starter #1
Please bear with me as I tell my little story, because I'd really appreciate your insight into this matter: two mechanics are telling me contradictory stories and I don't who to believe.

About three weeks ago, I brought my 2001 V4 Passat sedan to a local mechanic for an oil change. I ended up with $1600 of work (tires, brakes), but that's another story. Three days later the dashboard flashed a warning, "Stop. Check Coolant." So we drove it straight to the nearest Sears, where they referred us to a VW dealer because the Passat requires special coolant that they didn't have on hand. By the time we got the car to the dealer (the next day), the engine was smoking, though the temp gauge still read normal.

The dealer said someone had put the wrong kind of coolant in the engine. He showed us that the coolant was a brownish color when, he said, it should have been red. He was very confident someone had put in the wrong coolant, and said it had to be flushed.

So he flushed it, but he also did a small repair on a leak in the "water pipe from the block to the heater core hose" (quoting receipt).

So here's my question: can I reasonably conclude that the first mechanic put the wrong coolant in the engine? No-one else serviced the engine, even for an oil change, for several months previously. Is there any other reasonable explanation for what happened? Could the dealer's mechanic be wrong about someone putting in the wrong coolant?
 

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here's my question: can I reasonably conclude that the first mechanic put the wrong coolant in the engine? ?
Yes. Your car requires G12 coolant


Is there any other reasonable explanation for what happened?
Sure, please list out the exact repairs the mechanic undertook. Also Was the car smoking or steaming? Sounds to me like you jsut had a coolant leak from the hose probably from the first mechanic bumping it while doing something else.


Could the dealer's mechanic be wrong about someone putting in the wrong coolant?
Possibly, If it is flushed entirely -Universal style coolants will work no problem -especially in that time frame.

Your going to need to list exact repair details.
 

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Thanks to all of you who responded. Here's a list of the repairs that the first mechanic did:

Installed four new tires.
Did a wheel alignment.
Replaced rear shocks and struts.
Brake service -- 2 rotors, 1 pads
1 lube, oil and filter job "includes: check fluids, check air filter, check cabin filter, check air pressure, check tire condition."

Here's a list of what the second mechanic did (i.e., the dealer's mechanic, after the "check coolant" light came on). I'll just quote his description:

"Confirmed complaint. Found wrong (green) coolant mixed in the system. Pressure tested system for leaks and found leak at water pipe from block to heater core hose. Also needs new reservoir and cap. Removed and replaced coolant pipe from block to heater core. Removed and replaced coolant bottle and cap, performed coolant flush. Test drove to verify repairs. OK. Sample of mixed coolant on passenger floor."

To answer the other question about steam or smoke: It was probably steam, but there may have been a slight burning smell. The temp gauge still read normal.

Thanks again!
 

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Just flush all the coolant out and you can replace it with the green stuff. Or put G12 back in it. either will work, but G12 has anti-corrosion chemicals thats all. you cant mix them though so be sure to flush out ALL of the g12 before you put in any other coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I know, but....

The first mechanic denies that he could possibly have put the wrong coolant in the engine. The second mechanic is sure someone did. I didn't add any coolant myself, and I can't really tell myself whether the sample the second mechanic gave me proves anything. And the second mechanic did fix a small hole in a coolant pipe. So I'm perplexed: can I be sure the first mechanic mixed in the wrong coolant?
 
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