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Fluid level checks Audi A4 1998 - 2001 Petrol 1.8

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Audi A4 1998 - 2001  | 1.8 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Note: The following are fluid level checks to be done on a 250 mile or weekly basis. Additional fluid level checks can be found in specific maintenance procedures that follow. Regardless of intervals, be alert to fluid leaks under the vehicle, which would indicate a fault to be corrected immediately
Note: Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake, clutch and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants and fluids, below, before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked

Engine oil

1 The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick that extends through a tube and into the oil pan at the bottom of the engine (see below)
2a Engine oil dipstick location - V6 engine
2b Engine oil dipstick location - four-cylinder engine
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 10 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube, then pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick
5 The oil level must be maintained between the marks at all times - it takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the MIN to MAX mark
6 Do not overfill the engine by adding too much oil since this may result in oil-fouled spark plugs, catalytic converter failure, oil leaks or oil seal failures
7 Oil is added to the engine after unscrewing the oil filler cap (DOHC V6 engine shown) - always make sure the area around the opening is clean before removing the cap to prevent dirt from contaminating the engine
8 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky or has water droplets in it, the cylinder head gasket may be blown or the head or block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Antifreeze is highly toxic if ingested. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container or in puddles on the floor; children and pets are attracted by its sweet smell and may drink it. Check with local authorities on disposing of used anti-freeze. Many communities have collection centers that will dispose of antifreeze
Note: Non-toxic antifreeze is now manufactured and available at local auto parts stores, but even this type should be disposed of properly
Caution: Never mix green-colored ethylene glycol anti-freeze and red-colored silicate-free coolant because doing so will destroy the efficiency of the red coolant, which could result in engine damage
1 All Passats and A4s are equipped with a coolant expansion tank, located at the left side of the engine compartment, and connected by hoses to the radiator and cooling system
2 The coolant expansion tank is located on the left (driver’s) side - keep the level near the MAX mark or MIN mark on the side of the reservoir, depending on engine temperature. Do not remove the pressure cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm. The level of coolant in the expansion tank varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the MIN mark on the tank (see illustration). Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the MAX mark. If it isn’t, add coolant to the expansion tank. To add coolant simply twist open the cap and add a 50/50 mixture of the specified coolant (see Caution above)
3 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant. Do not use rust inhibitors or additives
4 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the pressure cap tested by a service station
5 If you have to remove the pressure cap, wait until the engine has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and unscrew it slowly. If coolant or steam escapes, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap
6 Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it is brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals

Windshield washer fluid

1 Fluid for the windshield washer system is located in a plastic reservoir in the left side of the engine compartment (see below)
2 Flip open the cap (arrow) to check the fluid level in the tank
3 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container. Caution: Don’t use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle’s paint
4 To help prevent icing in cold weather, warm the windshield with the defroster before using the washers

Battery electrolyte

1 These vehicles are equipped with a battery which has a translucent plastic case. You should be able to read the electrolyte level by looking at the side of the case and comparing the level to the Minimum and Maximum markings on the case, but due to the location of the battery these marks may be difficult to see. Instead, read the fluid level by removing the screw-in plastic caps on top of the battery (see below). This check is most critical during the warm summer months. Add only distilled water to any battery, and fill only to the ledge below the filler caps. Note: The filler caps are equipped with O-rings. Make sure the O-rings are in place when reinstalling the caps
2 Remove the screw-in caps (arrows) to check the battery electrolyte level

Brake and clutch fluid

1 The brake master cylinder is mounted on the brake booster in the cowl area. The clutch master cylinder on manual transaxle vehicles is mounted at the clutch pedal assembly, but receives its hydraulic fluid directly from the brake master cylinder reservoir, via a hose. Checking the fluid at the brake master cylinder reservoir effectively checks the level of brake and clutch fluid
2 The translucent plastic reservoir allows the fluid inside to be checked without removing the cap (see illustration) . Be sure to wipe the top of the reservoir with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake and/or clutch system before removing the cap.
2 The translucent plastic reservoir allows the fluid inside to be checked without removing the cap. Be sure to wipe the top of the reservoir with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake and/or clutch system before removing the cap. Never let the brake fluid level drop below the MIN mark
3 When adding fluid, pour it carefully into the reservoir to avoid spilling it on surrounding painted surfaces. Be sure the specified fluid is used, since mixing different types of brake fluid can cause damage to the system. See Recommended lubricants and fluids at the front of this Chapter or your owner’s manual. Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Moisture in the system can cause a dangerous loss of brake performance
4 At this time, the fluid and master cylinder can be inspected for contamination. The system should be drained and refilled if deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are seen in the fluid
5 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cap is on tight to prevent fluid leakage
6 The brake fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the pads at the front wheels wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated additions to keep it at the proper level, it’s an indication of leakage in the brake system or clutch release system, which should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections. Inspect the clutch release system, too
7 If, upon checking the master cylinder fluid level, you discover the reservoir empty or nearly empty, the brake system should be bled and thoroughly inspected. Inspect the clutch release system, too

Recommended lubricants and fluids

Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil API “certified for gasoline engines”
Viscosity See accompanying chart
Fuel Unleaded gasoline, (91) octane minimum
Automatic transaxle fluid VW automatic transmission fluid or ESSO EGL 71141 only
Manual transaxle lubricant SAE 75W90 synthetic gear oil
Differential, front (automatic transaxles) SAE 75W90 synthetic gear oil
Differential, rear (all-wheel drive models) API GL5, SAE 90 synthetic gear oil
Differential, center (all-wheel drive models with automatic transaxle) API GL5, SAE 75W90 synthetic gear oil
Power steering fluid Hydraulic mineral fluid
Brake fluid DOT 4 brake fluid
Engine coolant
  Vehicle manufacture date of 6/96 or earlier 50/50 mixture of G 011 (green) antifreeze and demineralized water
  Vehicle manufacture date of 7/96 or later 50/50 mixture of G 012 (red) antifreeze and demineralized water
Hood and trunk hinge lubricant Lubriplate‚ lubricant aerosol spray
Door hinge and check spring grease NLGI no. 2 multi-purpose grease
Key lock cylinder lubricant Graphite spray
Hood latch assembly lubricant NLGI no. 2 multi-purpose grease
Door latch lubricant NLGI no. 2 multi-purpose grease or equivalent
Engine oil viscosity chart - for best fuel economy and cold starting, select the lowest SAE viscosity grade for the expected temperature range


Engine oil (including filter)
  Four-cylinder engine 4.1 quarts (3.9 liters)
  V6 engine
    A4 5.5 quarts (5.2 liters)
      1998 6.0 quarts (5.7 liters)
      1999 6.3 quarts (6.0 liters)
      2000 and later 6.5 quarts (6.2 liters)
Manual transaxle
  2WD 2.38 quarts (2.25 liters)
  All-wheel drive 2.91 quarts (2.75 liters)
Automatic transaxle
  01V transaxle
    Drain and refill 2.7 quarts (2.6 liters)
    From dry 9.5 quarts (9.0 liters)
    Front differential 0.8 quart (0.75 liter)
  01N transaxle
    Drain and refill 3.7 quarts (3.5 liters)
    From dry 5.7 quarts (5.5 liters)
    Front differential 0.8 quart (0.75 liter)
Differential, center (all-wheel drive A4 with manual transaxle) 0.79 quart (0.75 liter)
Differential, rear (all-wheel drive models)
  A4 2.1 quarts (1.9 liters)
  Passat 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters)
Cooling system
  Four-cylinder engine 7.4 quarts (7.0 liters)
  V6 engines
    SOHC 9.0 quarts (8.5 liters)
    DOHC 6.4 quarts (6.02 liters)
Note: *All capacities approximate. Add as necessary to bring to appropriate level
Torque specifications Ft-lbs Nm
Automatic transaxle
  Check/fill plug 59 80
  Drain plug 30 40
  Front differential check/fill plug 18 25
  Center differential (all-wheel drive models)
    Check/fill plug 26 35
    Drain plug 15 20
Manual transaxle
  Check/fill plug 18 25
  Drain plug 26 35
Rear differential
  Check/fill plug 26 35
  Drain plug 26 35
Wheel bolts 89 120
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