Fluid Level Check
- Raise and safely support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
- Position a drain container under the oil filler plug.
- Using a 17mm Allen® wrench, remove the oil filler plug. If the transmission is over-full, allow the oil to drain from the filler plug opening until it stops.
- Make sure the fluid level is even with the edge of the hole. If the level is low, add oil as required.
- Install and tighten the plug.
The manufacturer does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended. A high oil level indicates one of three conditions. First, the previous mechanic/owner may have accidentally overfilled the transaxle if the vehicle was not level. Secondly a high oil level (assuming the vehicle is level) can be caused by excessive condensation (water) in the differential. This may be a result of constant operation in wet areas, or high humidity. Moisture can condense inside of the transaxle in the same manner that a can of cold soda "sweats" when removed from a refrigerator. Lastly, a high oil condition may indicate that the internal seals that separate the differential section from the torque converter/gearset are possibly faulty, and ATF has contaminated the differential oil.010 Transaxles
- Park the vehicle on a level surface.
- Place a suitable drain receptacle underneath the rear of the transaxle.
- Remove the filler plug on the passenger side of the transaxle, near the passenger side halfshaft flange.
- Note the oil level; it should be even with the lower edge of the filler hole.
- If the oil level is low, add oil (of the proper type and viscosity) as necessary to obtain the correct oil level.
- Install the filler plug, and tighten it securely.
- Park the vehicle on a level surface.
- Locate the speedometer drive gear, (located near the right side driveshaft flange).
- Unplug the connector from the gear, and unscrew the gear from the transaxle.
- Using a clean, lint-free rag, wipe the end of the gear clean.
- Screw the speedometer drive gear into the transaxle, until it is fully seated.
- Remove the speedometer drive gear, and note the oil level. The oil level should not be above the MAX mark (flange) on the gear shaft. If the oil level is low, add oil (in small increments to avoid overfilling) through the speedometer gear hole in the transaxle.
- Once the oil level is correct, install the speedometer drive gear, and secure the harness connector.
010 And 096 Transaxles
A1, A2, and A3 platform vehicles equipped with 010 and 096 "Phase I" transaxle use a standard dipstick to check the level of the gearset/torque converter fluid in the transaxle. On 096 transaxle, a special tool, VAG 1551, is used to measure the temperature of the fluid in the transaxle. The transaxle fluid can be checked with the fluid at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), or at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Since Automatic Transaxle Fluid (ATF) expands according to temperature, it is recommended (but not necessary) that the VAG 1551 tool be used to measure the temperature of the transaxle fluid to ensure a proper reading.
In addition to the MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick, there is a 20° mark at the very bottom of the dipstick. The difference between the MIN and MAX marks is 0.24 qts. When cold, fill the transaxle to the 20° mark. Warm up the engine to normal operating temperature and check the level again. It should be between the MIN and MAX marks. If not, add fluid as required.
- Make sure the engine and transaxle are warm. Drive the vehicle a few miles if necessary to bring the transaxle to normal operating temperature.
- With the selector lever in P , remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it, and withdraw it again.
- The fluid level should be within the two marks. If the level is low, correct it by pouring Dexron® automatic transmission fluid (with an appropriate funnel) through the dipstick tube. Bear in mind that the difference between the two marks is less than one pint.
A3 platform vehicles equipped with the 01M "Phase II" transaxle require special electronic tools to check and correct the fluid level. As a result, they are not equipped with a dipstick. Because of this, a procedure is not given. It is highly recommended that vehicles equipped with an 01M transaxle be taken to a qualified service facility for transaxle fluid service.
Manual transaxle through 1992 use SAE 80W hypoid oil, API service GL-4, Mil-L-2105. 1993-99 transaxles are equipped from the manufacturer with SAE 75W90 synthetic oil. Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for manual transaxle oil. If the transmission has been abused or used most of its life for towing, an oil change may be in order.
Even if you choose not to change the oil in your vehicle's manual transaxle, it is important to make sure the level is correct. A low oil level indicates leakage, and an over-full level may indicate excessive condensation/moisture in the oil.
Volkswagen transaxle are of a unique design; the differential is separated internally from the rest of the transaxle. Because of this unique design, different fluids are required for the transaxle gearset/torque converter and differential.
Dexron® ATF is used in the gearset/torque converter section of all 010 and 096 automatic transaxle. A3 platform vehicles equipped with 01M transaxle use a special synthetic ATF, available only from the manufacturer. Volkswagen recommends that the gearset/torque converter automatic transaxle fluid be replaced every 30,000 miles if you use your car for frequent trailer towing, mountain driving, or other severe service.
The differential section of all 010 automatic transaxle use 90W hypoid gear oil, API service GL-5, Mil-l-2105B. 096 automatic transaxle use SAE 75W90 synthetic gear oil. The 01M transaxle uses Volkswagen synthetic ATF to lubricate the differential.
Volkswagen does not specify a maintenance interval for changing the differential oil/fluid. However, periodic inspection of the level of the fluid (and the fluid itself) is recommended.