How Often Do Volkswagens Need Oil Changes?

How often do Volkswagens need oil changes these days? The automobile industry has made a lot of changes in recent times. Some things that made sense in a vehicle a decade ago may be unnecessary or impractical today.

For example, oil change intervals are no longer what they used to be across most vehicle brands, including Volkswagen. Our Volkswagen repair experts in Tucson, AZ, know that most oil change requirements will depend on several variables, such as: 

  • Volkswagen model
  • Engine age
  • Type of oil
  • Driving habits and more 

Below, the experts from Little Germany, Inc. share recommended intervals that should keep your Volkswagen engine in excellent shape.

Factors To Keep in Mind Before Changing the Oil

Volkswagen vehicle owners often ask the team at Little Germany, Inc. for details about oil changes and other maintenance tasks. We are happy to give them the numbers, but it is also important to point out a few important details.

For example, changing the car’s oil every 5,000 or 10,000 miles works for conventional drivers with a normal commute. However, if you engage in off-road driving or speed drifting, you will have to change it earlier (at 7,500 miles for newer models and 3,000 miles for older models).

We also recommend paying attention to the type of oil you use. Conventional oils may need changing earlier than high-mileage oils and certain synthetic blends. For the best results, use the manufacturer-recommended oil type and follow their recommended oil change frequency.

Are you worried about the cost of an oil change? Don’t be; it’s negligible. Plus, the oil sustains engine damage.change price you pay once a year is a fraction of what you’ll spend if the vehicle 

The Advantages of Regular Oil Changes

The benefits of maintaining a regular oil change schedule include the following:

  • Delays wear and tear of engine components
  • Eliminates debris and dirt known to cause engine corrosion
  • Cools the engine, preventing overheating

Oil changes also ensure a vehicle is running efficiently, providing benefits across all other components.

Oil Change Intervals for Volkswagens Newer and Older Than 2009

Do you have a 2009 Volkswagen or a later model? Experts advise replacing the oil every 10,000 miles or every year, whichever comes sooner. Newer Volkswagens can complete 10,000 miles without an oil change, but an early oil change could significantly reduce the risk of engine trouble.

VWs manufactured in 2008 or earlier need regular maintenance, including an oil change every 5,000 miles or every six months.

Schedule an Oil Change With Local Volkswagen Experts Today

Following your car’s recommended maintenance schedule is optimal. However, it helps to have a local service center you can trust to complete the oil change and let you know if they find other issues. Little Germany, Inc. offers highly experienced staff who will change your oil, check your oil filter, and offer advice on common Volkswagen problems at our Tucson, AZ, service center. 

How often do Volkswagens need oil changes in Tucson, AZ, and the surrounding areas? Call Little Germany, Inc. at 520-881-3273 today to find out and schedule a service appointment.

5 Signs that Your Car Needs a Brake Fluid Flush

Brake fluid, like brake pads, plays an important role in your vehicle’s brake system. It ensures lubrication of the vital parts so that you can brake smoothly. After time and use, your brake fluid becomes dirty and loses effectiveness. Flushing your brake lines cleans them and replaces the fluid with new, more effective brake fluid. 

Every driver has a responsibility to maintain the health of their vehicle. Regular maintenance ensures your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. Are you in need of a brake fluid flush? Read these gives signs it might be time for maintenance, then call Little Germany at 520-881-3273 for BMW service in Tucson.

1. Soft Brake Pedal 

Low brake fluid causes air to fill the gaps in your brake lines, leading to soft brakes. Your brakes have gone soft if you need to push your brake pedal down to the floor before coming to a stop. Needing to do this delays your reaction time and can result in dangerous situations.

2. ABS Dashboard Light 

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) dashboard light turns on when a problem occurs with your braking system. If your brake fluid is low, this light turns on to help you brake safely. Take your car to the maintenance shop to ensure that the problem doesn’t persist.

3. Strange Sounds When Braking 

The sound of scraping or grinding while braking tells you there is an issue with your brakes. This issue indicates that your brakes have damage or low brake fluid. Further driving while the sounds are present can cause damage to your brakes.

4. Strange Smells When Braking 

The smell of burning when using your brakes indicates burnt-out or low brake fluid. Address the issue immediately and pull over to call a mechanic. Continued driving is dangerous and risks causing further damage to your brake system.

5. Poor Braking Performance 

Brakes need to be responsive to have a fast reaction time and prevent collisions. Any signs of softness or delays while braking your vehicle mean that it is time to service your car. With slow or faulty brakes, you won’t be able to stop your car promptly in an emergency.

What Is a Brake Fluid Flush?

Maintenance technicians inspect your vehicle for fluid leaks and ensure they are at the proper levels. Flushing brake fluid needs to happen every 30,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. Include it in your regular maintenance schedules to ensure that your brakes are always working.

Brake Fluid Flushes at Little Germany 

A brake fluid flush is a vital part of routine vehicle maintenance. It ensures that your brakes continue to work and that your car is safe to drive. Always take your car to a professional mechanic who can inform you about problems with your vehicle. Our experienced BMW mechanics here at Little Germany have provided European car services for over 45 years. With Little Germany, you receive the personalized service you and your car need. Call schedule 520-881-3273 to schedule your service appointment today or know about the common BMW steering problems.

What Are Aftermarket Parts: Are They Reliable?

Dealing with car problems can be stressful and expensive. Even beyond the costs of repairs, the situation can lead to additional expenses for transportation or missed work. Therefore, many car owners choose to reduce the cost of their repairs by using aftermarket parts instead of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. If you’re wondering, “what are aftermarket parts?” this article will answer that question and help you determine whether they’re right for you.

Regardless of the type of parts you choose, Little Germany, Inc. is an excellent option for anyone searching for auto repair technicians in Tucson. With years of experience servicing a wide range of cars, Little Germany, Inc. is proud to provide effective and affordable auto parts installation and collision repair services to the residents of Tucson, AZ.

What Are Your Choices?

When damage to your vehicle requires the mechanic to replace components, you have two different options for where to get those auto parts. The first option is to purchase the piece directly from the original equipment manufacturer. While this guarantees that the component will be identical to the original part, it is an expensive option.

For car-owners interested in saving money on the cost of their repairs, aftermarket car parts are a compelling option. These components are produced by third-party companies, resulting in a far lower price point. Although these companies strive to deliver parts as close to the original equipment as possible, these components sometimes do not fit as well as OEM parts.

Factors to Consider

Now that you know the answer to the question “what are aftermarket parts,” it’s time to determine whether they’re right for you. The following sections of this outline will provide some important factors to consider before choosing between OEM parts and aftermarket options.


Although we’ve discussed it briefly, aftermarket parts typically represent a significant discount over OEM options. Because there’s a lot of competition, costs to the consumer remain low. The cost difference between OEM parts and aftermarket ones is often significant enough to reduce the entire repair costs by a meaningful amount.


When your primary vehicle is damaged or inoperable, you must prioritize urgent repairs. If the parts you need are back-ordered or out of stock, aftermarket parts may help you get your car back on the road faster. Multiple manufacturers produce these parts, so they are rarely unavailable.


With anything involving a vehicle, safety is the highest priority. While saving money is always nice, the most important thing is to have a safe vehicle for you and your family. Fortunately, most aftermarket parts are exterior panels or fenders, which offer equivalent safety to OEM options when installed by a skilled mechanic. However, it’s always wise to ask your mechanic about the quality of an aftermarket part before committing to installing it.

Get Help Today

This article helped you answer the question, “what are aftermarket parts?” but if you want to learn how much it costs to fix a BMW or have other questions, please continue exploring our website. However, if you’re ready to schedule repair service in Tucson, AZ, call Little Germany Inc. at 520-881-3273 for quality repair services.

How Much Power Steering Fluid?

car power steering fluid

Power steering is a standard feature in vehicles today. Unlike the older models, cars with power steering need a lubricant such as power steering fluid for a smooth operation. This is due to the moving parts which create friction during operation. Without lubrication, it can cause premature wear and tear in the internal components.

The car power steering fluid is essential for the performance of your car. It makes turning your car easy and also helps during tricky maneuvers. But, driving without the fluid can ruin the power steering pump leading to friction and heat.

Over time, it can damage your power steering unit, leaving you with expensive repairs. This is why you need to keep track of your fluid levels and do a fluid change as and when needed.

This article has everything you need to know about power steering fluid. Keep reading to know more about how and when to change the fluid, and more.

What is a Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid is nothing but a hydraulic fluid used in the steering system. It helps create a hydraulic link between the front wheel and the steering. As a result, the fluid helps to build and transfer pressure quicker and with much less effort. This reduces the effort required to turn the wheel. Moreover, it also lubricates the moving parts and prevents corrosion.

As a critical component of your car, power steering helps make the driver’s job easier. The fluid provides hydraulic assistance to the system when you turn the wheel. This makes it easy to control your car, especially in tight spots. Without the assistance, turning will require a significant effort from the driver.

What are the Different Types of Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid ensures that the pump, piston, valve, and hose works in an optimal condition. It keeps the power steering system functioning best for easy and smooth rides.

Below are the three common power steering fluids available in the market. Each one of them has different properties and will vary depending on the car.

Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

Some cars accept the transmission fluid used in automatic transmissions for steering systems. In this case, you can use Mercon, Dexron, Type-F, and ATF+4 for your power steering.

Older vehicles made in the 1970s-1990s take ATF transmission fluid for their power steering. This includes Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Volkswagen(built in the US).

Synthetic-Based Hydraulic Fluid

Many vehicles, especially European and Japanese-built, have different standards than in the US. These vehicles require a high-performance synthetic fluid to meet their standards. It flows well even at low temperatures increasing the pump lubrication.

This includes European-built vehicles such as Volvo, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, and BMW. The standards also depend on the make and model of the vehicle. The same goes for Japanese brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, and Subaru.

Universal Power Steering Fluid

Modern vehicles also accept the universal power steering fluid. But, they require special additives to increase lubrication and corrosion protection.

Note: An incompatible fluid can cause untold damage to the system. So, refer to the owner’s manual for the power steering fluid suitable for your car.

When Should I Change the Power Steering Fluid?

The rule of thumb is to replace the power steering fluid at five years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Power steering fluid is generally present in a clean environment. Hence it lasts much longer than any other automobile fluid. However, most manufacturers do not specify a set period to change the fluid.

mechanic hand car Power Steering Fluid

After the time mentioned above, the fluid tends to break down. You may even notice contamination which in turn affects the hose and power steering pump. Moreover, the anti-corrosive additives also begin depleting. This, combined with the increased temperatures, can cause the fluid to oxidize. Also, if the fluid appears dark or dirty, change it as soon as possible.

The role of the power steering fluid is to provide lubrication. If it takes debris and water, it’s not as efficient, which may harm the system. In addition, old fluid in the power steering pump can generate noise and fail in the end.

How do You Know if You Need Power Steering Fluid?

Power steering fluid is a must-have for a pleasant and safe drive. However, if you hear any noise or feel a jerk, your fluid may be to blame. The following are some of the warning signs that you’ll need to replace your power steering fluid.

  • Power steering fluid is pretty clear with a tinge of amber, red or pink color. If the fluid in your system is black, dark brown, or foamy, you’ll need to replace, as early as possible. It’s likely been contaminated with debris from the connecting hoses, O-rings, or seals.
  • Much like any other fluid in your car, the power steering fluid also collects debris and moisture. At this stage, you can hear a whining noise from your pump.
  • A shrieking sound during steering signals low power steering fluid levels. This indicates that you may leak somewhere. Since the steering fluid is in a sealed environment, leaks can cause a low fluid level due to leaks.
  • If your steering wheel is jerking when you turn left or right, it indicates a low power steering fluid level. Another indication of the low fluid level is difficulty in turning the wheels.

Replacing the power steering fluid is much cheaper than having to change the pump. Visit your auto mechanic and determine the best plan to change the power steering fluid in your car.

How Long Can You Drive with Low Power Steering Fluid?

It is not safe to drive your car with low-power steering fluid. However, nothing stops you from driving in the meantime.

Power steering fluid is used in the steering unit to lubricate and dissipate heat. Without it, the pump will seize, which will cause the belt to fail. Over time, your overheated engine will stop working, and so will the battery.

In other words, it is safer not to drive your car with low fluid levels. And if you have to drive, ensure that it is to an auto repair shop to change the power steering fluid.

Is it Bad to Drive with Low-Power Steering Fluid?

Yes! It is not safe and a terrible idea to drive with a low fluid level.

Driving your vehicle for an extended period without the steering fluid can be bad for your car. First and foremost, your driving quality will be affected. Second, while your steering still works, you will find it laborious to turn. Forget about parallel parking or driving in traffic.

A small leak isn’t a concern, but the possibility of getting worse is a huge problem. When you keep driving with a leak, you risk the chance of it getting bigger, and you will lose all your fluid fast.

If you continue using your car, you risk damaging your steering system. Once this fluid level drops, you have not only the dry pump on your hands but also high levels of heat and friction. Combined, this can lead to hefty repairs costs.

If you have no way but to drive without power steering fluid, ensure that you do not make any right or left turns.

How do I Change the Power Steering Fluid?

Manufacturers suggest flushing the steering fluid every 50,000 miles for good results. A power steering flush involves draining the vehicle’s power steering fluid and cleaning before adding the new fluid. If your power steering fluid is below the recommended value, it is time for a top-up.

Replacing the power steering fluid is not one for a beginner. It’s a long and precise process that requires the expertise of a professional. Consult your service center or mechanic for a fluid flush.

If you are in a pinch and not afraid to get your hands dirty, follow the below steps to drain and change the fluid.

Locate the Power Steering Fluid Reservoir & Pump

To start with, you need to locate the power steering reservoir and the pump. The power steering pump sits on one side of the engine, driven by a belt. On the other hand, the reservoir is generally located near the engine on top of the pump. It is a clear container with a black cap.

Newer vehicles have the reservoir mounted on the inner fender due to less space. Make sure your car is switched off until you are taking action to check your fluids.

Remove the Cap

Wipe away the dirt and debris surrounding the reservoir cylinder. This is done to prevent the debris from contaminating the fluid. Then, loosen the lid over the reservoir.

Use a dipstick (FULL or ADD/LOW) to check fluid quantity. Your car should contain the same percentage of fluid over the years. However, when your vehicle becomes older or a leak somewhere, you could find a low fluid level.

If you suspect a leak, you may want to investigate before you add fluid. Some leaks, such as a rack and pinion leak, can be plugged with pour and go products.

Add More Fluid

If the power steering is low, add more fluid until it reaches the “FULL” mark on the power steering reservoir. Keep in mind that the fluid expands at high temperatures, so you may have to adjust as needed. Also, depending on the make and model of your car, you may have different markings as HOT or COLD.

Take care not to overfill the reservoir with fluid. Otherwise, it can start leaks, especially if there isn’t enough room at the reservoir cylinder when it expands.

If the fluid is dark and foamy, you may want to change power steering instead of replacing it.

Drain the System

Disconnect the hoses from the steering rack and drain the power steering fluid into a vessel. Even though drained, some fluid may be trapped inside. Therefore, you need to flush the fluid out before adding the new fluid.

Reconnect the system except for the return hose. Add a small quantity of the new power steering fluid. When you turn on the vehicle, the pump will push the old fluid along with the return hose. Again catch them in a container. Keep on rotating the car’s steering wheel until fresh fluid can go through.

mechanic adding car power steering fluid

Add Power Steering Fluid

After the old fluid has come out, you can reconnect the return hose. Add fresh power steering fluid steadily until you reach the correct fill level. Make sure you’re only using compatible products for your vehicle.

Start your car and rotate the steering wheel to both rights and left several times. It helps to bleed the fluid throughout the power steering wheel. Add more fluid if the level falls. Next, screw on the lid firm and tight before your close the hood.

How Much Power Steering Fluid does my Car Need?

There is no defined volume of fluid for the power steering system. It differs based on the make and model of the car. The issue you will face here is that cold fluid has a smaller volume than warm fluid.

Check if your vehicle has a hot/cold marking. If so, you can fill up to the cold marking and let the pump do its work.

Most cars will have a dipstick or a transparent fluid container to help ascertain the fluid left. This should help you find the max volume.

If you fill a vehicle up to the maximum with cold fluid, the fluid may overflow when it’s warm. The best option for these power steering tanks is to fill above the minimum threshold. Then turn off the engine and test how far the fluid rises after the car warms up. You can add more fluid incrementally until you reach the proper level.

As for the power steering fluid, you’ll need 1 liter if you are topping up. And, you’ll need 2-3 liters for a complete power steering flush.

What Happens if I Overfill my power steering?

Overfilling your power steering fluid doesn’t harm your steering system. But it can have other adverse consequences.

As the fluid is heated, it expands, and the excess fluid will be discharged from the filler cap. The spilled over fluid gets in your engine compartment, which is not ideal.

The best thing you can expect is a massive mess in your engine bay. The worst thing that can happen is the fluid can get into heating elements of the engine, such as the exhaust. The fluid combined with the heat can start a fire.

The only other thing that can happen is that the fluid goes in your belt. This results in your belt being damaged and dropping or even destroyed.

What if I Don’t Put Enough Power Steering Fluid?

Insufficient steering fluids can cause severe damage to the hydraulic power steering system. Without enough fluid, it will cause friction leading to heat damage and excessive wear and tear. Over time this can damage your steering rack and require expensive repairs.

When the power steering fluid is low, it allows air to enter the system. The combination of both leads to power steering problems. And if not repaired right away can cause the entire power steering unit to get damaged.

A new power steering system may cost somewhere between $200-$350. And the labor costs will be $50 and $125 per hour. Finally, add in costs for damage to hydraulic piping and seals you may have an overall bill of at least $500.

Power steering fluid or automatic transmission fluid?

mechanic opening car power steering fluid cap

Both power steering fluid and automatic transmission fluid are hydraulic fluids. The advantage ATF fluid has over the former is that it has detergents and friction modifiers. These additives help keep the unit clean. However, it can also harm the hydraulic valves of the power steering system and pump.

Some power steering systems require power steering fluid, while others use transmission fluid. Your car owner’s manual can help determine the right fluid for your vehicle. Some cars have the same information on the reservoir cap too. If everything fails, call the dealership, and they can guide you.

The short answer, you can use transmission fluid in the place of power steering fluid in a pinch. However, should your manual forbid it, it is better not to. The wrong fluid can cause the power steering unit and its seals.


Power steering fluid is essential for the smooth functioning of the steering wheel and needs replacing when the levels are low. In the same line, you should replace it if it starts to lose its nature. Dark foamy fluid should be replaced as soon as possible.

Car owners are advised to monitor the power steering fluid level at regular intervals. However, the intervals vary depending on the car and also the driving conditions.

Ensure that you use the suitable power steering fluid depending on the make and model of your vehicle. The wrong fluid could have a severe reaction with the existing fluid, causing an acidic reaction. It can also lead to a complete power steering failure. Above all, it could also be missing essential additives leading to premature leaks.

For over 45 years, Little Germany is a certified Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars such as the BMW E36. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs. If you need service after our normal business hours, please fill out our After-Hours form.

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