It’s a classic question: Do Volkswagens float? It depends on the model, but the answer is usually yes.
Volkswagen Beetles were built with an air-cooled engine, a design that has been used in everything from lawnmowers to airplanes. The air-cooled design means that there are no radiators or water jackets to fill with liquid coolant. Instead, the engine uses air flowing through its cylinders to cool itself. This makes it very efficient in warm weather, but less so in cold weather — when it needs more heat energy than it can get from air alone — or when the car is stationary.
To help keep water out of the engine block and cylinders, Volkswagen uses a system called “thermal siphon” cooling. In this system, coolant is constantly pumped around the cylinder head, where it absorbs heat from the combustion chamber and carries it away in a separate pipe that runs underneath the engine block.
When water collects inside your car’s radiator, it can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s engine. If you’re driving somewhere where temperatures are below freezing and you notice your car overheating (or even if you just want to make sure), check your coolant level regularly and add more if necessary!
Last modified: November 21, 2022