1996 Jetta 4 cylinder, (I believe). Add water to reservoir, doesn't appear to be leaking, but can barely get 1/2 mile before the gage jumps and by 3/4 mile it's beeping a warning it's too hot.
Just don't want to get taken because it's only my daughter and I and "everybody" has an opinion of what's wrong. Someone told her to put the heat on and it would help...it's 94 degrees today, but that's no problem if it helps. Except there's no heat coming out.
One "opinion" said the problem was the thermostat was no good, another said it might be the head gasket (for the low, low price of $800-$1100). Another said it could be the water pump, but then someone else said that was only a 20-30% chance it was the water pump. You get the picture? We live on a limited income, and can't afford to check out all the "opinions" .
I know it's hard to tell what the problem is but if you can give some "expert" advice it would be most appreciative.
Sorry, but often times you have to check several areas to determine a problem correctly.
First you want to be sure the cooling system is not air-bound. This often requires running the engine enough to get it hot, topping off the coolant expansion tank, and repeating the process several times. No heat is a sign of an air-bound system.
The thermostat being stuck closed would also produce similar symptoms. This requires removing the thermostat and inspecting carefully.
The system should also be pressure tested to be sure there are no external leaks, and you want to be absolutely sure the coolant fan (s) are coming on when temperature rises.
A bad head gasket is another possibility. If that's the case, you will often smell exhaust in the coolant expansion tank, burning anti-freeze coming out the tail pipe, and if it's real bad an engine misfire.
Check out a few of these items and let us know what you come up with.