Blinking red temperature light - what does it mean?

My car is a 2000 Beetle, 2.0 ltr gas engine.
About a week ago I suddenly got a blinking red temperature light while driving. I had been driving about 20 minutes at the time. I checked
the coolant and oil, both were normal. The next two days I was fine driving to work, which is about 10 minutes each way. The next day I ran a few errands after work and I got the same blinking red light after driving a little over 20 minutes. This is the light that looks like a thermometer, not the check engine light - and doesn't turn red and then start blinking later, it goes from off to blinking red right away, accompanied by several beeps.
I made an appointment with VW to check it out, but they won't be able to see me until next Wednesday.
Can anyone guess what this is, and whether it is safe to drive my car for the next week until someone can fix it?
Thanks,
Frank
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I wouldn't worry unless your car is overheating. Is the temperature gauge in the normal postion? The cause of your blinking light is likely an electronic component in your cooling system. You don't need to stop driving the car unless it's overheating or malfunctioning mechanically.
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I don't know if it's overheating - I don't have a temperature gauge.
I don't have any reason to believe it is overheating. There is plenty of coolant and oil. What else could cause it to overheat?

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Some signs your car is overheating:
-steam seeping out from under the hood near the radiator or coolant expansion tank -A hot smell -Sound of water boiling after a long drive.
Your blinking light may be caused by (in order of likelihood):
-Coolant temperature sensor -Thermostat -Radiator malfuction -Coolant level too low or too high
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First and foremost a flashing light means stop now or risk serious and expensive damage. Of course it is always possible that the computer is reacting to a bad sensor not high heat or low oil etc. I would not drive that car unless I could verify that it is indeed not overheating.
Second: Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.
A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.
There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.
I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.
Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia 's Muire duit
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replying to Joseph Meehan, Conor Richards wrote: Stop wasting your time hating on dealerships. I've worked as a technician at both independent and dealership shops and there are HUGE differences. Dealership shops use better parts and tend to have smarter mechanics.
Your anti-dealer ranting has nothing to do with actually fixing cars. Sorry.
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take your pick...
1- it's blinking because engine is overheating. If so, you may do more damage. 2- coolant level is low 3- fans not running see above #1 4- coolant pump impeller cracked and slipping see #1 5- coolant sensor going bad, but then again I never replaced one for falsely going red. 6- do you have heat in the car? If no good sign of the coolant pump

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One possibility, I did not see as a response. The facility in the instrument panel may be intermittently faulty.
--
Dave

How about a tax to support any military conflict/police action over 3 months
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Thanks for all the replies.
Problem turned out to be a broken water pump. Miraculously, it's still under warranty even though my car is 9 years old - I guess it's part of the powertrain. Dealer is fixing it for free right now. I guess that's one good argument for going back to the dealer.
Frank
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You are one of the lucky ones! lol congrats to you!

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Doesn't anyone EVER read their owners manual???????????????????????????????

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Question mark abuser:
Yes.
Of course, many people buy their car used and often the manual does not remain with the car. Furthermore, perusal of owner's manual's for issues such as the original topic in this post you will generally find that the manual directs them to the dealer (ugh). Be kind with your posts. You may need this group some time.
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responding to http://www.motorsforum.com/vw/blinking-red-temperature-light-what-does-it-mean-42041-.htm , Brandy wrote: I own a vw, and this problem is on in the owner's manual. That's why I googled it. I looked though the entire thing. So there you have it.
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On 20/10/2012 4:08 AM, Brandy wrote:

http://www.motorsforum.com/vw/blinking-red-temperature-light-what-does-it-mean-42041-.htm
The plastic impellers split. and they have sensors both sides of the water pump
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replying to flarosa, bob6715 wrote:

7-20-2015 but very first check that the heater core is not leaking in the car mostly on the passenger side these carpets will hold a lot of water, feel the carpet, if saturated heater is leaking (very common), just disconnect the heater hoses and reconnect one in a loop back to the engine, refill water bottle and drive, if no more blinking light then heater core needs to be replaced.
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replying to flarosa, bobbie wrote: The blinking red light means low coolant. If it stays red that meand its hot and you shoud pull over and not drive it untill problem is resolved.
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