Volkswagen Multifunction Display – Driving Data

Multifunction Display (MFD) - Driving Data selected

Building on my post explaining VW’s Multifunction Display — the display dead center in the instrument cluster that tells you things about your Volkswagen — this post shows the hierarchy and elements of the Driving Data information in that sea of information.

Multifunction Display in VW Golfs

Driving Data

Average economy, average speed, distance and travel time all have three modes – Since Start, Extended Period and Since Refuel.

Economy, oil temperature, miles per hour, ancillary draw and range are all single calculations and have no further data to present.

Multifunction Display - how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want
Multifunction Display – how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want

Once you’re in Driving Data mode, use the OK button to go deeper into each element that has further modes — average economy, average speed, distance and travel time.

Oil Analysis – How to Get an Oil Sample To Send to get Tested

Using a siphon the incorrect way to get an engine oil sample for oil analysis

This is from my Engine Oil Dirty post in the forum.  This shows how to get an oil sample out of your VW Golf without changing the oil.

You’ll need the following:

  1. VW Golf
  2. siphon
  3. oil testing kit


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So my siphon was dirty. Ok. Clean with water. Ok. But then since I wanted to use it right away, wouldn’t the residual drops in it introduce a “contaminant” in testing? Uh oh. So I blew out the drops with canned air.

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One big problem – the engine was hot. This is supposed to be the right way, when the oil mixes itself when hot, as opposed to cold where given time, it’ll separate into components somewhat. Getting the siphon to work here was difficult, so I sucked the oil out of the bottom of the engine. Ugh. Yes, I tasted it.

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This is VERY IMPORTANT if you are pulling oil from the top, as opposed to getting a sample during an oil change. The diameter of the dipstick tube is exactly the diameter of this siphon’s tube, plus a billionth of an inch. So, if you’re going to use a siphon, get one that is smaller diameter than 1/4 inch, or if that’s impossible, a 1/4 inch like mine will work in the VW 1.8 gasoline engine dipstick tube if you have patience.

1/4 inch is very difficult to feed into the top, where it narrows. It took minutes both times I went in for a pull. If the engine is hot, you’ll get some mild burns trying to feed it down.

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Ok, got enough, I think.

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All set to put it together to mail out.

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All packaged up.

Golf Climate Control – Cool Air Without AC?

In a word: yes. But only if the outside temperature is below 55°F.

It may sound strange, but this is a big thing for me. I want to maximize efficiency and as everybody knows, air conditioning is a hit to fuel economy.

So to avoid this I’d keep AC off but turn on the cool air — temperature dial on full cool and blower on 2 or 3. If it’s say 70°F outside and you need some cold air, this should work. Right?

Sadly, my Golf Alltrack’s climate control system simply doesn’t let cool, outside air into the cabin… there’s some degree (get it? heh) of heating that happens to ambient air.

So the outside temperature needs to be somewhat cold to get cool air from the vents. If it’s above what I’ve found to be mid-50’s, you need to turn the AC on.

No Climate Control Leaks

On the other side of the coin, I was happy to find that the climate control system doesn’t “leak” warm air into the cabin. When the temperature dial is set to max heat, and the blower is off, no heat comes from the vents. This is a good thing.

The opposite is also true: if the dial is set to max cool and the system is off, there is no cold air from the vents. The system seems to be buttoned up (heh, another one) very well.

If this sounds like I’m heaping praise on something that should just work, I am. Many cars I’ve been in leak and allow hot or cold air in when the system is off.

Dash Lights and Symbols – Warning and Indicator Lights

VW Dash lights and symbols

What’s that light on the dashboard mean? Here’s a list! Parking brake, low oil, low coolant, ABS, high beams, tire pressure, low fuel, and all the dozens of others. They’re shown here with color codes so you can see which mean DO NOT DRIVE ANOTHER INCH and which mean “If you get around to it before 2025, that’s cool.”

These are often  called “idiot lights” because they don’t say anything about why the problem is happening.

VW Dash lights and symbols

Multifunction Display – Explanation and Use

2016 Volkswagen Golf cockpit

VW’s Multifunction Display (or “Driver Information Display“) is where you can see everything your VW has to tell you about its condition.

We aim to help you get an understanding of what Multifunction Display shows and how to navigate it.
This information applies to newer VW models, 2012-2018, including the fine new Golf Alltrack. (Shameless plug there because we have one!)
Multifunction Display top-level pages
Multifunction Display – top-level pages

Your VW Is Saying Something

Think of the Multifunction Display as a collection of messages about warnings (seldom) or information (always). It’s not where you adjust any settings, that’s for the Infotainment system, but rather where you can quickly see what’s going on in your VW.

You page through them using the controls on the steering wheel. See below:

Multifunction Display - how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want
Multifunction Display – how to use the steering wheel buttons to get to the page you want

Use the Left Page/Right Page button circled in blue above to cycle through the five Parent pages. Use the up/down button circled in orange above to move through the Child pages within any Parent page.

In some cases in Driving Data, the information available to display is more than the Parent/Child hierarchy can show, so Grandchild pages become available. Grandchild pages are cycled by pressing the OK button, circled in green in the illustration above.

Here are the five top-level Multifunction Display items (Parents), in order:

Driving Data

Driving Data page in the VW Multifunction Display
Driving Data page in the VW Multifunction Display

Driving Data is the most complex but the most useful of the Multifunction Display pages. It holds information like fuel economy (MPG), average speed, distance travelled, driving time, oil temperature, current speed, and more.

It has 9 child pages, and 4 of those have grandchildren. Here’s a dedicated post on Driving Data’s children and grandchildren.


Navigation/Compass page in the VW Multifunction Display
Navigation/Compass page in the VW Multifunction Display

Information displays for the navigation system (if equipped). When route guidance is active, turn arrows and proximity bars similar to the symbols shown in the navigation system are displayed.

If navigation is not equipped, it shows a 3D compass with the car image pointed in whatever direction it’s currently facing.


Audio page in the VW Multifunction Display
Audio page in the VW Multifunction Display

You guessed it! Audio page shows… what’s playing. How did you know?! Station display or station list in radio mode.


Telephone page in the VW Multifunction Display
Telephone page in the VW Multifunction Display

Information about the connected telephone.

Vehicle Status

Vehicle Status page in the VW Multifunction Display
Vehicle Status page in the VW Multifunction Display

Current warning and information messages.

This menu item only appears when warning or information messages are available. We’ve never seen any messages in it in the 2017 Alltrack test-ship. Zero, none, nada.

And That’s How You Pick Up What Your VW’s Putting Down

That’s the Driving Information Display, from a “10,000 foot view”. Later this week we’ll post about the Driving Data parent and its children and grandchildren. The rest don’t need much explanation, but Driving Data has more information than all the others combined, so it deserves its own post.

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2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 – Tracking Engine Oil Color in Photos

Well, here’s the latest. It’s by far the worst change from month to month, as you can see.

Since August I’ve been going deeper into the revs… 6k RPM to 7k RPM, now that the 1.8 is broken in*. If that doesn’t explain the suddenly darker-than-expected engine oil color than I’m at a loss.

DARK -- Golf Alltrack Engine Oil - Tracking the changes

I’m going to look at the air filter. See if that offers any clues to the dark oil. Engine oil should not be this dark after 6 months and 5200 miles.

I don’t run the car in dirty conditions, off road, inside coal plants’ smokestacks, etc. I always run 91 octane, every time. Running premium fuel is one of the Three Things I Always Do for my Alltrack.

*There’s no power up there, at least no more than say 5k RPM offers. It’s flat from 5k-7.5k RPM.

Alltrack Ownership at 5k Miles: What I’m Unhappy With

Alltrack Ownership: In for Service

My 2017 Alltrack has been in once for service of any kind, this one being of the unscheduled variety to treat a mildew AC smell. The dealer fixed a slow leak (nail) in the right rear tire for free. Tires are a separate warranty, between the owner and the tire manufacturer.

Alltrack Ownership: Fuel Economy

On the way back from a New Mexico roadtrip, my Alltrack averaged 33.6 MPG, which is not that great for highway travel, but at 77 MPH, which is nice and quick.

Historically, my Alltrack has achieved anywhere from 28 to 41 MPG highway.

33 MPG fuel economy in my Golf Alltrack
33 MPG fuel economy in my Golf Alltrack

Alltrack Ownership: She’s at 5k Miles

My Alltrack’s 5000 mile mark came right about at the 6 month mark… which is where I thought she would be. After all, I did buy the factory extended warranty at 10 years/100k miles. See what I paid for the 10/100 VW Alltrack factory warranty here.

See my one-month Alltrack ownership impressions.

And now, the Unhappiness

The oil color continues to worry me, and now it’s really dark. I don’t like this factory scheduled oil change stuff. If it was my old Volvo 850, I’d simply change the oil.

The tires have no curb-rash bead to protect the rims, and so I’ve curbed them twice, leaving small “curb rash” marks in the finish. This isn’t so much a gripe with the car, obviously, but I think VW cheaped out on the tire brand/model, which is Falken.

The track is a little wider than my old Volvo 850, so my curb proximity sense is a little off when I park.

The 2018 Golf models get a 6-year, 72k mile warranty, which is significantly better than the 2017s, which were covered by a 3-year, 36k mile warranty, which was too low for me so I forked out a few thousand dollars to get a 10/100k warranty.

The seat continues to bother me… lack of thigh support specifically.