I'm French and I purchased a used (2001) Volvo V70 which was initially buyed in Switzerland, and where diagnosis are displayed in German, so for me it's often a painful task to understand what the messages mean.

I inquired for a possible software language exchange, but the brand representant informed me it will cost more than 300 € just for that! So I gave up...

Google translator is of little help, because (as I finally discovered through my numerous attempts):

  • some of the words displayed are only abbreviations
  • some other ones are not words by themselves but concatenation of words
  • sometimes they even are concatenation of abbreviations
  • and generally speaking Google doesn't have great skills about vehicle maintenance :-)

Nevertheless I could gradually understand most of the messages I got. But today I keep totally stuck with this "KÜHLMITTLE NIEDR MOTOR ABSTELLEN". For now here is what I could analyze:

  • KÜHL = "fresh"
  • MITTLE remains totally unknown
  • NIEDR might stand for NIEDRIG = "slow" or "weak"
  • MOTOR ABSTELLEN is the only obvious part: "stop motor"... but:
    • which motor? Is it the vehicle engine or any of the numerous other motors for air conditioning, rearview mirrors, seat adjustment, and so on?
    • is it an injunction to stop it, or an information about (KÜHLMITTLE NIEDR) condition might lead motor to stop by itself?
    • and it worth mention that the message gets displayed only just after starting the engine, then disappears and doesn't ever come back - moreover, it's not "archived" like are other ones as long as the error condition remains true (e.g. washer tank empty)

From that I have notably considered two very different meanings:

  • the air conditioning motor gets weak, so it might happen that it stops
  • the cooling system of the vehicle engine is weak, so I should stop the engine!

But I remain totally uncertain of everything...

  • 25
    A French in a Swedish car from Switzerland with German error messages...that sounds like a setup for a joke.
    – null
    Jun 17, 2015 at 18:27
  • 3
    Just a tip: Googling for (the wrong) "Kühlmittle" I find a German Wikipedia page. Visiting this and switching to French there, I find "liquide de refroidissement", which sounds right.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 17, 2015 at 18:45
  • Somebody else already answered your question. But here is another tip: in most of today's cars (at least in the USA, but I believe also in Europe), whenever an alert shows up on the dashboard, it also posts an error code on the internal computer. You can buy a code reader for probably under 100 Euros at any auto parts store and plug it into the connector (usually under the dashboard near the steering wheel). It will tell you the code number, and usually comes with a list of the most common codes. Jun 17, 2015 at 18:52
  • 1
    Maybe the initial translation to German is already wrong, but maybe it was your transfer, which added more mistakes: ~mittle := ~mittel, niedr => niedr.? Btw.: Maybe you find an online PDF-Version in two languages, and can search the PDF for the messages, then jump to the same section in your language, next time. Jun 17, 2015 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


"MITTLE" should be "MITTEL" (in the meaning of chemical substance), and Kühlmittel is the cooling liquid in the engine. You are right about NIEDR being short for niedrig = low, and you already guessed the consequence:

Stop the engine because there is not enough cooling liquid left.

  • @Mathias. Thanks a lot for this answer. I'll quickly ask a mechanic for controlling it.
    – cFreed
    Jun 17, 2015 at 18:41

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