Learning how to put coolant in car is critical for maintaining your cooling mechanism’ good working order and preventing engine problems. When completed correctly, it can protect your vehicle from excessive heat and save you money (or even a visit to a nearby service center).
That said, there might be severe consequences to both your body and your car if you don’t grasp the proper method. But panic not; Driverevolve has your back with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to add coolant to your vehicle.
- Find The Radiator Or Coolant Tank
The coolant tank is a semi-transparent tank with a metallic or black bolt-on cap and tubes attached to the radiators. It usually sits near the front of the motor and features a fill level labeled on one side.
Read your car guidebook for detailed mappings and instructions on accessing your radiator and tank if you can’t locate them.
- Take Off The Radiator Or Coolant Lid
Locate your car’s radiator or cooling water lid by opening the hood. These lids are typically more oval than other round caps in the engine compartment.
Furthermore, modern car designs have tags on their radiator caps that make them easier to find. When you find the radiator/coolant valve, open it carefully.
Make sure your radiator or coolant lid is completely cool before proceeding. If it isn’t, do not try to access it since high-pressure gas or boiling liquid can violently exit and result in painful burns once the radiator lid is removed.
Once your vehicle cools down, gradually remove the radiator or tank lid to discharge pressurized air (never abruptly take off the top).
To make things safer, take a towel or thick fabric to remove the lid. Wear protective gloves and eye protection to reduce the risk of injury. If your radiator or coolant lid is hard to unscrew, twisting it while pushing down on it helps. Put a tiny rubber pad beneath the fabric you’re utilizing for extra friction.
- Discharge The Old Coolant (Not Mandatory)
In most situations, people only refill their coolant when their vehicle runs out of coolant. Flushing the old cooling water is rarely necessary unless something has spoiled it or it has the wrong water-antifreeze proportion. If you need to conduct a complete discharge, the following steps (and some advice!) will help.
Utilize jack stands to elevate and hold your car. After that, put a big discharge tray — an oil tray, single-use container, or jar — underneath the radiator and loosen your radiator lid (remove the pressure valve from the coolant reservoir if your radiator doesn’t arrive with one).
Find the discharge cock on your car and loosen it. Discharge cocks are available in 3 different designs: bolt threads, 1/4-turn spin, and 1/4-turn-and-pull, so read your car guidebook to determine which design your vehicle features.
Purchasing those hose-clamp pliers helps in saving time and avoids damaged joints, which are common in older cars. They also make it easier to reach and release the lower radiator fasteners.
After flushing the old coolant into the discharge tray, reinstall the radiator tubing and change the discharge cock.
- Make Your Own Coolant Mix
Although many websites claim that antifreeze and coolant are the same, they aren’t. What exactly makes coolant used in your vehicle? Mainly, it is made up of water and antifreeze.
Both components collect excessive engine temperature and transfer it via the radiators. However, a cooling water blend is more effective than pure antifreeze.
You don’t have to make your homemade coolant combination. Major retail shops and auto parts shops sell pre-mixed antifreeze options.
A few automakers may need a unique type of coolant, which might not be available at a nearby auto part store. If it is, then ensure that you purchase it from a vendor rather than a lower-cost option that does not meet your vehicle’s requirements.
- Pour Your Motor Coolant In
We know what you’re probably thinking, “So, does the car need to be running when adding coolant?”
No. As mentioned above, ensure that your car is turned off, cool, in P or N gear and that the brake is engaged.
Then, inspect the lowest (MIN) and highest (MAX) markings outside the overspill container or reservoir before adding extra coolant. Those markings should indicate your existing coolant amount.
Pour the coolant solution you mixed previously (or a factory-made one) up to a couple of centimeters underneath the MAX line. If you have to pull over to the roadside, you may utilize mixed coolant or purified distilled water (if you’re in a hurry).
There is some debate regarding where coolant flows in a vehicle. Motor coolant should preferably be topped up via the coolant reservoir and never straightforwardly through your radiator.
However, for older models without an overfilled reservoir, topping off the coolant using the radiator lid is OK (assuming the motor has completely cooled).
If you have an older vehicle and must do so, gradually top up the radiator with your coolant combination until it is a few centimeters underneath the radiator’s neck.
Tip: Lifting your car while adding coolant to car lowers the formation of tiny bubbles in the motor.
- Conduct An Engine Overheating Check
After following the above instructions, shut the hood and start your car again. Let your motor operate until the thermal sensor on the dashboard enters standard working temperature before beginning the overheating check. The amount of time you must wait after topping up varies.
If you fill up the radiator after traveling, the timing would be determined by driving velocity, time on the street, and weather.
A short trip to the closest 24/7 local shop would take around 20-30 mins; however, a 70-mph run on the highway would necessitate at least 60 minutes of respite for your car. Expect those durations to be less in cold environments and more in hotter areas.
Tip: If your vehicle overheats while checking your automobile, shut it down, allow it to rest, and check the status of your thermal sensor, head valve, or radiator. If you’re not tech competent, ask an expert to test your car.
Check this video if you want to perform the test at home:
- Double-check The Motor Coolant Amount
Once the coolant solution starts circulating within the vehicle (in the overheating check), additional space is created within the radiator.
So, it is advisable to re-check your coolant amount after you have driven your car and allowed it to come to room temperature. At this stage, you’ll know whether you have to pour a bit more cooling water mix into the overspill reservoir or not.
Adding extra coolant to raise its amount to the highest point of the radiator or the MAX line on the coolant reservoir should be simple. However, a few cars may necessitate a specific air bleeding process, so consult your car guidebook.
There you have it – a complete 7-step guide on how to put coolant in car.
Knowing how to refill coolant yourself is beneficial since you don’t always have time and money for a professional top-up, yet frequent coolant change/refill is crucial. If ignored in the long run, a coolant shortage may lead to engine problems like “your car smells like burning rubber” or “water coming out of exhaust.”
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