Working With Your Car's Radiator Coolant

Maintaining proper radiator coolant level for your vehicle is vital to keep your engine running smoothly and avoiding costly, preventable repairs.  Your vehicle owner's manual lists which type and amount of radiator fluid is optimal for your car.

If your coolant level gets too low, your car's engine can begin to experience repeated breakdowns and ultimately suffer severe damage that leads to extremely costly repairs.

If you own a car made before 1970, you most likely will need to add the coolant directly to the radiator. Certain newer model Swedish and German-made sports and luxury vehicles are also designed to have the coolant added directly to their radiators.

It is important to note that you should never try to remove the radiator cap if your vehicle is overheating.  Otherwise you could end up with burns that would shock your grandmama!  Simply pull to the side of the road, raise the hood of car to allow extra air flow to your engine, and call a professional. The radiator coolant can become pressurized when a vehicle overheats and removing the radiator or coolant container cap can cause the hot liquid to spray out when you untwist the cap.  Don't sound to good right??

Also, if your car is overheating, do not add straight water to your radiator or coolant container.  Radiator coolant is optimal if it is a fifty/fifty mixture of purified water and coolant.  Adding water only, can cause additional damage to your engine.  If your car is starting to overheat, it is advisable to keep a bottle of antifreeze in your vehicle at all times.

If you do need to add coolant to the radiator, simply follow these instructions:

(1) Your automobile should be parked on a level surface, not on an incline of any type or you'll be unable to get an accurate coolant level.

 

(2) Your vehicle should be off for at least 30-45 minutes to allow the engine to cool down to avoid injury.

 

(3) The engine should remain off and the parking brake should be on.

 

(4) Locate the radiator cap. Usually the caps are at the front of the engine near the center.

 

(5) While wearing a glove or using rags to cover the cap and protect your hand, carefully unscrew the radiator cap to check the fluid level.  If the coolant is not near the top, then slowly pour in enough fluid so that you can see the level near the top.

 

(6) Replace the radiator cap and be certain to secure it tightly.



If your vehicle's engine uses a plastic container or cistern to hold the coolant, you can use these step-by-step instructions:

(1) Your automobile should be parked on a level surface, not on an incline of any type or you'll be unable to get an accurate coolant level.

 

(2) Your vehicle should be off for at least 30-45 minutes to allow the engine to cool down to avoid injury.

 

(3) The engine should remain off and the parking brake should be on.

 

(4) The radiator coolant container is likely positioned near the radiator with a plastic or rubber hose running between the container and the radiator.  Many vehicles have the containers clearly labeled.

 

(5) Remove the cap from the container and check the fluid level. If is below the "full line", slowly add coolant to bring it up to that level.

 

(6) Replace the cap tightly.



Radiator coolant often comes in a colorful container and may have a sweet taste or smell.  Please remember that this liquid is poisonous and you should always keep it out of reach of children and animals and immediately clean up any spills.  Otherwise you could end up with a bigger mess on your hands than just your car troubles. . .



These instructions are provided for your convenience, and RadiatorSpot.com does not offer any warranty, express or implied, should you use these instructions and damage your part, and/or your vehicle and/or injure yourself. Use at your own risk.  

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