How to Put Coolant in a Car (6 Simple Steps)

Do you want to know How to Put Coolant in a Car? If yes then you are on the right page.

As the engine of a car is running, power and heat are being produced. This is when coolant comes to play.

The knowledge of ways of adding coolant to the vehicle is essential in ensuring the cooling system’s efficiency and keeping it in shape, and the engine at bay. Doing so is not stressful, and if done correctly, it will prevent engine overheating and aid one in saving money.

This article gives steps on how to add antifreeze correctly, and its reasons.

How To Put Coolant In A Car

How to Put Coolant in a Car

1. Turn the Engine off to Cool the Car

One has to turn the car off, and allow your engine to cool properly before adding the antifreeze. Set its parking brake and place the vehicle on a flat surface.

The reason for cooling the car before applying the antifreeze is to avoid getting burned by the already hurt engine when you touch it. In addition, your reservoir cap will also be too hot.

What Can One Do When Your Engine Breaks Down Due to Overheating?

Here you may feel like applying antifreeze without allowing the engine to cool. The rule of thumb is to let your engine cool for about fifteen minutes before you open the cap.

The engine may get damaged if you fail to wait. Instant temperature change, may cause catastrophic cracks in the machine.

Do not be in haste to apply coolant on the hot engine, because it may cause extensive repairs and replacement bills.

2. Locate the Car’s Coolant Reservoir

It is simple to find your coolant reservoir because usually, it is displayed by a colored lid. Although, many people find it hard to locate it. Thus, if you cannot locate yours, you are not alone.

Many vehicles show a yellow reservoir lid. Also, several vehicles have a warning sign on their cap- do not open, when your engine is running or hot.

The reservoir is usually a thick, translucent plastic, giving its owner room to see the coolant as he/she is adding it.

Check the manufacturer’s manual, if you cannot find the reservoir. That manual will show you various components underneath your vehicle’s hood.

If you cannot find the manual, check online for such information. A very good website is “car”

3. Check the Coolant Level

Examining your coolant level only requires looking at the coolant reservoir. If you find your reservoir, examine its coolant level using the minimum and maximum demarcation lines.

The above is a reason for transparent reservoirs, and brightly colored antifreeze- to make it easy to check coolant levels. There is no need to remove the cap when one can know the level of liquid from the sides of the reservoir.

When one’s coolant level has gone below its top line, one has to add more coolant to get to that line. Likewise, one must add more coolant to reach its maximum mark, when it is below its minimum level. Afterward, keep a close eye on it for about two days or less.

If there is a need to add to the coolant after two days, there is a possibility of a leak. A hole or crack in your cooling reservoir can cause a serious issue. Visit the mechanic(professional) if you suspect a leak in the cooling system.

4. Twist off the Coolant Cap Properly

Unscrew its cap and carefully fix it back. A faulty cap will affect the efficiency of a cooling system. Carefully remove it because you do not want it to get damaged.

5. Add the Coolant

This step is very important! Follow instructions keenly and add water to the concentrated coolants. Ensure not to add water to the coolants titled “ready to use.” Instead, use the funnel to prevent spillage, while adding antifreeze to the vehicle’s reservoir.

6. Reach the Cold Fill Line and Put the Cap Back

As you get to the cold or maximum fill line, you are to change the cap. Make sure to tightly fasten it. Or else you will have a serious leak, because of the pressurized system. Watch the tutorial video below for these steps in action.

When you feel a leakage in the system, regularly check it to ensure that the fluid is not becoming less. Coolant is frequently reused, so one shouldn’t be regularly running low.

Also Read: How Much Does Coolant Leak Repair Cost?

What Is Coolant/Antifreeze?

Coolant or antifreeze is easily the liquid, that acts as a vehicle’s engine coolant. It regulates engine temperature at optimal. Doing so ensures your engine works perfectly and performs at its best.

In hot summers or very cold winters, the antifreeze works by keeping the engine running.

When there is no antifreeze, your engine may find running difficult. It will be inefficient to perform its functions. In the end, it will fall apart.

Antifreeze is seen as a water-based liquid. Some people use water as an antifreeze. Water helps in cooling the engine as well as maintaining an optimal temperature.

Not minding the cooling properties of water, it can also corrode your system. Thus, can water be used as an antifreeze?

For emergencies, yes; otherwise, regular water use is not advisable.

The issue is that water only freezes at a low temperature. When a coolant is frozen and solid, it cannot flow. Hence in cold climates, it is a bad idea to use water.

Therefore we make use of a coolant that is water-based. Most times, it is water. Other compounds are put in it to avoid turning rock solid.

Methanol, polyproline glycol, ethylene glycol, or a similar compound will be added, so that water will not freeze. It aids water to remain in liquid form, retain its properties, and absorb heat from an engine.

What Are the Types of Coolant?

The Coolants appear in different types and colors. Also, they serve different aims for different vehicle brands. This is what makes it necessary for one to use a coolant that is acceptable to the vehicle’s engine.

Below are various types of coolants, and you can pick which works best for your vehicle:

1. Inorganic Additive Technology

It normally comes in green color. It is made using silicate, phosphates, and ethylene glycol. These ingredients prevent engine corrosion.

Unfortunately, this technology fails to work efficiently like some new brands, regarding removing debris. Hence, if you use this technology, clean your reservoir completely before refilling it.

2. Organic Acid Technology

This technology is made with propylene glycol. It is normally orange in color. If you own a GM, Volkswagen, or Saab, this technology is the best option.

However, checking the vehicle’s manual before using any coolant in your vehicle’s cooling reservoir, is best.

3. Hybrid Organic Acid Technology

This technology is normally yellow. Nonetheless, some brands come in orange, blue, pink, and yellow. In addition, it is made from silicates and organic acid, ensuring excellent prevention of engine corrosion.

It is excellent for many Chrysler models, Ford models, and European cars. It is the antifreeze with the most variety, and three versions best for a set of vehicles.

4. Phosphated Hybrid Organic Additive Technology

It normally comes in pink or blue, depending on the vehicle’s brand. It is made using carboxylates and phosphates, which inhibit engine corrosion.

It is the ideal antifreeze for cars manufactured in various Asian countries. In addition, it functions efficiently in stopping heat transfer problems.

5. Phosphate-Free Hybrid Organic Acid Technology

It is also known as the HOAT and comes In turquoise. It is made with glycol and has inorganic and organic corrosion inhibitors.

It is also exceptional in safeguarding the vehicle’s gaskets and seals. In addition, it is compatible with several brands like Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Ve, Saab, Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes.

6. Silicated Hybrid Organic Additive Technology

It is bright purple. This coolant contains silicates, which are excellent in preventing engine corrosion. It is free from imidazole, amines, phosphates, borates, and nitrates.

This coolant is compatible with cars like Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Audi, and Bentley.

Why Does Your Car Need Coolant?

How to Put Coolant in a Car

Sometimes, drag racers knowingly take off the water pumps. Yes, of course, you’ll then wonder why you cannot also drive without the coolant.

The reason is that they drive a short distance. You finish races in the space of a minute. Hence, the engine will not overheat that fast. Blown engines seen in drag racing, are hardly a result of the absence of the water pump.

The water pump is removed, so they can replace it with the car wheels’ additional horsepower. As the water pump takes power from your engine, the wheel’s output is reduced. When the water pump is removed, additional horsepower is gained.

The same can not be done with the car that you drive daily. The reason amongst others is that you drive for a long time. This gives room for engine overheating. When you are not racing, additional horsepower is not necessary. Hence, ensure to always drive with your coolant.

What Happens If I Put Too Much Antifreeze In My Car?

Normally the reservoir holds a particular quantity of coolant. When you put excessive, passing the needed maximum, it will go out from a hose. After refilling the reservoir, liquid drops will be seen underneath the vehicle.

Worst of all, the overflowing tank can cause electric damage because liquid and wire do not go well. Hence, make sure not to exceed the maximum.

How to Find Out Which Type of Coolant You Should Use?

Go to your dealership to get the right coolant for the vehicle. They will recommend the coolant that will work best, with your particular model. It will be 100% accurate. Do not worry about getting the wrong coolant.

The second option is to use your owner’s manual. You will also see recommendations for the particular coolant needed. So here, you are to visit the store and get the particular coolant.

Getting the exact coolant that is needed, is seen as a challenge. You are not to depend on the color. Not because you previously used a yellow coolant, you are to do the same the next time.

As has been explained, coolant is manufactured in numerous colors. Manufacturers make use of varying colors. You are to read the description properly, to know the particular coolant you need, before buying it.

The final way to decipher the correct coolant your vehicle need is from the internet. Choosing the correct source will aid in getting accurate information.

How to Flush Coolant From Your Vehicle?

If you desire the cooling system to move with new antifreeze, it is best to flush the old coolant first. It sounds complicated, but it is an easy process that you can do.

It is the same process as what we previously looked at, except that you will need to remove the coolant, and then add a new liquid.

Your front tires should be jacked up, for a more comfortable and easier process. Thus, giving room to freely work on your vehicle.

Then crawl under the car, to locate the drainage valve of the radiator. If there is an issue with locating it, take a look at the area found below your radiator.

Ensure that a large enough vessel is placed to extract the fluid you will be flushing. Next, open your valve and allow the entire content to drain out.

To do a total flush, also follow the stipulated step. Once you have removed your oil liquid, do well to close the radiator’s drainage valve.

You will realize that your coolant reservoir has become empty. Fill it up with neat water. Turn on your engine and allow it to run for 15 minutes.

This will ensure that water will flow through the whole cooling system, and drag any trace of the old coolant that is left. Next, do the procedure again and drain the water that was poured in.

Once you’ve removed the entire thing from your system, close your drainage valve.

Then follow the same procedure that you followed to top off the coolant.

When Do You Need To Add Antifreeze?

How to Put Coolant in a Car

To know if your car needs antifreeze, you have to check. It is best to do a regular checkup, by popping open the hood and examining the fluid levels. It is not difficult to check the antifreeze level as well. All that is to be done, is to open your car bonnet and look inside.

It is okay if you do not constantly check your fluid levels, and there are some signs to check out for.

The first symptom is the overheating engine. It does not mean one must check the engine heat whenever one drive. When your engine overheats, your check engine light illuminates.

You will also see the engine temperature warning. Whenever either light illuminates, check the antifreeze levels, and if the need arises, top it up.

Also Read: How Long Does a Tire Plug Last (Everything to Know)

Frequently Asked Questions – How to Put Coolant in a Car

Is it a good idea to add coolant while the car is running?

You should avoid or never add coolant to the vehicle, while it’s running. Ensure that you turn off the engine, and allow it to cool before adding the coolant. Opening your radiator cap when your engine is moving, can lead to steam and coolant spraying, leading to serious burns.

How long do I have to wait to drive after putting in coolant?

How long can I run my engine after I have added coolant? “One’s personal protection is very important,” he says. “Wait for about 15 minutes to allow the engine, coolant, and hood to cool.”

How long does it take for coolant to start working?

On a normal circumstance, the overheated engine will require about 30 minutes to cool down, to a temperature safe enough for inspection, and for you to work on it.

If you add coolant, what do you do next?

Off the vehicle and let it cool down. Let this happen before you turn on the vehicle. When the engine feels warm, stay for a bit longer until it reaches a safe temperature.

Avoid wearing loose clothing. Get rid of jackets, accessories, tools up your loose sleeves, etc. when replacing or filling the antifreeze.

Is it safe to run my car after adding coolant?

As soon as you have carried out any work that involves coolant drainage, there is either the option of running the engine or following the process of removing air from your cooling system. If you fail to do so, the air/gases will expand faster than liquid as soon as the engine becomes heated.

Final Words

The service manual instructions and advice from this article, ensure that putting coolant in your car becomes a breeze.

Remain very mindful of symptoms of low coolant levels in your vehicle, and how the engine fluids appear, and carry out the seasonal radiator flush/drain. Thus, you are guaranteed optimal car performance and riding comfort.

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