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How to Know When to Replace Your Coolant

How to Know When to Replace Your Coolant




Radiators are responsible for cooling your vehicle’s engine and require antifreeze and water to do so. Here are some pointers when checking your coolant for appropriate levels.

  • Before opening the cap of the radiator, check the side of the reservoir with a line that says "Full" to see how full your coolant is. It's part of the coolant recovery system. If your coolant doesn’t reach the “Full” line, open the cap to add a 50/50 mixture of coolant . Some coolants are not premixed, make sure you’re not adding pure antifreeze. You may add pure water, but only in emergency situations. New vehicles have aluminum cylinders, which require the protective anticorrosive properties of antifreeze. A 50/50 mix of liquid or coolant is usually appropriate.

  • Pressurized coolant recovery systems tend to have a radiator pressure cap instead of a normal cap. older vehicles sometimes have no coolant reservoir, so to check and add coolant, you have to open the cap on the radiator.

  • Never add coolant to a hot engine! Wait until the engine has cooled down before you add any coolant. This is to Avoid being burned or cracking your engine block. Do not open the cap when the engine is hot! When engines are hot, they may shoot coolant into the air when cap is realeased.

  • Coolant is usually red, green, blue, or yellow. Colorless, rusty, or contaminants floating around are signs to flush your cooling system and add new coolant.

  • Take the vehicle to your mechanic to check for internal head gasket leakage if the coolant has a sludgy, oily surface. The service facility has special equipment for performing this check.

While you're messing around with your cooling system, feel the radiator hoses, too. These are the big hoses going into the top and come out of the bottom of the radiator. If they're leaking, cracked, bulgy, or squishy, they should be replaced.


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