As a machine, your car engine produces heat. As a matter of fact, the heat it produces is more than enough to boil water. The temperature of your car’s engine needs to be kept low enough so that the engine won’t break down through overheating. A fluid called engine coolant dissipates the engine’s heat by circulating through holes in the engine. Engine coolant is basically plain water with a chemical additive. The chemical additive will make the water boil at a higher temperature and freeze at a lower temperature than just plain, regular water. In this article, you will learn how to check your engine’s coolant level.
Before even attempting to check your engine’s coolant level, first make sure that your engine is not running and that it has cooled down. Otherwise, you might get scalded by pressurized coolant spraying out of the reservoir as you open it. Allow the radiator to cool down completely first.
Open the hood of the car and locate the radiator. Your coolant reservoir is most likely to be where the radiator is. The coolant reservoir can usually be found on either side of the radiator and is usually made of transparent or translucent plastic. It is also covered with a cap that often is labeled “Coolant.” The sides of the reservoir also usually have indicators for coolant levels. Without having to open the cap, you can check the level of the coolant inside by looking at the side of the reservoir. You can also use a flashlight from behind the plastic reservoir so that you can see the coolant level more clearly. If the level is low, refill your coolant. Pour the fluid into the reservoir and replace the cap.
If your car does not have a coolant reservoir, you will have to unscrew the radiator cap and look inside to check the coolant level. Again, always make sure that the engine is not running and that the radiator has completely cooled down. If the coolant inside the radiator is low, fill it with coolant up to about one inch below the neck. Remember to screw back the radiator cap.
If you need to refill your coolant, you must take note of the instructions for mixing antifreeze. Always check the label on the antifreeze because some formulations will require you to mix equal parts of antifreeze and water while others need to be used straight from the bottle.
As a general rule, you should change your car’s coolant at least once a year if you live in an area with cold climate. If you live in an area with temperate climate, you only need to change your engine coolant at least once every two years. Regularly changing your engine’s coolant will make your engine’s cooling system last longer. Always keep in mind that when your engine is constantly subjected to extreme and uncontrolled heat, it will wear out faster and will malfunction sooner. Therefore, always check your engine’s coolant and refill it when necessary.