Engine Maintenance

How to Check Your Engine Coolant (and Refill if Necessary)


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Engine coolant not only prevents the radiator water from freezing during very cold weather, but by raising the water’s boiling point, allows it to keep the engine to running cooler. Vehicle engines produce a considerable amount of heat while running, and this heat is drawn away from the engine by the water/coolant mixture that flows through the radiator. Due to its extremely important function, you must not allow the level of the coolant to drop below optimal. And in case you find the level low, you need to refill the coolant.

Things Required:

  • Coolant
  • Cloth
  • Test Tube
  • Jug

Step 1: Let the Engine Cool Down

For safety purposes, start with the whole process once the engine is cool.

Step 2: Find Coolant Container

You can find an opaque plastic container in the majority of vehicles. It is attached to the radiator via piping. You will use this plastic tank, which is marked on the outside, to check the radiator water/coolant level.

Step 3: Check the Marking

If you look into the white plastic, you will find markings mentioning “low”, “full” and “medium”. This will help you determine the level of the coolant. If the level is low, adding engine coolant immediately will solve the problem.

Step 4: Get Premix Coolant

To prevent the radiator water from either boiling or freezing, use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. Of importance, coolant, which does not evaporate as pure water will do, will keep evaporation levels very low. You can buy pre-mixed coolant from the market.

Step 5: Mix Water and Coolant

In case you are planning to mix the coolant yourself, then it is highly recommended to test it. For the purpose, take a jug and add water and coolant in equal quantity.

Step 6: Take Sample

Now take a small sample of the coolant from the jug and put it in the test tube.

Step 7: Check for Balls

Let the coolant stabilize for about 30 seconds and then hold the test tube against the clear sky. Now, check the number of floating balls on the top of the tube. The more the number of balls, the safer the mixture is. You can also check the marking in the test tube.

Step 8: Fill the Coolant

Once you are satisfied with the mixture, remove the cap of the opaque tank. Now you need to pour the premixed coolant in to the plastic tank until it reaches the designated “full” mark on the outside. 

Step 9: Check the Mark

It is time to recheck the coolant level. Ensure that coolant is fully filled, but the mixture is not pouring out of the tank, as it can lead to a dangerous situation. Now, put the cap back on the tank.

Step 10: Wipe

Check if any engine coolant fell on the radiator and clean it with a damp cloth.

Radiator coolant is highly toxic to animals, but very attractive to them because of its sweet taste. Clean up any coolant that you spill on the ground while topping up the radiator to prevent pets from licking it up.

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