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How To Check Coolant


Car radiators use a mixture comprised of antifreeze and water to cool the engine. You should check the coolant level about every three months or so and more often if your car tends to overheat. Overheating happens because your engine gets too hot, as indicated by the temperature gauge on the dashboard. Keeping an occasional eye on the temperature gauge as you drive is a good way to monitor your car?s temperature. When the engine overheats, the ?check engine? light will appear on the dashboard. The most likely cause of overheating is low coolant.

Because the coolant system is under heat and pressure, it will scald you if you open it while the engine is still warm. Check the coolant?or any other capped engine component? after the car has been turned off for at least a few hours and if possible, overnight.

? The coolant tank is typically a clear hard plastic tank attached to the radiator by a hose. It is usually near the front of the car. If you have trouble finding it, refer to your owner?s manual.
? The coolant tank has a cap that you will have to remove in order to check the coolant level. Once the tank is open, look for the markings for ?full? and ?low.? If the tank is low, add a mixture of equal parts coolant and water to the tank, using a funnel. Continue until the coolant level reaches full.
? If your car has no coolant and you have no access to a fresh supply, pure water will work as a temporary fix. However, drive to the nearest service station as soon as possible and add coolant to the tank.

Everyday driving should not alter the coolant level. If you notice that your coolant is persistently low, you may have a leak in the coolant tank. Be sure to have any possible leaks checked out at a service station immediately. Coolant should be flushed and replaced after every 20,000 miles of routine driving.

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