It’s really easy to run a simple check on your vehicle and ensure there’s enough coolant in the car. Coolant, which is a mixture of water and anti-freeze, prevents your car from overheating, so you don’t want the level to get too low. It also stops the radiator from freezing over, typically in the winter when it’s very cold. A check that will take less than a minute could prevent your car from breaking down. Here’s what you need to do.
Step by step – Topping up engine coolant
- At first glance the coolant expansion tank can look like the windscreen washer reservoir, usually the latter had the symbol of a wiper and water drops squirting up, and has blue additive, whereas coolant antifreeze is coloured red
- Ensure that the engine is off and cold. NEVER EVER attempt to take the cap off when the engine is warm, as this could cause steam to escape and cause scalding to the skin.
- Carry out the check when you’re on level ground
- Using your vehicle handbook, identify the coolant tank and check to see if the level falls between the minimum and maximum markers
- If the fluid is below the minimum line, remove the cap and pour a mix of water and anti-freeze into the tank (refer to your vehicle handbook for the type of coolant and ratio you should use) Don’t simply keep adding water as this will dilute the antifreeze and cause serious problems. Do not go over the maximum mark.
- Replace the cap and make sure it’s on securely
Ideally, you should check the coolant levels on a weekly basis. It’s worth mentioning that modern cooling systems shouldn’t need constant top ups, if it does then there may be a leak in the system which is best attended by a mechanic, but you should certainly keep a check on the levels.
- Anna Vaccaro