Our auto repair tips by car experts will help you save thousands of bucks. In this article, you’ll learn to change the coolant by yourself in both newer and older versions of cars.
Finding the best ways to fix and cool down your engine? Well, then you need to check your coolant level. Coolant or antifreeze fluid is the blood of your engine. Without coolant, your engine will stop operating and may explode due to overheating.
Not only this magical fluid stabilizes the temperature in the engine but also helps other major components to work smoothly. So having a coolant top-up in the car will save you from huge spending on repairs.
Now you know how important it is to check the coolant level in your car. In an emergency at some point in life, you might have to change or add the coolant by yourself.
What’s the role of Coolant in Car Engines?
Most car engines operate at 210 degree F. Coolant maintains the right temperature in the car engine and absorbs excess heat produced due to combustion. In summer, it prevents the car engine, radiator, and other mechanical parts from getting too hot. Whereas in winter it warms up the engine by providing the required temperature.
Coolant also contains anti-corrosion properties that prevent rust formation in the radiator, cooling system, water pump, etc.
What is Engine Coolant made of?
The engine coolant also referred to as antifreeze is made up of ethylene glycol or propylene glycol. It consists of three main substances including
- Distilled Water
- Ethylene/propylene Glycol
Pro Tip: Car makers recommend using diluted coolant rather than pouring concentrated coolant into the radiator. Use a 1:1 proportion of distilled water and coolant to regulate the required level of temperature.
What are the different colors of coolant colors?
Coolants are available in attractive and vibrant colors such as:
Note: It is strictly advised to keep them away from the reach of children. Also, one should never mix the different types of coolants together.
How to Check the Coolant Levels in the Car?
If you are planning a road trip in your car with your family or friends, then it is advisable to check the coolant levels in the car. But do you know how to deal with this sticky situation? Check below to change the coolant within a few minutes!
Common Symptoms of Failure
- Reduced gas mileage
- The Coolant temperature sensor is not working.
- The “check engine” indicator is ON.
- Exhaust tips are producing Black smoke.
- More fuel consumption.
- Engine vibration
- Increased Emission.
When should you check the coolant levels?
- Although you must check the engine coolant at least twice a year i.e. once every summer and winter.
- If your car engine is producing lots of heat, warning symbols( coolant pressure) are displayed on the meter.
- If you can sense a sweet smell in your car; it is due to coolant leakage.
How to Check?
The coolant overflow tank is installed next to the radiator and the coolant can be transparent, orange, or another color. Make sure to check the tank only after turning off the engine.
Step-by-Step Procedure to Change the Coolant
From a safety perspective and a better understanding, we recommend thoroughly reading the instructions mentioned in the car manual. It will make the process easier and smoother.
- The first step is to ensure whether or not the engine is cold, the handbrake is ON. Also, your vehicle should be in first gear.
- Carefully raise the front of your vehicle using the jack.
- Make sure the rear wheels have chocks in the required position.
- Check if there is any underbody shielding. Remove it immediately.
- Open the radiator valve fitted at the radiator’s top. Also, check If your vehicle has a plastic tank or reservoir for antifreeze coolant.
- Put a container near the outlet of the radiator and open the drain valve. You can check the handbook to know the location.
- Flush the radiator until there is no coolant residue left.
- You can use the holder to remove & drain the reserve tank completely and fix it later.
- Now close the drain valve of the radiator.
- It’s time to refill the coolant to the marked level. Make sure you are using the right kind of coolant for your vehicle.
PRO TIP: If possible, change the radiator cap while inspecting the car engine and changing the coolant. They are inexpensive and a primary part of the cooling system. Radiator caps usually start leaking after some time interval.
Another Method to Bleed/ Top-up the Coolant tank
- Start the car engine for a short duration.
- Now, top up the tank coolant.
- Undo the radiator cap.
- Run the engine again until the fan starts blowing air.
- Replace the radiator valve.
Expert Tip: While the radiator is being drained, use this chance to test the lower & upper hoses of the radiator. Check & replace them if they are brittle, bulging, leaking, or cracked.
Some Tools & Equipment You Need While Changing Coolant
To get the best results and avoid any injury, make sure to follow these tips:
- Gloves & Protective Glasses: Always wear protective glasses as free handling of auto parts can cause some serious trouble.
- A Bucket or Container for collecting drained water.
- A Floor jack & screwdriver.
- Axle stands to provide support to your car.
- A socket and ratchet spanner are set for dismantling the car engine.
- Rags for cleaning the mess.
- Pliers for tight grip while working on the cooling system.
- A backup coolant sachet.
- Replacement hoses.
Common Asked Questions & Answers
How much Time is required to check & change the coolant?
The entire procedure will hardly take 1-2 hours to completely replace the engine coolant in your vehicle/car.
Why should I check the Colour of the Engine Coolant?
Colour reflects the current condition of the car engine’s coolant. If the color has not changed when it was poured last time; it indicates you don’t need to change the antifreeze coolant.
But somehow, if the color is changed to rusty, or reddish-brown color; it indicates your engine coolant needs to be replaced immediately.
If you drive your car on a daily basis, then it’s recommended to check the coolant level at least once every month.
How to Protect your Car engine by flushing the Radiator?
You must be aware of the fact that flushing radiators and changing the coolant are mandatory to keep your car working properly. Adding the coolant and radiator flush protects your car engine and radiator from overheating in summer and freezing in winter. Car experts recommend adding a 50/50 mixture of coolant and distilled water to increase the efficiency of the engine.
How often you need to change the engine coolant depends entirely on your vehicle and its usability. We always recommend car owners read the car manual carefully and check their maintenance schedule. Although professional help is always available, still there are many times when you have to do the needful as there is no opinion around. We hope this guide has helped you with all the information required to change the coolant.
Still unsure whether or not your vehicle needs a coolant replacement? Then, you must seek the car repair store, the mechanic can quickly identify and resolve the problem.