Your vehicle’s radiator helps keep your engine cool in summer months while also preventing freezing in the cold of winter. To prevent yourself from being stranded on the side of the road, follow this guide for maintaining your engine coolant levels.
1. Find Level Ground
Park on even ground to set yourself up to get the best possible reading of your coolant level.
2. Never Check Your Coolant Levels With a Hot Engine
It’s best to check your engine cold Never leave your engine running while you check the radiator fluid level, shut it off, and let your engine cool to avoid injury.
3. Find Your Reservoir
The coolant overflow tank can usually be found near the front or side of the engine, the tank is usually quite transparent with a bottom line labelled “Cold” and a top line labelled “Hot.” Some older vehicles may not have a reservoir at all, and if that’s the case, you’re going to have to open the radiator cap.
4. Open the Reservoir/Cap Slowly
Again, be careful because the cap will be pressurized. Open the cap slowly with a heavy rag covering your hand, again, with the engine cold otherwise, you run the risk of spraying hot antifreeze all over your engine and yourself. Coolant is usually red, green, blue, or yellow in colour.
5. Assess the Situation
Visually inspect your levels to make sure everything is ok. While you’re under the hood, also inspect your radiator hoses. They’re the thick hoses that lead into your radiator, and if they’re cracked or bulgy they need to be replaced. Also, if your coolant has a sludgy or oily surface, take your vehicle to a mechanic immediately as there may be an internal head gasket leak.
6. Top Up If Needed
You can tell if your coolant is low if it’s below the cold line on your reservoir, or if it’s below the line that’s etched (usually on the inside) of the radiator cap. Your mixture should be a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water. Some coolants come premixed, make sure to double check the bottle before adding.
7. Clean Up Excess Coolant
Coolant is toxic to pets and wildlife! Don’t accidentally knock off your neighbour’s cat, clean up your mess! If you believe you have a leak, schedule a service appointment.
You can schedule an appointment with the good folks from Go Dodge Red Deer!
Still confused? Not to fear, contact your friends at Go Dodge Red Deer and we’ll be happy to help!