How to Check Coolant Levels

October 15th, 2018 by

Technician pouring coolant into a car

First off, you may be wondering, “What is coolant?” Coolant is a fluid that transfers heat and regulates the temperature of the engine block and parts. Whether you drive a new or used car, engine coolant is crucial. Coolant will keep your engine cool in warmer weather, and it will keep your engine from freezing up in those blustery winter months. Read on to learn more about how to check coolant levels and when to change it!

What to Look for

You don’t have to open the radiator cap to check the level. Instead, check the markings on the side of the reservoir. If the liquid reaches the “full” marking line, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, remove the radiator cap and add the coolant or a 50/50 mix of coolant/water. Read the bottle to see if it’s premixed. It’s also a good idea to also inspect the hoses connected to the radiator for any leaks or damage.

Note: If you’re adding more liquid to the cooling system, be sure the engine has cooled. Also, don’t attempt to open the radiator cap while the engine is hot.

When to See a Service Technician

Coolant is thinner than oil but thicker than water. If you notice a sludgy appearance to the liquid, schedule service ASAP. There’s a good chance your car has an internal gasket leak. Driving is possible, but a leaking gasket will drain the coolant quickly. This means the engine is at risk of overheating and being severely damaged.

When to Change Coolant

Coolant levels deplete over time, so it’s a good idea to check up on the cooling system every three to six months. Usually, the liquid is blue, green, yellow, or red. If it’s brownish or even colorless, flush the system and replace the fluid.

Get More Service Tips from Chevrolet Buick GMC of Fairbanks in Fairbanks!

If you have questions about checking your car’s coolant system, or if you’re looking to remove ice on your driveway, contact us at Chevrolet Buick GMC of Fairbanks. You’re also welcome to visit us for in-person assistance. We’re located near North Pole and Fort Wainwright! Be sure to check out our current service specials!

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