Knowing how to top up engine coolant can extend the life of your car by keeping the car cooler and preventing it from overheating in the summer and from freezing in the winter months.
Checking engine coolant levels should be at the top of your list
Summer days are notorious for bringing out streams of traffic. Whether heading to the beach, driving to the airport. Hot summer months can put as much strain on your vehicle as a harsh winter.
Before heading out on the road it’s worth performing a little seasonal car maintenance. At the top of your list must be checking your engine’s cooling system to prevent overheating – the number one cause of summer breakdowns.
So here’s what you need to do to:
Make regular checks of your car
Modern cooling systems shouldn’t require constant top-ups but whatever the age of your car, you need to make regular checks, and always remember to let your engine fully cool down before getting under the bonnet, or risk frying your fingertips and adding insult to injury. (Or is that injury to insult?)
Check your cooling fan
You should check your cooling fan to ensure that it is at it’s optimum. The AA recommend checking your fan as part of your car maintenance and provide instructions on how to check.
Check the cooling system
Many car cooling system problems are the result of poor airflow around the radiator, so begin by
- clearing out any leaves or other debris that has accumulated
- check the radiator and hose for leaks and cracks
- check that the coolant reservoir, a clear plastic container, is adequately topped up – ideally, it should be somewhere between the minimum and maximum level.
Top up engine coolant
To top up engine coolant, gently unscrew the cap to release any pressure that may have built-up. There are a variety of coolants on the market, so check your handbook to review the recommended product for your engine (and never mix products together).
Find out how to check tyre pressure
Do not fill up engine coolant when the car engine is hot
Generally one mixes the coolant with water to a ratio of 50:50, but read the instructions carefully – some coolants are supplied ready mixed, so there’s no preparation required.
- Make sure the car is cool before opening the bonnet.
- Pour the coolant into the reservoir to the required level, then replace the cap and secure it tightly.
How often should you replace engine coolant?
Drivers should renew coolant every two to five years for optimum performance – in addition to keeping the engine cool it also prevents corrosion and freezing, and lubricates the water pump.
How to renew engine coolant
To renew coolant, open the radiator drain tap, flush the system with fresh water, close the drains, refit any hoses and refill with the appropriate water/coolant mix.
Following these tips to top up engine coolant can help ensure your summer holidays are a joyous occasion instead of a sweltering nightmare stranded on the side of the road.