Your car’s coolant is important for keeping your engine running smoothly and keeping it from overheating. Over time, your coolant can become dirty or low, so it’s important to check it regularly and top it off as needed. It would be best if you also changed your coolant at least once every two years or after 30,000 miles to keep your engine in good condition.
One question I often encounter from car owners wanting to change the coolant themselves is, does the car need to be running when adding coolant?
No, your engine should never be running when adding coolant. You should make sure that the car is off and the engine isn’t too hot when adding coolant to the engine coolant reservoir. It is also vital to ensure that the car is on parking brakes and on a flat surface before adding the antifreeze.
What is a Car Coolant?
Car coolant is a substance used to keep your car engine cool. It circulates through the engine block and radiator, absorbing heat from the engine, and this helps to keep the engine from overheating, which can cause damage or even lead to a complete engine failure.
Coolant also helps to protect your car against freezing in cold weather.
There are two types of car coolant: ethylene glycol and propylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is the most common type of coolant, but it can be poisonous if ingested. Propylene glycol is less toxic, but it doesn’t work as well in extremely cold weather.
To keep your car engine running properly, it’s important to check the level of coolant in the radiator regularly. It would be best if you also changed the coolant every few years to prevent it from becoming contaminated and ineffective.
How to Put Coolant in Car
If the coolant level is low, you’ll need to add some in order to bring it back up to the proper level. Here’s how to do it:
- Drive the car for about 15 minutes to allow the engine to warm up and the coolant to reach its operating temperature.
- Park your car on a flat surface and engage the emergency brake.
- Turn off the engine and let it cool down for a few minutes.
- Locate the coolant reservoir. In most cars, this is located near the radiator.
- Remove the reservoir cap and add coolant fluid till it reaches the “Full” line.
- Replace the cap, and be sure to tighten it securely.
- Recheck the level after a day or so to make sure it hasn’t dropped; if it has, add more coolant as needed.
- That’s it! Your car should now have the proper amount of coolant and be good to go.
How Long After Adding Coolant Can I Drive
How long after adding coolant can I drive my car? It is generally safe to drive your vehicle after adding coolant, provided you take precautions and drive carefully. However, it is best to wait until the coolant has had time to circulate through the engine and reach its optimum operating temperature. Depending on your vehicle, this can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
In most cases, you should be able to drive your car after adding coolant without any issues.
If your car has been sitting for a while, it’s best to start it up and let it idle for a few minutes before driving it. This will give the coolant time to circulate and reach optimal temperatures.
If you’re driving in cold weather, take it easy at first, and don’t push your car too hard. Again, this will help the coolant do its job properly.
If possible, avoid driving in stop-and-go traffic or in extreme cold weather during this time. Also, keep an eye on your vehicle’s temperature gauge and be prepared to pull over and turn off the engine if it begins to overheat.
Can I Add Coolant to a Hot Engine
No, adding coolant to a hot engine can cause severe damage. Wait until the engine has cooled completely before adding any coolant. It’s best to wait for 30-60 minutes before adding the coolant.
The radiator and other engine components are designed to work with a specific amount of coolant, so adding more can throw off the system’s proportions.
The sudden change of temperature can also damage the engine blocks. Additionally, hot engines create steam, which can lead to severe burns if you add coolant directly to the engine. It’s best to wait until the engine has cooled down before adding any fluids.
Where Do I Put Coolant In My Car?
There are a few different places you can add coolant to your car, depending on the make and model.
Most commonly, the coolant reservoir is located either next to or near the radiator. In some cases, it may be necessary to open the hood of your car in order to locate the reservoir. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on where to find and how to add coolant to your car.
In some older vehicle models, find the radiator and remove the cap. Look for the overflow tank and fill it to the line indicated.
Once you’ve added enough coolant, replace the radiator cap and start the engine. Let it run for a few minutes, then check the levels again and top off if necessary.
Older cars did not require coolant reservoirs. This is because they were fitted with large reservoirs that could hold more coolant.
In addition, such radiators heavy-duty durable thermostats had to regulate engine temperatures and had caps rated for higher pressures.
How Often Should You Add Coolant to Your Car
It’s highly recommended to change coolant after 30,000 miles or every two years. If you notice high and unusual temperatures reading on your car’s thermometer, you’re likely experiencing coolant leaks through a damaged hose or just a leaky gasket.
If you see the coolant level is low, top up some coolant as soon as possible. It is best to check your coolant level at least once a month and more often if you drive in dusty conditions or frequently drive for short distances.
When adding coolant, always use the same type that is already in your car. Mixing different types of coolant can cause corrosion and damage to your engine.
How Much Does It Cost To Change Coolant?
The average cost to change coolant ranges $100 and $200. This includes the price of the coolant itself, as well as the labour required to flush the old coolant and replace it with a new coolant. The precise cost depends on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the location of the service centre.
If you’re on a budget, I would highly recommend doing it yourself, as it’s a pretty straightforward process. You will need to purchase the correct coolant for your car. Overall, changing your coolant should cost between $20 and $30.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.