What Engine Coolant (or Antifreeze) Do I Need?


Engine coolant is essential to your car.  It makes sure the engine doesn’t freeze up when the weather’s cold, and it prevents the engine from blowing up when it’s hot.  Thankfully, coolant mostly takes care of itself.  There may, however, come a time when you need to add some yourself.

How Will I Know?

If your car seems to be overheating, you may be low on coolant.  Otherwise many cars will actually tell you to check the coolant levels.

If either of these happen, check your coolant levels immediately!

What Can Happen?

If you run low on coolant (or out of coolant), your engine will overheat very quickly and die.  Chances are you will crack a head gasket which is very expensive to repair.

What’s the Difference Between Coolant and Antifreeze?

The two terms tend to be used interchangeably.  When you put coolant in your car, it needs to be a mix of 50% antifreeze and 50% water.  Some will say that coolant is the 50/50 mixture while antifreeze is the concentrated liquid by itself.

Just make sure that whatever you end up putting in your engine is a 50/50 mixture.  It will say on the container whether it’s straight antifreeze or a mix.

What Kind of Coolant Do I Need?

There are a few different types of coolant which are usually distinguished by their colors.  Most people are a green or possibly an orange.  There could however be yellow, blue, and red.  While some coolants claim to be “universal” and say that they can be mixed with any color, it is strongly recommended that you stick with whatever color is currently in your engine.

You should be able to find the recommended type of coolant by looking at either the owner’s manual or checking the cap on your coolant tank under the hood.  It wouldn’t hurt to pinpoint the actual color that is currently in there.  If you can’t tell, contact a professional for help.

How Do I Fill It?

Before pouring in any coolant, make sure the car is level and that the engine has cooled down!

Depending on your vehicle’s set up, you will either be pouring it into the radiator or a coolant tank.  You should be able to find this using the owner’s manual or simply by looking at the engine and reading the cap lids.

On the side of the container there should be a fill line of some sort.  Fill the coolant to that level.  Once you’re done, put the cap back on and start the car.   Let it run for just a minute or so, shut it off, and check the coolant level again.

Add additional coolant if necessary.  Otherwise, you’re done!

Be Careful!

If you’re coolant is low, there is a very good chance that you have a coolant leak.  A coolant leak can be a sign of a much more serious problem.  Even if it’s not, you’ll want to get that leak fixed immediately.

We’d be more than happy to help you with any coolant needs, whether it’s a minor fix or a major one.  Just stop on by Dokmo Auto Repair Northfield, MN, and we’ll make sure your engine is in top form.

Posted in Car Tips, dokmo community.

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