How to Put Coolant in a Car (with Video)by Lindsay MaddoxUpdated July 15, 2023
Part of being a car owner is maintaining it so it continues to run. Whether you're adding coolant as a proactive measure to avoid engine troubles, or you have found your car overheating and the thermostat is high due to lack of adequate coolant, putting fresh coolant in a car coolant tank is a fairly straightforward task for the cooling system. Using safety precautions and the right tools, you'll be able to change the coolant in your car with little effort.
1. Prop your hood
Open your car's hood and prop it safely open. If the engine is still hot, leave the hood open for several hours to allow the engine to cool down before attempting to add coolant. Its important to let your engine cool beforehand.
2. Find the radiator
Examine the hood's contents, paying close attention to the front of the car where you'll find the radiator. Locate the coolant, also called the antifreeze, reservoir and check the engine coolant level. It is usually a white container with a metal or black screw-on lid, located near the radiator. Put on safety goggles and gloves to avoid injury.
3. Unscrew cap counter safely
Use a rag to turn the reservoir cap counter clockwise slowly to unscrew it, allowing air to escape a little at a time. Though you may be tempted to unscrew the coolant cap quickly, resist the urge as the coolant can bubble up and badly burn you.
4. Locate the fill line
Locate the line near the top of the reservoir that indicates the maximum liquid level. Place a funnel inside the reservoir and slowly add coolant until the liquid reaches the fill line.
5. Tighten the cap
Place the cap back on the coolant reservoir and firmly tighten it by turning it clockwise.
6. Close your hood and restart your engine
Close your hood and restart your engine. You have now successfully put coolant in your car. If you still encounter issues with your car overheating, have it checked by a mechanic. It could be your temperature gauge, head gasket, car’s radiator cap or another serious problem.
If you’re having any issues, check the owner’s manual or take it to an automotive shop. You don’t want to mess up your car’s cooling system.
Never use anything like distilled water, ethylene glycol, silicates, or tap water as these contaminants and additives are not the correct coolant or type of coolant your car needs and can cause corrosion in your car’s engine and therefore engine damage and coolant system issues.
Video: How to Check and Add Coolant
Helpful comments from the video:
- We need more videos like this short, simple and direct to the point. I hate watching 12 minute videos with the guy just talking and talking about random shit.
- You're a life saver! Had to put in a new radiator. Filled just the radiator back up with coolant but not the coolant reservoir. Wondered why my heat still wasn't working and car was not over heating but running warmer than normal. Watched this and filled the reservoir and half way to work I felt the heat kick in and the temp dropped. Thank you for the short, quick video explaining that
- All youtubers should learn from how you construct this video. Great Review.🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌
- Refer to your car's owner's manual before attempting to put coolant in it. The manual may have tips for your specific car on how to add coolant.
- Do not attempt to add coolant when the engine is still hot. Wait until it has cooled considerably to avoid injury.
- In a pinch, water can be added to the coolant reservoir during hot months. Avoid adding water in winter months, however, as it will freeze and cause damage.
Things You'll Need
- Safety goggles
- Safety gloves
- Rag or towel
- Heavy-duty funnel
- Coolant (also known as antifreeze)
- Never stand directly over the reservoir when adding coolant, as the liquid may be hot and could cause injury.
- Avoid breathing in the gasses that emit from the coolant reservoir.
- Clean any spilled coolant off of the ground. It is highly toxic and deadly to animals who are likely to consume it.
- Store coolant up high and out of reach of children and pets.
Lindsay Maddox has been writing professionally since 2008. Her pieces appear in Twin Trinity Media publications and on various websites. Most recently, she has been affiliated with Lifetime Network as a member of The Balancing Act blogging community. Maddox holds a Bachelor of Arts in marketing from Western Washington University.