How to Check and Add Coolant to a Car

  • Beginner
What You'll Need
A brand of coolant recommended by your vehicle's owner's manual
A reliable brand of antifreeze
A steady supply of clean water
An assortment of rags

Checking and adding coolant to cars is an auto-related task that most people outsource to high-priced mechanics. Fortunately for cost conscious auto enthusiasts, checking and adding coolant to your vehicle is a very simple task that virtually anyone is capable of completing. So if you've been looking to say goodbye to those costly mechanics' bills, simply read on to learn everything you'll need to know about checking and adding your vehicle's coolant.

Step 1 - Prep Your Car for the Process

Before you can check or apply coolant to your vehicle, you'll need to make sure you car is turned off. Carefully pop the car's hood and securely latch the popped hood in place. Remember, when working with automobiles, safety should be high atop your list of priorities. The last thing you want is to have your hood come crashing down on you in the middle of the job. Once you've confirmed that your popped hood is latched firmly in place, you'll be ready to proceed with the next step.

Step 2 - Locate Your Vehicle's Reservoir Tank

Now that you've opened up your car's hood, you'll need to locate your vehicle's plastic reservoir tank, or if you own an older car, your vehicle's radiator cap. Your reservoir tank, which has most likely been labeled, should be located close to your vehicle's radiator and can often be identified by its hose, which conveniently leads directly to your radiator. Upon finding your reservoir tank, gently unfasten its cap and proceed to carefully pour in coolant until your "FULL" line is reached.

Step 3 - Locate Your Vehicle's Radiator Cap

Older vehicles will require you to add coolant directly into your car's radiator, so if you own an old car, be sure that your engine is cool before attempting a coolant application. In other words, wait at least half an hour before unfastening your radiator cap if your engine has recently been turned on. After giving the engine ample time to cool off and popping your hood, you should be able to locate your radiator cap towards the very front of your car's engine. Just to play it safe, use one or more rags to protect your hands when unfastening the cap, as there's no real way of knowing whether or not its cool enough to touch. Once the cap has been properly removed, take a took inside the radiator. If your radiator's coolant levels don't reach the top (just beneath the cap's opening) proceed to add the sufficient amount of coolant.

So there you have it. With the help of this handy guide, you'll never again have to shell out your hard-earned cash to pay a mechanic to perform a task of which you're fully capable.