Coolant is always an essential liquid to have flowing in your vehicle. It prevents the engine from becoming a block of ice when it is freezing outside. It also prevents overheating during the summertime. Coolant is responsible for raising the boiling point of water to allow it to carry more heat away from the engine. You need to make sure you always have sufficient levels of the substance. You do not need a car code reader for this problem. You just need your eyes and some common knowledge.
Find the Coolant Overflow Tank
To check coolant levels, you just need to pop the hood and inspect the translucent coolant tank located next to the radiator. It is made of white plastic, so you will see how much is still inside. There are also markings to tell you what the optimal levels are. Older vehicles may not have a translucent tank, in which case you will need to use a dipstick.
One good piece of advice is to never lift the cap while the car is still hot. If you have just turned off the vehicle, then you should give it a minute to cool down. Otherwise, you could burn your hand.
Fill If Necessary
Your engine requires a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. You can buy a bottle of this pre-mixed coolant at your local auto parts store. Stop in to this shop the next time you need an AC problem diagnosis, which could include an AC recharge kit. You should also stop in when you run out of coolant. You always want to keep a supply handy in your garage.
Before pouring in the new solution, you should first flush your radiator. This removes any gunk still in the system. It also helps prevent electrolysis, so you do not want to skimp out on this essential maintenance. You may have heard some people say you can simply fill the tank with plain water. This can help you out in a pinch. It is good in emergencies when you are on the side of the road and just need coolant. However, you should refill with coolant once you are safely back home.
Know What Your Coolant Means
Your coolant should ideally look blue, green, red or yellow. In the event it looks rusty or colorless, then you will need to flush the system and add more. You need to be cautious if your coolant has an oily or sludgy appearance. This is a clear sign you need to take your car to a mechanic immediately. The expert will check for an internal head gasket leakage, which can only be done through specialized equipment.
When you inspect the coolant, it is also a good time to examine the radiator hoses. Over time, they become squishy, cracked or bulgy. This is a sign it is time to replace them, too.
Get the Parts You Need
It never hurts to keep a container of coolant around just in case. It can help you out when you are most in need. Contact your local auto parts store to see what they have in stock near you.