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How Car Stuff Works

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How to Check and Change Your Antifreeze/Coolant

Do you even know why you put Antifreeze/Coolant into your car's radiator? The engine of a car produces high levels of heat when it is running and the fluids flowing through the radiator system help to draw some of the heat away from the engine so it doesn't over heat and in colder weather it prevents the water in the radiator system from freezing.

Antifreeze/Coolant should be used in a 50/50 mix with the water in your radiator to give the optimum boiling or freeze point protection you need for your engine.

A good Antifreeze will help to remove the heat from the engine, while preventing rust build up in the radiator system. It protects water in the radiator system against freezing, and increases the boiling point of the water in the radiator system. Antifreeze/Coolant also keeps the levels of evaporation to a minimum since Antifreeze doesn't evaporate like water does.

It is very easy to check the levels of Antifreeze/Coolant in your engine, and it is something you should do a couple times a year to make sure there are no leaks in your system. Your Antifreeze/Coolant only needs to be changed every two or three years (you will find that information on the container of Antifreeze/Coolant and you should follow the manufacturers recommendations for that.)

If your Antifreeze/Coolant is low consistently after refilling it, it means you may have a leak. The leak could be in the radiator itself, but will most likely be found in one of the hoses or clamps. Have this checked, or check it yourself. If the fluid level in the radiator system is low, or empty your engine will over heat and it could cause damage to your car.

To check the levels of your Antifreeze/Coolant you need only follow the first step of the instructions below. If the level of fluid in your reserve tank is where it should be, your levels are good. If they are not,continue to refill with the instructions below.

To change the Antifreeze/Coolant levels, first buy your preferred brand of Antifreeze/Coolant.

Make sure your car engine is cool. Open the hood of your car and find the coolant reserve container. It is usually a clear plastic tank and if you follow the hoses on your radiator it will connect with the reserve container. It will have lines on it to indicate wether your fluid levels are low or high.

Unscrew the cap to the reserve tank and pour the Antifreeze/Coolant in. You can use a funnel if you need to, so you can avoid spilling. (If your reserve tank is empty you should also add some fluids to the radiator itself.) When you have finished pouring in the correct amount, screw the cap back on.

If your car doesn't have a reserve tank for the Antifreeze/Coolant, pour the fluids directly into your radiator. To check the fluids directly in the radiator, look into it. You should be able to see the fluid.

If you need to pour the fluids directly into the radiator itself, make sure the engine is completely cooled before you unscrew the radiator cap. When the cap is removed, pour a little Antifreeze/Coolant directly into the radiator, being careful not to over flow it.

Make sure you never unscrew the radiator cap on a HOT ENGINE, the fluids and steam could spurt out and burn you. Remember how hot it is in there.

Most Antifreeze/Coolant mixes are toxic so do not leave them laying around, and pay attention to the disposal methods on the container so you can get rid of the packaging correctly. Never put them anywhere a child or a pet could get at them. That could be fatal.







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