Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: How do I check the engine coolant?

asked by on

How do I check the engine coolant?

Coolant is just as vital for engine operation as oil. While it’s running, your engine creates a lot of heat. If left unchecked, that heat would eventually destroy the engine itself. Coolant is used to remove heat from the engine and vent it into the atmosphere (by air running over the fins of the radiator). If the coolant level drops in your car, you may notice the temperature gauge moving into the red zone (dangerous). Check your coolant regularly. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Turn off the engine (with the car parked level).

  2. Let the engine cool.

  3. Open the hood.

  4. Locate the coolant reservoir on the passenger side of the car.

  5. Check that the coolant level is between the full hot and the cold fill marks (this works best if the engine is cold, not warm or hot).

Tip

If the coolant is low, you can top it off, but you may have a leak so consider having the system inspected.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Battery or Charging system problem

This may suggest a failing voltage regulator. The voltage regulator is a unit that regulates the charging of the battery by the alternator. When the voltage regulator is not working properly, this may result in the alternator allowing too much...

Q: Vehicle hesitation at 40ish mph, existing exhaust issues, related?

Hi There, What you are describing sounds like you may have a clogged or damaged catalytic converter. The catalytic converter converts toxic exhaust gases into less harmful pollutants that are suitable to be expelled into the atmosphere. When the catalytic...

Q: Over heating coolant not siphoning back into coolant over flow tank

Hey there: It's common for many mechanics to make the mistake of mis-diagnosing the cause of an overheating situation; especially when they assume it's a thermostat issue. The problem could be caused by a blockage in the coolant tubes running...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...