Q: How do you check the level of coolant in the radiator?

asked by on December 15, 2015

How do you check the level of coolant in the radiator?

In most situations, you shouldn’t have to check the radiator itself. You should be able to inspect the level of coolant in the reservoir/reserve tank instead. However, if the there is no coolant in the reserve tank, you’ll need to check the radiator and top it off if needed. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Park on a level surface.

  2. Wait until the engine has cooled completely. NEVER open the radiator when the engine is hot.

  3. Pull the hood release.

  4. Open the hood and secure it with the prop.

  5. Locate the radiator in the very front of the car.

  6. Touch the radiator very lightly to make sure it’s cool enough. If you can’t touch it continuously for more than 20 seconds, then it’s too hot.

  7. If it is cool, turn the radiator cap counterclockwise to release the pressure in the system.

  8. When the pressure is released, press down and turn the cap counterclockwise.

  9. Remove the cap and set it aside.

  10. Check the level of coolant inside the radiator. It should come to the bottom of the neck. If it is low, top it off.

  11. Replace the radiator cap.

  12. Fill the reservoir with coolant (stop at the maximum line).

Tip

Check your hoses, reservoir and radiator for signs of leaks.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

My car's center console has no power

Hello. If your center console and radio unit is no longer working after the battery is disconnected then it may be possible that a fuse has blown. I would check the vehicle's interior fuse box to see if any of...

My car has only misfired twice but idles perfectly. The Check Engine Light is also on - 2012 Buick Regal

Hi there. From the description you have provided, concerning your vehicle's Check Engine Light and two misfires, it is advisable that you get a second opinion. A timing chain problem would cause your vehicle to have a consistent drivability issue....

Selling Car without Title

I don't believe you can sell the car without the title. You may be able to get assistance from a special power of attorney for the buyer in order to sign the title for you once they receive it. If...

Related articles

The Best Used Cars to Buy If You're Over 50
Shopping Shopping for a car when you’re over the age of 50 begins to shift a bit, as your priorities tend to change. Suddenly it’s not so much about what the vehicle looks like, or how much space it has...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Cadillac CTS
The The 2012 Cadillac CTS comes with high tech features and a large amount of standard equipment when compared to its Japanese and European counterparts. The CTS is available in wagon, coupe, and sedan models to fit the needs of...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Kia Forte
While While Toyota and Honda have reigned supreme in the compact sedan and five-door hatchback classes for years, Kia has been rolling out more and more high-quality models with really attractive features than ever before. While Korean cars are traditionally...