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Basic Car Maintenance Checking Engine Anti Freeze

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Basic Car Maintenance Checking Engine Anti Freeze

Created on: 2015-05-05

1A Auto provides general safety tips and shows you how to check your coolant level properly

  1. step 1 :Checking your Coolant
    • Pull your hood release lever
    • Release the hood safety latch
    • Raise and support the hood
    • Locate your coolant reservoir
    • Identify the coolant level markings
    • Check the coolant level with the engine cold
  2. step 2 :Filling the Coolant
    • Twist off the coolant reservoir cap
    • Add coolant to the level indicated by the markings
    • Twist on the coolant reservoir cap
  3. step 3 :Selecting your Coolant
    • Check your owner's manual to find the coolant for your vehicle
    • To add a small amount of coolant, choose 50/50 prediluted coolant
    • For a full coolant flush, mix full strength concentrate coolant with water
    • For most uses mix full strength concentrate and water in equal parts
    • You may vary the ratio for extreme climates

Tools needed for replacement

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies



Installation Video
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Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. In this video, we're going to really tackle a very basic car care item. This video's going to be geared more towards really the new driver or somebody that doesn't know really anything about their car but is curious to learn.

Checking your coolant is a pretty straightforward process. You pull your hood release level if you have one and then there's usually a safety latch. If you don't know how to do this, consult your owner's manual and it'll show you. On this Jetta, there is a round coolant tank right here and then there's basically a mark at the bottom. You can see the MIN"� as I move that to the side. You can see that there's a red coolant just below that MIN which means minimum and this is pretty typical. You'll either seen a minimum line or a full hot and full cold line. In most cases, on newer vehicles, you check when the vehicle is cold and you can see here it says reference your manual. That's what that little symbol means but we know this vehicle is cold so you can remove the cap. Most of them screw off. Then fill the reservoir, like I said for this case where there's just a small amount you could use water. We'll talk a little bit more about coolant in general and then once you fill it make sure you put the cap on securely.

This is a Chevy truck. Just a little bit of a different look. Open up the hood. Again, for the safety latch, reference your manual, if you don't know this part. You can see the bottle looks a little different. Right there again is the fill cold line. We're going to pause it here for a second. This vehicle he just drove and so it is hot and this is what happens when coolant gets hot. It expands, so that's why the coolant is up above that fill cold line. All manuals and warnings are going to say not to open a reservoir while it's hot and there's very good reason for this. Obviously, your engine coolant heats up anywhere from 160 to 240 degrees or more and that can easily burn you on contact. Also your coolant system is generally under pressure, it should be under pressure, so if you go to open the cap when it's hot it actually could spray the coolant out and obviously more easily burn you.

Now, here's a little bit about coolant. This is typical green coolant used up through the '90s or so. Now you're seeing more red coolant as well as gold coolant and other colors and the reason for this change was that as engines started using more aluminum parts, the red and gold and other coolants were formulated to work better with those engine components as well as formulated for longer life. To figure out what coolant to use, consult your manual for your vehicle. You can see here the Jetta manual has quite a bit about checking as well as what type of fluid to use and the GM truck manual, as well, shows you both how to check it and what type to use.

When you're buying coolant, you'll want to look for either full-strength coolant or 50/50 prediluted. Most likely, if you're just looking to add a little bit of coolant to your vehicle you'll want to go with the 50/50. You can just pour this right in. Boiling point on most coolant is around 260 degrees and freezing point is in the negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit for most 50/50 coolant. The full-strength coolant is if you're doing a flush or something it might be more economical to dilute it yourself. You would just mix 1 part full-strength with 1 part water to get a 50/50 mix or if you use your vehicle in an extreme climate, if you're using your vehicle in the desert or very cold Alaska winters or something like that, you'll want to use more coolant, maybe a 60/40 mixture, 60% coolant, 40% water.

You could even go higher and this allows you to either have a higher boiling point or a lower freezing point. For the most part, a 50/50 mix is going to work for you. In cases where you just need a little bit of fluid you can always just add some tap water, but you do need to be careful. If you find yourself continually adding water, you are both raising the freezing point and lowering the boiling point which can make your coolant less and less effective.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope this video helped you out. Next time you need parts for your car, please visit Also, check out our other helpful how-to, as well as, diagnosis videos.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Water
  • Anti-Freeze

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