The Automotive industry is almost as old as time because every other day, there is an influx of new automotive brands or new models of older brands. In several ways, this has made the technology behind automobiles fascinating.

Owning a car is equally exciting because movement becomes very easy, and you get to say, “I own a car.” However, owning a vehicle comes with a lot of responsibility. It is okay to be excited and revel in the luxury of owning a car. However, it is also essential that you are prepared for the responsibilities that come with it; as the saying goes, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”

The first and most important responsibility of owning a car is routine maintenance. Routine maintenance can occur twice every three months. Your vehicle does not need to experience any fault to be maintained. Scheduling regular maintenance makes you proactive. It is done to reduce the likelihood of damage that would require repair.

During routine maintenance, one of the things that the mechanics check is the fluids. Your car requires different essential fluids, including water, to function correctly. One of such fluids is the car engine coolant.

In this article, you will learn all about coolants, their uses, and how you can add coolants to your car without the help of a mechanic.

Images courtesy of Campbell

What is a car engine coolant?

Car engine coolants are also called antifreeze. As a car owner, you must have experienced an overheated engine as you drive your car. Overheated engines happen for several reasons, and insufficient engine coolant is one of the reasons. Engine coolants are usually light yellow or green. It is a mixture of ethylene glycol, which functions to absorb the heat generated by the engine in your car. For your vehicle’s engine to be in perfect conditions, it must always be at optimum temperature, and the engine helps it achieve that.

Coolants are stored in the reservoir found on the radiator, which is a part of the cooling system. The cooling system is responsible for transporting the coolant through water hoses and pipes found around the engine to maintain and regulate its temperature.

When your engine’s temperature increases, pressure is released, and your radiator’s spring cap expands. This expansion gives enough space for the coolant to escape out of the reservoir into the cooling system and circulate the engine.

After the cooling system circulates the coolant around the engine, the heat generated from the engine is converted into gas and transported back to the radiator, which converts the gas to liquid. The residual gases are sent through the radiator and expended through the exhaust pipes at the end of this process.

Images courtesy of ‎Zerex

How to add coolant to your car

You do not need to pay anyone to refill the coolant in your car engine. Immediately you notice that your engine is constantly overheating, check the coolant reservoir. If the level is low, follow the steps below to add coolant to your car engine.

  • Prepare the mixture: While most coolants are already well-prepared with equal quantities of water and antifreeze, others are not. That is why you must read the label of any coolant product you buy. If the product is not mixed, you will have to mix it yourself. Preparing your coolant mixture is very easy. The mixture must be prepared with an equal volume of water and antifreeze (1:1). Also, to make it easier, you can ask for coolant recommendations from your mechanic.
  • Lower the temperature of your engine: The best time to add coolant to your car is in the morning before you start driving for the day. However, if your engine overheats on the road and you decide to add coolant, you will have to wait for the engine to cool down before you add the coolant. Adding coolant to the engine when it’s still hot is dangerous because the reservoir cap would still be hot and covering boiling fluids that can splash on you and cause burns.
  • Locate the coolant reservoir: The coolant reservoir is found on the radiator. The cap of the reservoir usually comes in sharp colours like yellow, red, blue, or green to be easily located.
  • Check the coolant level: this step is crucial because too much coolant in the coolant reservoir is unsuitable. So, check the coolant level before refilling the reservoir. The maximum and minimum levels of coolant required for your car are inscribed on the body of the reservoir. As you refill, ensure that you don’t exceed the maximum level.
  • Gently take off the coolant reservoir cap: Emphasis on “gently” because you do not want to damage the lid of the coolant. If the lid becomes damaged, the coolant in your engine will quickly dry up and cause damage.
  • Add the coolant mixture: Using a clean funnel, carefully pour the coolant mixture into the reservoir to avoid spills and waste. As you pour, remember to check the levels so that you don’t exceed the maximum quantity.
  • Test run: Cover the reservoir and wait for a few minutes before you test run your car. Switch the ignition and allow your engine to run for a few minutes to check for leaks or overheating. If you don’t observe anything unusual, your car is ready to be driven.
Images courtesy of ‎Jakub Sisulak


The coolant is an integral part of your vehicle, and that is why you need to read this article. After reading this guide, adding coolants to your car will become easy. Also, remember never to try refilling the coolant reservoir when your vehicle is still hot to avoid accidents.

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Pavlo Prannyk
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