Everything You Need to Know About Checking Your Engine Coolant Level

Engine Coolant Level

Proper car maintenance includes checking your coolant level, which may need to happen more frequently during the summertime. Learning how to check the coolant level can save you time and money, and also help you spot signs of trouble before things get worse. Your local Ford service center is here to help you understand summer car care, so that you and your vehicle survive the seasonal heat.

Without the proper coolant level to absorb an adequate amount of heat, your engine can quickly destroy itself. The engine coolant plays a vital role in absorbing heat from the engine and dissipating it with the help of your radiator and engine fans. The cooling system is pressurized when the engine is running, and it needs to remain at a particular level in order to function properly.

Let the Engine Cool Down

Only check the coolant level once the engine has cooled down. Higher temperatures mean higher pressures, and opening the system while it is hot could cause hot coolant to spray everywhere. After running the engine allow it to sit for at least 15-20 minutes before opening the radiator cap or the reservoir.

Checking the Coolant Level

The coolant reservoir tank is the fist place to check for a proper engine coolant level. This will be a clear or white tank located at the top of the engine bay. The tank will be marked with a “Full” line or indicator, and the coolant should be at this level.

Secondly, you may also want to check the coolant level in the radiator. While it is not see-through, you should be able to see coolant when you open up the radiator cap. The radiator should remain full of coolant at all times, which means it will be full to the cap. DO NOT open the radiator cap if it is warm to the touch.

Adding Coolant

If the coolant reservoir tank is low, you will want to top it off directly. If the radiator is low on coolant, you will want to add coolant to the radiator directly. Once the coolant in both has been topped off, you will want to start the engine and cycle the new coolant through the system. Let the engine run for a 1-2 minutes, or go for a short drive.

Warning Signs

Consistently having low coolant could be a warning sign of a more serious leak. Exterior leaks from cracks in the radiator or a hose should be visible if the leak is severe enough to cause major issues. Coolant can also leak inside of the engine through a bad head gasket. If an interior leak is severe enough, you may notice white steam/smoke coming from your exhaust.

The Thermometer

Your vehicle is equipped with an engine temperature sensor which translates to the temperature gauge on your dashboard. This thermometer is designed to read coolant as it flows through the engine. If the coolant in the system is low, this sensor may not be submerged in coolant. If the sensor is only reading air temperature, it will not present you an accurate temperature on the gauge on your dashboard. In other words, you may not even know that your engine is overheating when you have extremely low coolant levels.

Schedule a Cooling System Checkup Today

If you suspect there is an issue with your vehicle’s cooling system, the service experts at your local Ford Dealers in Southern California are happy to help. Call or go online today to schedule a service appointment. We are happy to help with all makes and models