Projects The Car Engine Radiator Fluid Check

Skill Level: Easy / DIY 0:10
This service requires a basic level of car knowledge and can be done easily in your garage.
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Checking your Radiator Fluid Level

BEFORE YOU CHECK THE RADIATOR FLUID, LET YOUR CAR COMPLETELY COOL. The fluid pressurizes when its hot and can cause steam to explode out of the reservoir if it isn't fully cool. Seriously, do not open the cap if your engine is not cool.

With the warning out of the way, let's get into how to check on your radiator fluid. Most radiators reservoirs will have a line on the outside so that you can visually check without having to open the cap.

The radiator reservoir line should be easily visible in the engine bay.

If you can see the level is correct, you're good to go until your next inspection. If your levels are low, or if you can't quite see the level on the exterior line, open up the cap and look into the reservoir (AFTER IT'S COMPLETELY COOL).

If the levels are low you will need to fill it with antifreeze. Different vehicles require different antifreezes, so make sure that you pick up one that is correct for your vehicle. Some people will tell you that water is okay, but water will boil quickly and can damage your engine and radiator. I do not recommend it.

Did you know?

The heat from your radiator powers your vehicles heater for your cabin heat. If your radiator goes dry then your heat might not work when you need it! That's also why when your vehicle starts to overheat (especially in the summer) you should turn on your heat full blast if you can't stop your car.


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