Shop For Quality Coolant And Repair Parts
Now that you know how to check antifreeze, its time to pick up quality antifreeze. For the best brands and competitive pricing, stop by your local AutoZone today. Discuss any coolant issues with knowledgeable staff to determine the best course of action and find a comprehensive solution to restore your vehicles performance.
Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on;AutoZone.com;and AutoZone Advice & How-Tos are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZones knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.
FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.
Driving With An Antifreeze Leak
How long can you drive with an antifreeze leak? We recommend getting it fixed as soon as possible. Cooling system problems don’t get better by themselves and can deteriorate fast. You don’t want to be stranded by the side of the road because you ignored the early signs of an antifreeze leak.
If you’re the kind that pushes their luck and you have a a minor coolant leak and it’s summer, you can likely drive for a few days by topping off the cooling system with water whenever it gets low. It’s always best, however, to refill a cooling system with the proper mix of antifreeze and water in a 50-50 ratio, especially in winter. Plain water sitting in an engine on a freezing winter night turns to ice and expands. That expansion could easily burst the radiator, split cooling system hoses, and even crack the engine block or a cylinder headwhich would destroy your engine. Antifreeze lowers the freezing point of the coolant to somewhere around minus 35 degrees F to keep any damage from happening. Again, it’s far better to get your car looked at as soon as possible to prevent more serious and expensive engine damage.
Lastly, different cars require different types of antifreeze. There are three main types of antifreeze: older-style ethylene glycol ; propylene glycol ; and the newest hybrid organic acid technology . The different types can’t be mixed. Refer to your owner’s manual or consult the dealer for the correct replacement type.
What Is Engine Coolant
Engine coolant is a water-based liquid which keeps your cars engine from overheating by regulating the temperature.
Running your engine produces a great deal of energy which is converted into either power to move the vehicle forward or heat.
While some of the heat energy is expelled via the exhaust, the remaining heat energy stays inside the engine.
Coolant flows through passages in the engine and absorbs this heat. It is then transferred to the cars radiator where it is cooled down by air flow as the car moves.
If the vehicle is stationary, a fan will maintain the airflow to reduce the coolants temperature.
The coolant itself is a mixture of ethylene or propylene glycol and water, usually in a 50/50 ratio.
You May Like: What Happens If You Damage A Rental Car
When Should I Check My Coolant Levels
Aside from ensuring that you only check your coolant level when your engine is cold, it’s good to know how often you should check them out as well. Even if you’re not noticing the symptoms of having low coolant, its always a good idea to check it out probably twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to check your coolant levels before the coolest and the warmest times of year,; so give your coolant to look at the beginning of winter and at the beginning of summer. Your vehicle manufacturer may have a different schedule however, so it never hurts to check with your owner’s manual and find out if they recommend something different.
Often manufacturers will recommend that you replace your coolant every 30,000 miles or so but again, you want to check with your vehicle manufacturer to make sure. It also depends on the kind of coolant that you’re using in your vehicle. Not all antifreezes are made the same and orange antifreeze, for instance, is meant to endure a little more than traditional green antifreeze is.
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Coolant Levels
Aside from routine checks of your coolant levels there are some signs that you can be on the lookout for that will let you know that you might be running low on coolant and you’ll need to get your levels topped up. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, give your coolant level a look to see how things are.
Don’t Miss: How Long Do Car Batteries Last
How Long Does It Take For A Radiator To Cool Down
This depends on how long youve been driving for and at what kind of speed. If youve only popped out on a short drive in town, the radiator wont be all that hot at all, and should cool down within 20 to 30 minutes.
However, if youve been gunning it on the motorway, you can expect to wait around an hour for the radiator to cool down enough for it to be safe to handle. Obviously, these times will differ depending on the temperature outside, with radiators taking longer to cool in summer than winter.
If you need to replace your coolant completely, you can also use Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze for this. Read how to here.
All our products are tested in extremes to ensure they work for you every day. To find out more about Prestone, visit our homepage.
Pull Over And Pop The Bonnet
Sometimes the best thing to do when you notice a change in the temperature gauge is to pull over and wait for things to cool off. Driving with a hot engine can do more harm than good, so wed always recommend allowing things to cool down before checking the coolant/antifreeze reservoir. If its empty, there could be a leak, and youll have to top it up to continue your journey.
Don’t Miss: What Size Rims Fit My Car
How To Check Battery Fluid Level
- You can expect most car batteries to last between three and five years, but you can extend that lifespan even further with proper maintenance, including regularly checking the battery fluid level.
- Locate your car batterys condition indicator on the top of the battery. The colour illuminated in the indicator window can be read as follows:Green/blue: GoodRed: Add distilled waterWhite: Battery needs charging. Heres how to charge a dead car battery.
- If the indicator reads red , pour distilled water into the battery a little at a time until the level reaches the top of the battery grids. Do NOT use filtered or tap water. Do NOT overfill.
- Note: Its not always possible to add distilled water, as some maintenance-free batteries are sealed.
How To Check Battery Water Level
Your vehicle uses the battery to store and produce electricity to operate the different electrical systems. The water, or electrolyte, inside the battery helps in the electrochemical reaction to store this energy in the battery plates. Thus, as part of your car battery maintenance schedule, you should check the battery water level periodically to ensure proper battery operation and engine performance. You can check the battery without special tools and, if necessary, bring the water to the correct level in a few minutes at home.
Prepare a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda and about eight ounces of warm water using a foam cup.
Open the hood of your car and put on a pair of latex gloves and safety glasses to keep battery acid off your hands and eyes during the inspection procedure.
Apply the solution to the top of the battery with a soft brush to remove dust, grease and acid residue. Wipe clean the battery with a paper towel. Cleaning the battery will prevent contamination of the water inside the battery during inspection and neutralize any acid residue.
Pry off the vent caps from the top of the battery with a standard screwdriver and carefully wipe clean any dirt around the battery filler holes with a clean paper towel.
Add distilled water to every cell or battery filler hole to cover the top of the battery plates and separators, or to bring the level up to the bottom of the fill rings, if necessary.
Read Also: Where Is The Car Show This Weekend
Diagnosing A Failed Water Pump Can Be Tricky
Diagnosing a water pump failure is one of those dreadful repair tasks most car drivers don’t like to find themselves in.
First, taking your car to the shop isn’t going to be cheap, and trying to find out on your own if your water pump has failed isn’t much fun either. And that’s because potential clues can lead you astray. You start replacing components that don’t fix anything.
However, your real problem here is that applying the wrong fixes can get real expensive pretty soon. And dangerous.
Give it a chance, and a bad water pump will overheat and destroy your engine in no time.
But things don’t have to get to that point. A failed water pump will give you specific clues that something is amiss, if you know how to look for them.
This guide outlines, in a step-by-step way, three different but related methods you can use now to help you check and confirm that your water pump in your car has failed. Most of the time you won’t need any tools unless you must remove components to gain access to your pump. Sometimes, though, a special tool will prove valuable in certain situations , but often it is not needed.
Before getting into the steps, let’s take a look at the configuration and operation of a common car water pump. This will help in diagnosing yours.
What If Your Water Pump Is OK but The Engine Still Overheats?
Top 5 Tips to Increase Water Pump Service Life
How To Check Water Level In The Battery
Here are few things you need top know about checking the water levels in your car:
- First you have to locate the battery. There e are batteries that are located near the engine compartment and is behind the front bumper of the wheels of the car. The highly expensive cars have the battery that is located in the trunk that is the isolated compartment.
- Before you check the levels of water you need to clean all the dirt from the top of the battery. It is very important to do so because you need to take care that nothing can enter in your battery cells when you will open them.
- You can clean the outer part of the battery with the paste of baking soda and water. In order to clean properly then you simply take out the battery from the car and then clean the battery. This is the safest way to have the best type of cleaning of your battery. After the cleaning you can install back the battery at its place.
- After the cleaning is finished then you are free to open the ports of the battery. It is simple to remove the battery ports by screw driver or plastic putty knife. There are many batteries that have caps that can be removed by twisting the cap.
- You need to look down into the ports and see the levels. If you are having unequal levels then it is time to bring the level equal.
Also Check: What Kind Of Car Did Columbo Drive
What To Do If My Car Overheats
Nothing is more nerve-wracking as a driver than seeing steam billowing from beneath the bonnet, especially when youre sat in traffic. But what exactly should you do when the temperature gauge starts to climb towards the red, indicating that the engine is overheating?
These five tips offer guidance on what to do when your car starts overheating while youre driving.
Where Is The Water Coming From
A wet carpet is not the only sign of water leaking in a car. If you have an idea of where the water is getting into the car, check for water marks, stains, or even signs of rust. Take a close look at connectors for corrosion and check brackets for rust spots; you will be amazed what you will find when you look for it.
I have always said, “Mechanics’ best tools are not found in their toolbox, they are found in their heads.” Water leaks are hard to pinpoint, but once you find exactly where the water is coming in, you can access the problem spot and repair it.
Recommended Reading: How Soon Can You Refinance Your Car
How To Check Brake Fluid
- Your vehicles owners manual will indicate how often its necessary to check brake fluid.
- Locate the brake fluid reservoir. Note: In some older vehicles, the brake fluid can only be checked in the master cylindera lidded metal box.
- Before removing the brake fluid reservoir cap, use an approved aerosol cleaner to remove any particles of dirt around the cap.
- Remove the cap and check the brake fluid level on the dipstick attached to the caps underside. If the dipstick indicates the level is low, have your vehicle serviced by an automotive professional as soon as possible.
Cleaning The Battery And Opening The Ports
Don’t Miss: What Is The Safest Car For Teenage Drivers
What To Do Once Youve Found The Leak
There’s not much point in drying out the car until you identify and stop or at least lessen the leak. Once you do though, you really need to dry out the inside;of the car thoroughly because a damp car will go moldy very quickly. Even if it looks clean, there could be mold in the carpet or doors, and;you could find yourself driving a car that smells like a compost pile.
So once you’ve found and fixed the leak – if it’s wet and you can remove it, remove it. The seats, carpets and door panels are not particularly hard to remove and put in the sun to dry. Mop up as much liquid as you can with something very absorbent, like kitchen paper towels.
When you’ve got it as dry as you can, either use a plug-in dehumidifier or a plastic tub full of desiccant left in the car with all the windows closed for 24 hours.;Some people also swear by leaving a tray of cat litter in the car too!
It may take time to dry the car completely, so whenever you drive the car have the heater on and windows opened slightly to aid ventilation.;;
Ii Testing A Bad Water Pump
When testing for a bad water pump becomes difficult, you can divide your diagnostic into three simple procedures that give you a better chance of revealing the fault and the type of failure you are facing.
The advantage with this approach is that your diagnostic can make it easier to tell whether other components played a role in your water pump failure, which you must correct before installing a new pump.
So first, we’ll check the operation of your water pump, followed by a diagnostic of the bearing, and signs of a potential water pump seal failure. You can combine one or more of these methods until you can verify the failure and possibly pinpoint the cause.
You May Like: How To Connect A Car Amp To A Wall Plug
Topping Up And Checking Up
It doesn’t matter which order the water and antifreeze are added, since they will combine when the engine next starts. What does matter is that the water is distilled or bottled, since tap water often contains minerals or suspended particles that can damage engine components and clog up the radiator pipes over time.
Pour in equal amounts of water and antifreeze using a funnel to avoid spillages. Antifreeze is highly poisonous to animals, so dont let any spill on the ground where it may be walked on or ingested by pets. Ensure the liquid level is closer to the max mark on the reservoir than the min, and then firmly hand-tighten the radiator cap.
Finally, start the engine and leave it to idle for 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the temperature gauge it should settle midway up the dial, letting you know that radiator levels are sufficient to cool the cars engine.