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Know-how: Checking engine coolant

How to check engine coolant and top it up.

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Video transcript:

Lift bonnet

Explanation that the system is sealed/pressurised so it shouldn’t need to be to be topped up

Only check the level when the engine is cold

If you have used the car allow a few hours for it to cool down

Identify the expansion tank, the position in the engine bay will vary from car to car

If you’re unsure refer to the handbook

The tank has a ‘min’ and ‘max’ mark on the outside and the tank is made of a see through plastic so you can look from the outside to check the level

The level should be checked weekly although as the system is sealed there is a tendency to forget to do it. However, it is better to identify any change before it becomes a more serious problem and the car overheats

Should you need to top up, make sure you use the correct coolant and mix refer to manufacturers specification. Only top up when the engine is cold. Again if you are unsure check with the handbook

Gently remove the cap (the system may be pressurised), mix the coolant in a suitable container and top up to the ‘max’ mark

Don’t over fill as there must be room for the coolant to expand

Refit the cap

Recap – only do this when the engine is cold, use the correct coolant and in an emergency, water would be better than nothing