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How to check antifreeze level

Date: Fri 30th November 2018   |   Author: L Blake

How to check antifreeze level

Checking your car’s fluids is an essential part of regular maintenance, especially when faced with drastic weather changes. As temperatures begin to drop, it is important to keep your antifreeze levels topped up. Read on to find out how to check and how to top up antifreeze levels.

What is antifreeze?

Engine coolant, often known as antifreeze, is a coloured liquid which, when mixed with water, helps to regulate your engine during extreme temperature changes. For example, as we transition from summer to winter and the weather changes from hot to cold, antifreeze is pumped through the engine block in order to maintain an even operating temperature. Antifreeze has many other functions too, not just in winter but year-round, such as, preventing scale build-up and corrosion.

Which antifreeze should you use?

Just like other car fluids, there are lots of different types of antifreeze and the kind of antifreeze you need will depend on your vehicle’s make and model. There is no single antifreeze which is compatible for every vehicle. You may wish to use the antifreeze recommended by your car provider or check your vehicle handbook for more details. If you do not have your vehicle handbook, you could try the Halford’s Online Checker Tool.

One of the main differences in antifreeze is whether it is ready to use or whether it will need mixing beforehand. Using a ready mixed formula is an easy and convenient way of keeping your coolant levels topped up as it can be added directly from the bottle, whereas a concentrated alternative will need to be mixed with water before being used. The dilution ratio of product to water should be clearly labeled on the packaging. Most labels will recommend a 50/50 measurement but during colder months, experts recommend a 70/30 ratio of antifreeze to water.

How to check antifreeze level

  • First of all, you will need to identify the expansion tank (otherwise known as the coolant reservoir). This is located beneath the bonnet of your car and will sometimes display a frost symbol. If you can’t locate the coolant filler cap, check your vehicle handbook for more information or speak to your local garage.
  • Check your antifreeze level – it should be between the minimum and maximum lines marked on the side of the expansion tank. If the level is more towards the minimum mark, it will need topping up.

How to top up antifreeze level

  • Before topping up your antifreeze, be sure to inspect any hoses around the expansion tank for any damage, leaks or white staining. These are signs of potential future problems which can be cheaper to fix if noticed early!
  • When it comes to topping up your antifreeze, you need to be sure that the engine is cold. Do not touch or remove the filler cap if the engine isn’t cold. This could result in the sudden release of pressurised hot water which could scald.
  • Once you have removed the filler cap, take a funnel and place this over the tank. You will need to make sure the funnel is secure to prevent any spillages. Then simply pour the antifreeze through the funnel and into the tank. Keep an eye on the tank’s markings to ensure that you don’t overfill it.
  • Then simply remove the funnel and replace the filler cap, making sure that it is secure and tightly fastened (you may hear a click).

We hope you found this article on how to check antifreeze levels very helpful. For more car maintenance tips and other interesting articles, visit the AutoProtect engage page.