Even before you learn how to check coolant levels, you may be wondering, “what is coolant?” Coolant, also called antifreeze, is a liquid that pulls heat away from your car’s engine, regulating the temperature of the engine block and other vital parts. Engine coolant is crucial no matter the make or model and no matter if you have a new or used car. Coolant keeps your engine cool during San Marcos warm weather and prevents it from freezing during San Diego winter months. Learn more about what coolant is, how to check coolant levels, and when to change it in this guide from Mercedes-Benz of Escondido!
To check coolant levels, you don’t have to open the radiator cap; check the markings on the side of the reservoir. If the coolant reaches the “full” mark, you’re okay. If it doesn’t, remove the radiator cap and add the coolant or a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. Check the coolant bottle to see if it’s already premixed. Also, when you add coolant to the cooling system, be sure the engine has cooled off and never open the radiator cap while the engine is hot.
Typically, coolant is thicker than water but thinner than oil. If your coolant appears sludgy, schedule a service appointment immediately. Sludgy coolant indicates your car has an internal gasket leak. Driving around Escondido is possible, but a leaky gasket will drain the coolant quickly, meaning your engine is at risk of overheating and being critically damaged.
Checking on your coolant levels every three to six months is ideal since coolant levels lower over time. Usually, the liquid is blue, green, or yellow; if it appears brown or colorless, flush the system and replace the fluid.
If you have any more questions about how to check coolant levels, or if you need advice on other common car maintenance or service tips, like when to replace a car battery or how to check car oil, don’t hesitate to contact us at Mercedes-Benz of Escondido!