How to Add Coolant to Your Car [7 Easy Steps]

By Jed Lehman •  Updated: 01/30/24 •  7 min read

Coolant is an important fluid that helps regulate the temperature of your car’s engine. If the coolant level in your car is low, it can cause the engine to overheat and potentially sustain serious damage. Regularly checking the coolant level and topping it off as necessary is crucial to the health of your vehicle.

Coolant is also commonly referred to as antifreeze. Antifreeze is a liquid that is added to the coolant system of a car to lower the freezing point of the water in the system. This helps to prevent the coolant from freezing in cold weather and damaging the engine. In addition to its ability to prevent freezing, antifreeze also helps to raise the boiling point of the coolant, which helps to prevent the engine from overheating. The term “antifreeze” is often used interchangeably with “coolant,” as the main function of both is to regulate the temperature of the engine.

In this article, we will walk you through the steps of how to add coolant to your car.

How to Add Coolant to Your Car

Different types of Coolant Properties Commonly Used in Cars

Coolant TypeCompositionFreeze Point (°C)Boiling Point (°C)Specific Heat (J/g°C)Thermal Conductivity (W/m°C)
Ethylene Glycol30-60% ethylene glycol, 40-70% water, additives-12 to -45106-1902.40.23
Propylene Glycol30-50% propylene glycol, 50-70% water, additives-30 to -35188-1982.50.25
Glycerin30-50% glycerin, 50-70% water, additives-36 to -37290-2902.430.27
Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT)Organic acid, silicates, and phosphate additives-26 to -40108-132
Phosphate-Free Organic Acid Technology (P-OAT)Organic acid, no silicates or phosphates-26 to -37108-132

Please note that the actual properties may vary depending on the specific formulation and brand of coolant. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your vehicle.

Car BrandRecommended Coolant Type
ToyotaToyota Super Long Life Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
HondaHonda Long Life Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
FordMotorcraft Premium Gold Engine Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
ChevroletACDelco DEX-COOL Extended Life Antifreeze/Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
BMWBMW Coolant/Antifreeze (ethylene glycol-based)
Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz Genuine Coolant/Antifreeze (ethylene glycol-based)
VolkswagenVolkswagen G13 Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
SubaruSubaru Super Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)
AudiAudi Coolant/Antifreeze (ethylene glycol-based)
NissanNissan Long Life Antifreeze/Coolant (ethylene glycol-based)

Please note that while these are commonly recommended coolant types for the respective car brands, it’s essential to verify the specific coolant type recommended for your vehicle model and year, as requirements may vary. Always refer to your car’s owner’s manual or consult with a certified mechanic for the most accurate information.

Step 1: Locate the Coolant Reservoir

The first step in adding coolant to your car is to locate the coolant reservoir. The coolant reservoir is typically a plastic tank that is located near the radiator. It is usually marked with a “MAX” and “MIN” line to indicate the maximum and minimum level of coolant that should be in the reservoir.

Step 2: Check the Coolant Level

Before you add any coolant, you should check the current level to see if it is low. To do this, simply look at the side of the coolant reservoir and see if the coolant is at or below the “MIN” line. If it is, you will need to add more coolant. If it is above the “MAX” line, you do not need to add any coolant.

Step 3: Determine the Type of Coolant to Use

It is important to use the correct type of coolant in your car. Using the wrong type of coolant can cause damage to your car’s engine. Most car manufacturers recommend the use of a specific type of coolant, which can usually be found in the owner’s manual. If you are unsure of the type of coolant to use, you can consult a mechanic or check the information on the side of the coolant reservoir.

Once you have determined the correct type of antifreeze or coolant to use, you can search for it on Amazon or a similar online retailer. Some popular brands of antifreeze or coolant include Prestone, Zerex, and Peak. Be sure to read the product descriptions and reviews carefully to ensure that you are getting a high-quality product that is compatible with your car.

Step 4: Prepare to Add the Coolant

Before you add the coolant, you should make sure you have everything you need. This includes a container of coolant, a funnel, and a clean cloth. You may also want to have some gloves and safety glasses on hand to protect yourself in case of spills.

Step 5: Add the Coolant

Once you have everything you need, you can begin adding the coolant to the car. First, put on the gloves and safety glasses. Then, open the coolant reservoir by removing the cap. If the cap is hot, use a clean cloth to protect your hands.

Next, place the funnel into the opening of the coolant reservoir and slowly pour the coolant into the reservoir. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the amount of coolant to add. You may need to add a mixture of coolant and water, depending on the type of coolant you are using.

Once you have added the appropriate amount of coolant, replace the cap on the coolant reservoir and tighten it securely.

Step 6: Check for Leaks

After you have added the coolant, it is important to check for any leaks. Look around the coolant reservoir and radiator for any signs of coolant on the ground. If you see any coolant leaking, you will need to have it repaired as soon as possible.

Step 7: Test the Coolant Level

Finally, you should test the coolant level to make sure it is at the proper level. Simply open the coolant reservoir and check the level again. If it is still below the “MIN” line, add more coolant until it reaches the proper level.

Be sure not to overfill the coolant reservoir as this can cause issues with the engine.

Once the coolant level is at the proper level, replace the cap on the coolant reservoir and tighten it securely. You can then start your car and let it run for a few minutes to ensure that the coolant is flowing properly through the engine.

If everything seems to be working properly, you can close the hood and you are done.

Did You Know?

Coolant isn’t just for preventing overheating – it also plays a crucial role in protecting your engine from freezing during cold weather! That’s why it’s important to maintain the right coolant-to-water ratio in your car’s cooling system to ensure optimal performance in all seasons.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, adding coolant to your car is an important task that helps ensure the proper functioning of your vehicle’s engine. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily add coolant to your car yourself. It is important to use the correct type of coolant, check for leaks after adding it, and make sure the coolant level is at the proper level. By properly maintaining the coolant in your car, you can help prevent costly engine damage and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

Jed Lehman

Jed Lehman is a born gearhead who has been working on cars since he could crawl. He inherited his love for auto from his grandfather who owned a maintenance shop in Carlsbad, California. Jed is the driver behind Gearshift, and started this site to provide straightforward, helpful automobile information. From maintenance tips to product reviews, you can find it all here.