Let’s face it, repairs on your car are inevitable. Whether you have a new car or an old one, at some point, it will need fixing. When this happens, there are some things you can do to make things easier on yourself and others that you should avoid so as not to make things worse. If you find yourself with no coolant accessible from either the reservoir tank or the expansion tank, then adding it directly into the radiator through its fill cap may be your only option. Here’s everything you need to know about adding coolant directly to the radiator:
Can I Add Coolant Straight To The Radiator?
Yes, you can add coolant straight to the radiator. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific vehicle, but generally, you should fill the reservoir with coolant and then add it to the radiator. Be sure to always check and ensure that there is enough coolant in the system before topping off the rad with new coolant.
What Is The Purpose Of Adding Coolant?
- The purpose of adding coolant to your car’s radiator is to reduce its temperature and make it less likely to overheat. When your car gets hot, the coolant inside it boils and turns into steam. This steam then needs to be released from the radiator so that you don’t get a buildup of pressure that could be harmful to your car.
- In order for this process to work, the radiator has to be filled with a special kind of liquid. This is what coolant is: a chemical solution that is designed to keep your engine cool by circulating it through the radiator and out again. Most modern cars use a type of coolant called antifreeze as a base for their coolant solution, containing ethylene glycol as the active chemical agent.
- Adding coolant directly to your radiator is a very important step in the recovery process when you have no other options. This can help prevent further damage to your car’s cooling system and help it recover from a failure. By adding coolant straight to the radiator, it will be able to remove any hot air trapped in the system and allow it to circulate freely, thus reducing the risk of overheating or even causing damage.
When Should You Add Coolant To Your Radiator?
- There are quite a few signs that you might need to add coolant to your radiator. If you notice that your engine overheating, overheating, or smoke coming from under the hood of your car, then there’s a good chance that the radiator is the cause.
- If you notice a leak coming from the radiator, a low or empty coolant level in the reservoir, or if you have to turn your heater on high even when it’s not cold, you may need to add coolant.
- Depending on your car, you may also be able to tell whether you need to add coolant to your radiator by checking the coolant level in the reservoir.
- If the coolant is low, add some through the radiator cap. It’s important to recognize the signs of a low coolant level so that you can fix the problem before it gets worse.
- If you wait too long, you risk causing serious damage to your engine. The sooner you repair the leak, the better. If you wait too long, the leak can get bigger and cause more damage.
How To Add Coolant To Your Radiator?
1. Check the level of your coolant first
Before you add anything to your radiator, you should first check the level of your coolant. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or on a sticker somewhere in your engine bay. If you don’t have either of those, you can remove one of the hoses connected to your radiator and see how much coolant is inside. If you’ve used up all the coolant in your radiator and don’t have any spares on hand, you need to replace it before you can add anything else. Make sure you have the right level of coolant for your car; some models require you to use a special coolant. Also, check your coolant’s expiry date. Coolant doesn’t last forever.
2. Add radiator sealant
If you fear your car’s radiator has a leak, you can try adding radiator sealant. This substance is designed to plug holes in the radiator and hopefully buy you some time to get to a shop for repairs. You can find radiator sealant at most auto parts shops, online retailers, and even at some gas stations. Be sure to follow the instructions for how to add coolant to your radiator with radiator sealant. For example, you may need to plug off the radiator’s cap so the sealant can flow through the system. The main advantage of radiator sealant is that it’s quick and easy to use. A significant disadvantage of radiator sealant is that it can only plug leaks; it can’t replace any coolant that’s been lost. If you have a leak and you use radiator sealant, you’ll have to keep using it until you get your radiator repaired.
3. Use distilled water
If you only need to add a little coolant to your radiator, you can use distilled water to do so. This will also help you get an idea of how much coolant you need, as well as spot any leaks in your system. Simply fill up a jug with distilled water and pour it directly into your radiator until it flows out the other end. Let the water run out, then check your coolant level again. If your coolant is still too low, you know exactly how much more you need to add. You can also use distilled water to flush out your radiator and engine. The main advantage of using distilled water to add coolant to your radiator is that it’s cheap and easy to find. The main disadvantage is the water will quickly evaporate, so you’ll need to add more coolant sooner than if you had used a traditional coolant. Another disadvantage is that you can’t tell how much coolant you’ve added, as you can with traditional coolant.
4. Add engine oil
If you’re completely out of coolant, you can still add something to your radiator. You can use whatever oil is in your engine, like 10W-30 for a Chevy and 5W-30 for a Ford. This will plug any leaks in your radiator and give you enough time to get to a shop for repairs. You can also add automatic transmission fluid (ATF) or gear oil. Although these substances are thinner than oil, they’re designed to flow through your engine and radiators when it’s warm. The main advantage of using engine oil to add coolant to your radiator is that it’s easy and quick. The disadvantage is that it will thicken as it cools and may clog up your radiator. Since oil and coolant are different, you also run the risk of damaging your car’s engine if you add too much oil.
5. Add more coolant
If you’re completely out of coolant, you may find yourself in a tough situation. You can’t use oil or anything else to plug the leaks and you don’t have enough coolant to drive to a shop for repairs. Still, you can add more coolant to your radiator, even if you don’t have enough for a full replacement. Pour whatever coolant you have left in a jug, then pour it directly into your radiator until it flows out the other end. Let the coolant run out, then check your levels again. Next, drive to the nearest auto parts store and replace your radiator. The main advantage of adding more coolant to your radiator is that it’s quick and easy. The disadvantage is that you can’t tell how much coolant you’ve added, as you can with traditional coolant.
Pros And Cons Of Directly Adding Coolant To Your Radiator
- There are many advantages associated with directly adding coolant to your radiator. First and foremost, it’s a quick fix that you can perform yourself and doesn’t require a mechanic or a tow truck.
- Another plus is that you can choose the brand of coolant that you want. If you have a certain type of coolant in your car, you may not be able to switch it out for something else. The same goes for using premixed coolant.
- However, there are also a few disadvantages associated with directly adding coolant to your radiator. For one thing, if you overfill your radiator, it could lead to an overflow and cause damage to your engine.
Adding coolant to your radiator can be a lifesaver. It’s a quick and easy fix that anyone can do. However, you need to be careful when adding coolant to your radiator. If you add too much, your engine could be seriously damaged. When your coolant is low, check your radiator level. If it’s too low, add some coolant through the radiator cap. Make sure you choose the right type of coolant for your car. If you’re not sure what kind of coolant is best for your car, ask a mechanic for advice.