What is a coolant? It is a mixture placed in your car radiator to keep your engine from overheating. As its name aptly suggests, a coolant cools. While your car is running, the engine generates heat. The radiator then works to keep the heat away from the engine. The coolant also prevents car fluids from freezing during cold weather, that's why some also call it an antifreeze fluid. It also prevents engine rust from building up.
A coolant is composed of 50% water, and 50% coolant solution. Before, a car owner makes the mixture himself, but nowadays, you can buy premixed coolants in car shops. It might cost a little more, but it's more convenient. Some drivers use only water, but this is not advisable. Water should only be used as a temporary solution.
Don't wait for the temperature gauge on your dashboard to tell you that something is wrong with your coolant level. Do yourself a favor and check the condition of your radiator at least twice a year.
Before checking your radiator, make sure that the vehicle engine is not hot. Car fluids can get scalding hot when the engine is still hot, and may cause injury. Moreover, a warm engine can cause an inaccurate reading of the coolant level because the coolant might have expanded due to the heat. This will necessarily take up much more space. Make sure that the car is in a level position and not inclined. This may also give an inaccurate reading of the coolant level.
Do not touch anything once you open your car hood. Caution is always advised. Make a visual check first of the cooling system. There should be no debris or unnecessary elements on it. The radiator and the hose surrounding it should not seem damaged. Once you have determined that the engine condition is safe to touch, look for the reserve tank of the radiator.
The reserve tank is a clear container placed near the radiator. Sometimes it's opaque, but it always allows you to see how much coolant is present inside. If you're not sure where the reserve tank is, locate the radiator first then follow the hose which leads from the radiator to a small container. If you don't know where the radiator is, then it's time to consult your car manual.
The reserve container has markings on it which indicates the coolant level. There should be marks indicating "full" or "low", or "cold" or "warm." The coolant level should always be at the full mark, so if it's anywhere below it, then it's time to add some coolant. In the event that the car does not have a reserve tank, check the radiator itself. Look in the radiator to know the coolant level.
Safety should always come first, so even if you are just going to do a routine check and u will not be replacing your car coolant, it is highly encouraged that you use hand gloves. Coolants are toxic and harmful, so all precautions must be undertaken when handling the substance.