How much coolant does a car need?

Engine coolant is a specific liquid mixture that maximizes the efficiency of your engine while keeping it from overheating. Even though most people never think about coolant before a leak occurs or your engine starts overheating, it’s important to know how much coolant your engine needs and why.

According to many technicians, you should check your coolant level at least once per month in order to make sure that everything works adequately. The best way to tell how much coolant you need is to locate the coolant reservoir under the hood and look for the maximum/minimum level embossed on the container itself.

This way you will always be able to tell how much coolant is there inside the reservoir and whether or not you need to top it up. Before you top it up, however, be sure to properly inform yourself about which type of coolant your car actually needs because there are a few different types of coolant out there.

It is also important to know that you should sometimes perform a so-called “flush and fill” procedure which includes flushing the coolant from the car completely and topping it up with proper coolant before you start the car up.

The necessity of engine coolant – Optimum temperature

Your car engine needs coolant in order to maintain an optimal working temperature because engines generate excessive heat which needs to be managed to keep the engine safe for the longest. The cooling system itself is comprised out of a cooling fan, a radiator, and lots of hoses that distribute the coolant to the engine.

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The coolant circulates through the radiator where it is cooled in order to absorb excess heat from the engine. This process is that repeated over and over again continuously while there is enough coolant in the system.

Early internal combustion engines did not even use modern-day liquid cooling solutions because they just used water. However, coolant is a way better option because it also works against corrosion and dirt forming inside the engine. It also prevents evaporation which was a huge problem for water-cooled systems.

The purpose of engine coolant – Efficiency, longevity, protection

Most modern-day cars that use modern coolant solutions use them because these coolant solutions serve three different purposes. The first one is to raise the boiling point of the entire cooling system which enables the engine to always work at its optimum temperature by not letting the liquid boil up.

Secondly, coolant also serves as freezing protection because regular water would freeze in colder environments which could destroy an engine completely. This means that engine coolant is made to both increase efficiency and keep the engine running for longer no matter the outside temperature.

Finally, coolant protects the engine from all sorts of dirt and debris which might form inside the engine. This means that coolant flushes most parts of the engine while also cleaning it up from potential corrosion or rust spots.

Adding your coolant properly – Up to the maximum

As previously mentioned, you should check your car’s coolant level every few weeks or so because by not doing so, you are risking your car from overheating. Of course, most people tend to pay close attention to the engine temperature gauge on the inside, but it’s better to solve this issue proactively.

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In order to do so, you need to turn off your car and flush old coolant from your car completely. When this is done you are now ready to pour the new coolant in. You need to locate the reservoir and fill the reservoir up to the maximum level and try to keep it at the maximum level or near to it.

It’s worth mentioning that most cars these days hold around 5 liters of coolant, but these numbers tend to differ depending on the size of the car and the size of the engine. Furthermore, commercial vehicles whose engines are often under lots of stress need more coolant than every other car.

An EV does not need motor oil, but many people also think that an EV does not require coolant as well. That’s not true because you will have to rely on coolant to maintain the optimum heat level both for EVs and ICE cars.

FAQ Section

How much does coolant cost?

If you take your car in for a coolant change, you are looking at a $100-$200 bill, on average. However, these prices vary depending on the make and model year of the car in question. Some cars hold larger quantities of coolant which also further drives the price up. There are different types of coolant out there which means that this also affects the price.

Some coolants types like antifreeze are mixed with water before they are filled into the car, so be sure to leave the top-up to a trained professional because they are less likely to make a mistake while changing your coolant.

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How often do I need to change the coolant in my car?

How often you should change your coolant also depends on how old the car is, which type of coolant it uses, and does it use specific coolant types or not. However, ideally, you are looking at 30k-60k miles before you need to completely replace the coolant for most cars out there.

Coolant liquids are usually harmful to the environment which means that coolant manufacturers are going to great lengths to ensure that the coolants in question can last as long as possible. As such, be sure to follow the recommended replacement schedules as recommended by the manufacturer.

Does a car lose coolant over time?

Yes, it does because the engine tends to wear over time which enables the coolant to escape through evaporation. A usual calculation states that an engine loses 0.25” more every four months for every additional year the engine is in use.

This means that you need to check your coolant level more often if you own a car with lots of miles on the clock. Of course, calculations such as these are completely irrelevant if the car in question has any leaks or damaged hoses.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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