Adding Radiator Coolant

Topping Up Coolant in Radiator

Adding radiator coolant or topping up coolant (or radiator fluid) as many call it, is very important to the proper cooling of your vehicle. Coolant levels are clearly shown on the overflow reservoir and must be maintained to avoid overheating or air pockets. A single air pocket can notably decrease the efficiency of your cooling system causing hot spots and engine damage. The following video is on a car but the same steps will work for your truck.

There are 5 things to keep in mind when adding radiator coolant.

  1. Never work on a hot vehicle.
  2. Use a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water.
  3. Never mix different types of antifreeze.
  4. Add coolant up to the cold level only.
  5. Always double-check coolant levels after adding coolant and running the vehicle.

Opening a hot cooling system is dangerous. Scalding coolant can shoot up and cause serious burns. Always allow a vehicle to cool down properly before attempting to open the radiator cap and open a cooling system.

You should only use a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze in your cooling system unless the temperature is below -34°. If you live in an area where the temperature is below -34° we suggest you move. Also, too much antifreeze mixed with water can cause gelling, poor circulation and overheating. Plain water does not have the proper additives and will freeze quickly, and 100% antifreeze is the worst.

Never mix different types of antifreeze. Mixing different types of antifreeze and different colors can cause serious engine problems. If you do not know which type of antifreeze you are using currently than get a cooling system flush, add new coolant and keep a record of what you have added.

Remember, your coolant will expand when heated so don’t fill your system to the top when cold. Only add coolant to the cold line on the reservoir and no higher than the cold line. Adding too much coolant to your vehicle can cause it to expand and put added pressure on your system possibly causing a hose or clamp leak or a radiator leak.

After topping off your cooling system and running your vehicle an air pocket could work its way out of your system, lowering you fluid level again. You will always need to burp a cooling system to remove any air pockets. After changing any parts, or adding radiator coolant, after running your vehicle for the first time, always make sure you are checking coolant levels a second time. Also if you have any bleeder valves make sure you open them to release any trapped air. It is also a good idea to turn your heater on after filling a cooling system to make sure air is purged out of the heater core also.

Adding Radiator Coolant Conclusion

adding radiator coolantAlways check to make sure your cooling system is full with the proper mix of coolant and never mix different types of antifreeze . Your cooling system is a closed system that runs under pressure and It should not be losing any coolant. If you are constantly adding radiator coolant you need to be checking your cooling system for leaks.