How to Check Your Car’s Engine Coolant Levels

10th Aug 2023

By Veronica Chiarelli

How to check your coolant level

Having the right level of coolant is essential to avoid accidents or malfunctioning of your car. That’s because, as the name implies, it helps to cool down the engine. Driving without the right amount of coolant won’t get you very far because your engine is going to overheat, causing the water pump, head gasket, and cylinder head to blow up.

It’s important to keep track of your coolant level, and make sure you top it up every time it needs to avoid major defects in your motor. This guide will walk you through the steps to checking your coolant levels.


Step 1: Make sure the engine is cool

Man Holding Car Coolant

It’s important to make sure your engine is cool before checking your coolant level. Hot coolant can shoot out of the reservoir and cause a serious burn on the skin.

An engine’s cooling time is around three hours on average after the car's been driven.

Step 2: Locate the coolant reservoir

Car coolant reservoir

The first thing you need to do in order to check the coolant level is to find the reservoir. It’s usually located under the bonnet and some will have the word 'coolant' written on the seal proof lid.

If you can’t find it, we recommend you have a read through your car’s manual. There you should be able to find your coolant reservoir's precise location.

Step 3: Check the coolant level

car coolant reservoir

This step shouldn’t be too difficult. The coolant reservoir is often transparent, so you can visualise how much liquid there is inside the container.

There will be two markings on the container with the words 'min' and 'max', and your coolant should be between those marks.

If your coolant is sitting under the 'min' line, you need to top it up.

Step 4: Add more coolant (if needed)

car coolant being poured into the reservoir

If your coolant is sitting under the 'min' line, you’ll need to top it up with a mixed solution of coolant and de-ionised water. Make sure you have the correct type of coolant as there are different types on the market such as IAT (inorganic additive technology), OAT (inorganic acid technology), and Hybrid OAT to mention a few.

Pour both solutions into a measuring jug and the blend consists of usually 50 percent coolant and 50 percent de-ionised water, but check your handbook for the exact measurements.

Use a funnel to assist you pouring the mixed solution into the reservoir until it reaches the 'max' line. After that, close the reservoir and clean any spillages.

Still unsure how to check your coolant level?

Making sure you have enough coolant is essential to keep your engine from overheating. Constant coolant checks can help prevent irreparable damages to your vehicle and even prevent accidents.

If you’re still unsure on how to check and change the brake fluid, an Evans Halshaw service could do this job for you.

If you’d like to learn more about vehicle maintenance we recommend you have a browse through our blog, which is home to several owner’s guides that are updated on a regular basis.